Mid-Atlantic Weekend Lep Field Forecast for 2015 May 16-17

Very gravid Cobweb Skipper at Soldiers Delight NEA [2015 May 12, courtesy Barry Marts]

Very gravid Cobweb Skipper at Soldiers Delight NEA [2015 May 12, courtesy Barry Marts]

From unseasonably hot to unseasonably cold, the past week has been one of extremes. Highlights locally included Sachem, Zabulon Skipper, and American Copper.

Both Cobweb Skipper and Dusted Skipper have been seen this week at Soldiers Delight near Baltimore, and at other locations — with bluestem — scattered around the mid-Atlantic. Wild Indigo Duskywing numbers have been rising, while Horace’s and Juvenal’s Duskywing populations are trailing off. Zabulon Skipper and its western/northern congener Hobomok Skipper both made appearances this week. Pepper and Salt Skipper is flying in the western mountains and in PA. A single Sachem showed up on reports this week locally.

Sulphur and white numbers are still pretty anemic, although I was surprised to see a very strong showing of Clouded Sulphurs in Garrett Co. on my last trip. Last year was also a “down” sulphur/white year.  A few straggler Falcate Orangetips put in an appearance there too, probably their last for the Forecast this year.

Eastern Tailed-blue is flying in large numbers, and American Copper reports started coming in. Red-banded Hairstreak sightings are up. White M is still being seen but mostly as tattered individuals. Hessel’s Hairstreak and Hoary Elfin are still flying in NJ, as is Frosted Elfin on the Eastern Shore of MD.

Both Ladies are flying now, mostly fresh American Ladies. Pearl Crescents are out with a vengeance. Monarchs continue drifting through. American Snout is having an irruptive cycle in some parts of the Carolinas, it appears, so migrants can be expected on the next southerly winds.  Red Admirals have been reported consistently but mostly as singletons, not migrating hordes as we see in some years. Red–spotted Purple is emerging but appears to be slow. Meadow Fritillaries are out and seem to be having a good first flight.

Harvester continues to be seen around the region but not yet in MD. But it should be looked for this weekend, as it appears to be having a good flight to our south (VA, Carolinas) and north (PA, New England).

No new swallowtails to add to the species already noted in previous Forecasts, but observers should watch for Giant Swallowtail and Palamedes Swallowtail in their limited ranges in the upper mid-Atlantic.  Appalachian Tiger Swallowtail numbers are peaking this week.  Very few Black Swallowtails have been reported so far this year.

Things to look for this weekend and next week, despite the unsettled weather forecast, include Little Wood and Carolina Satyrs, Hoary Edge in the western MD, and Viceroy. [Editor’s note:  And just as I was about to hit “send,” Richard Orr reported Little Wood Satyr in Allegany County at the mouth of Sideling Hill Creek.  Prescience is a gift!]

If you spot them, please remember to share your sightings with us using the comment function on LepLog.wordpress.com or join us for discussion on Google Groups at MDLepsOdes.

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