Spring suddenly seems to have telescoped into summer over the past few warm, muggy days, and folks who have been out in the field are reporting FOYs almost daily. At the same time, the previous cool temperatures allowed a couple of early spring univoltine species to hang on for a bit, notably Olympia Marble, Northern Azure and Falcate Orangetip, all seen in MD this week. West Virginia White and Gray Commas continued in Potomac State Forest (Garrett Co MD) this week.
While Dick Smith’s Soldiers Delight field trip and my foray to the Eastern Shore in search of Cobweb Skipper turned up nothing, Cobweb was reported flying early this week in Green Ridge State Forest, along with the usual complement of duskywings (Wild Indigo, Dreamy, Sleepy, Juvenal’s and Horace’s). All the spring swallowtails (except for Appalachian Tiger and Giant) are now out regionally, with Palamedes flying in the Great Dismal Swamp of VA and presumably in its local populations on the MD Eastern Shore.
No new entrants on the whites/sulphur ledger; generally low or modest numbers of Cabbage (Small) White and Orange and Clouded Sulphurs but no repeat sightings of Sleepy Orange. We’re all wondering whether Little Yellow will resurface in the mid-Atlantic this year after a complete hiatus last year.
Harvester has been observed in VA and NC already, so we should be watching for it locally as well.
All the expected hairstreaks are flying – White M, Gray, Red-banded, Juniper. Northern Oak Hairstreak is out in SC (a report from James Island, where it was observed nectaring on Ligustrum). Hessel’s Hairstreak should be flying in NJ, although I have not yet seen any reports from its strongholds in VA or NC.
My trip to the usual haunts for Frosted Elfin in Worcester Co (MD) last weekend came up naught, but I did see two adults in a new and unexpected location nearby, both very fresh. As lupine (the normal Eastern Shore larval host) is just beginning to bloom – and Frosted Elfin usually doesn’t emerge until bloom is well along – the suspicion in my mind is that these Frosteds were/are using an alternate host. Or have a bead on an early stand of lupine! Brown Elfin was also flying on the Eastern Shore in its normal habitat along Tom Tyler Nature Trail. Henry’s and Eastern Pine Elfin were picked up in double digits again last weekend at the Patuxent North Tract but mostly disappeared by midweek this week (although they could have been sitting out the heat in the shade of the surrounding forest rather than displaying nicely as they have been on the sandy roads).
New butterflies I expect this weekend if the weather holds are American Copper, Common Checkered-skipper, and Red-spotted Purple, the latter of which began showing up in NC and VA reports this week. Add to the list of possible FOYs locally this week our wood-satyrs, Little Wood Satyr and Carolina Satyr. In the mountains we should begin seeing Appalachian Tiger Swallowtail this week.
Cliff Hence will be leading a butterfly walk this Saturday 5/9 at the John Heinz NWR at Tinicum located near the Philadelphia Airport as part of their International Migatory Bird Day celebration. The walk will leave from the Visitors Center at 12 noon and is free and open to the public. For more info on this and other event at the refuge go to: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/John_Heinz/visit/upcomingevents.html
Look for me in the field in Allegany and Garrett counties this weekend, and please remember to report them using the comment function on LepLog.wordpress.com or join us on Google Groups at MDLepsOdes.