There will be no Forecast next week, as I will be butterfly watching in the high desert of Utah. The Forecast will return for the weekend of July 18-19.
The weather gods have not been good to the mid-Atlantic again this week, keeping the new sightings down to a minimum. Plus we’ve hit a somewhat delayed June slump, it appears. The only true FOYs for the week regionally are Northern Metalmarks in Allegany Co., Bog Copper on the WV side of Cranesville Swamp, and a surprising Fiery Skipper on the Frederick/Carroll count.
At last word, the Regal Fritillary open house at Ft. Indiantown Gap is still on for tomorrow and Saturday, although the gloomy forecast has changed plans for some of our local counts (see the LepLog master calendar for updates).
While hairstreaks have been abundant in other parts of the mid-Atlantic, notably northern NJ, they’ve been on the scarce side elsewhere. The first flush of milkweed and dogbane are fading across most our area, except where they’ve been cut early and only now setting buds, and with them the best chances of good hairstreak sightings. I spent a full afternoon checking milkweed and dogbane in Garrett Co. yesterday, under admittedly poor conditions of breeze and clouds, to log just one Banded Hairstreak. Gray, Red-banded, and White-M have yet to make a substantial reappearance for their summer brood. A few Coral, Banded and Striped Hairstreaks have been logged locally, but it clearly is not a boom hairstreak year. Edwards Hairstreak continues to be seen in the Frederick Municipal Watershed Forest; King’s Hairstreak has been seen on the wing in the NC mountains but not yet from southern MD.
Coppers also have been scarce; American Copper sightings have been few, and Bronze Copper has not yet been reported anywhere but Delaware. On the same Garrett Co. trip yesterday I had two end-of-day Bog Coppers just across the state line in WV at Cranesville Swamp. Northern Metalmarks are beginning their univoltine flight and should be on the wing for the next 2-3 weeks; the woodland sunflower they depend on for adult nectar is just coming into bloom along roadsides in Green Ridge State Forest. A new colony was discovered in Rocky Gap State Park last weekend during the bioblitz and some 20 were logged.Great Spangled Fritillary is having a very good year; so too apparently is Meadow Fritillary, both of which were abundant in Garrett Co. Sprinkled among the Great Spangled were a fair number of Aphrodite Fritillaries, but diligent searching for those silvery eyes netted no Atlantis Fritillaries yet this year. [Note: Annette Allor’s Maryland Butterflies website has some excellent diagnostic pics] Most of the Monarchs have moved on north for their last generation; we’ll see them again in (I suspect) good numbers on the fall migration. Viceroy is fresh but hasn’t been reported much; a couple of lingering Red-spotted Purples were reported but we won’t see good numbers of these again until the late summer, when we’ll see them all over apple and pear windfalls with overwintering anglewings. Silvery Checkerspot is working up another brood, which some correspondents have noted is likely to be large based on the numbers of caterpillars seen in the field. Pearl Crescents, which had a small early flight, are out again in fresh, better numbers. A few fresh summer Mourning Cloaks (which will overwinter) have been seen. Eastern Tailed-blues are in another fresh brood, as are Summer Azures.
A few new skippers make the list this week, including Delaware in Green Ridge State Forest (where it was seen on bird lime along Sideling Hill Creek with a dozen Eastern Tailed-blue, a Harvester, and a Dun Skipper). Summer Brood Horace’s are out, as are fresh Wild Indigo Duskywing. One Sachem was reported; this species has been mostly MIA so far this year. Little Glassywing is building into a large flight; a few Northern Broken-dashes have been reported as well. Crossline numbers are low so far; ditto Tawny-edged. Dun Skipper has been reported in good numbers from various locations. Silver-spotted Skippers rebounded in a fresh brood from a small first flight. Common Checkered-skippers are notably absent. The Fiery Skipper seen on the Carroll/Frederick Co Count was a real surprise, although Fieries have been moving aggressively up the Carolinas and Virginia in the last two weeks.
Swallowtails are mostly absent. A few Eastern Tigers, Spicebush, and Zebra Swallowtails were reported; another week has gone by with no Giant Swallowtail sightings. Pipevines were a no-show this week.
Common Wood Nymph has been reported from a number of locations around the area this week; same for Appalachian Brown and Northern Pearly-eye. Carolina and Little Wood Satyrs have mostly crashed from their first generation (if you know of fresh Little Wood Satyrs that emerged in the last week or so, let me know so I can pass this on to Harry Pavulaan, who is studying this aberrant satyrid brood).
The long holiday weekend looks rather poor for butterflying, but if see anything interesting, please share your sightings with us using the comment function on LepLog.wordpress.com or join us for discussion on Google Groups at MDLepsOdes.