Mid-Atlantic Weekend Field Lep Forecast for 2015 June 6-7

Northern Pearly-eye claiming its territory last year on the Jug Bay Boardwalk trail sign [2014 July 3, photo by REB]

Northern Pearly-eye claiming its territory last year on the Jug Bay Boardwalk trail sign [2014 July 3, photo by REB]

The oppressive heat and rainy weather conspired to keep new sightings to a minimum in the mid-Atlantic this week, but improving conditions should boost the number of FOYs for this weekend. New to the Forecast this week were Tawny Emperor, Sleepy Orange, Hayhurst’s Scallopwing, and Variegated Fritillary.

So far it’s been a very poor hairstreak year; even as dogbane and common milkweed are entering their first flush of bloom, few hairstreaks have been reported. Missing have been the summer hairstreaks, notably Banded, Striped, and Coral Hairstreaks. Red-banded Hairstreaks appear to be a rather anemic second brood. And as yet, no Great Purple Hairstreaks. It’s likely that this weekend of aggressively checking out dogbane and milkweed patches will help fill this gap. American Copper continues, but Bronze Copper is still MIA.

Harvesters continue to be seen across the region. Whites and Sulphurs continue their poor showing, although Sleepy Orange did grace a Maryland yard ovipositing on senna. Conspicuously absent this season so far has been Checkered White.

Brush-foots are mostly all on the wing now, including Great Spangled Fritillary, Meadow Fritillary, Viceroy, and Red-spotted Purple. Variegated Fritillary showed up on a few lists regionally this week. Both Emperors, Tawny and Hackberry, are flying. Silvery Checkerspot seems to be putting forth a small brood, especially given the large flights of two years ago.  One brood of Pearl Crescents – a very small early flight this year – seems already to be replaced with fresh adults from a second brood, especially in the southern parts of the region. Satyrids are out; Little Wood Satyrs and Carolina Satyrs are flying together in many locations now, and Northern Pearly Eye seems to be having a good flight. Monarchs are reported by most observers whenever they are in the field, and the milkweed crop looks pretty substantial – and will benefit from the week’s rains. And while it has not yet been reported, there is every likelihood that Harris’ Checkerspot is flying in western MD. Both American and Painted Ladies are out, with the ratio skewed heavily toward American, and Red Admirals are about in modest numbers.

New additions to the skipper list include Hayhurst’s Scallopwing, which I have looked for in several of its “go-to” locations this year but not yet seen, so it may just be a delayed emergence. Long Dash was reported from PA, so it should be flying too in Allegany, Washington, and Garrett Counties of MD. Least Skipper numbers are building.

Predictions: Since none of last week’s predictions actually happened this week, I’ll just repeat my predictions from the last Forecast. This next week — given warm and dry weather — should see the emergence of a host of hairstreaks, including Great Purple, Banded, Striped, and Coral Hairstreaks in addition to true hairstreak rarities like Oak Hairstreak.  Some of the coastal skippers – Rare and Salt-marsh – could show up in the marshes. The great floppy Common Wood-nymph should be seen bobbing up and down in tall meadows. The remaining two of the “three witches” should be on the prowl with fellow witch, Dun Skipper: Northern Broken-dash and Little Glassywing. Crossline Skipper and Southern Broken-dash should be joining them.

For anyone planning to join the Sky Meadows VA NABA Count, the data has been changed from June 21 to June 20.  Full details on the LepLog master field trip and event calendar, where the West Anne Arundel County count was just added for July 11.

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.

This entry was posted in Events and Meetings, Field Trips/Annual Counts, Forecasts, general butterfly news, sightings and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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