The big news this past week was the return of Little Yellows to the region after a hiatus of a couple of years, with reports at mid-week from Eastern Neck NWR in Kent Co MD. In addition to a few more sightings of Checkered White locally, this puts the pierids back on the watch list for many of us! Still no definitive Cloudless Sulphurs beyond the surprise sighting in Baltimore a month ago – and few sightings in VA and the Carolinas. Sleepy Orange is still a rare sighting this summer.
Giant Swallowtail showed up last week, not in Maryland but in adjacent states, so we know they’re in the middle of a flight. Eastern Tiger Swallowtails are peaking again, and in a number of locations the percentage of dark form females is pretty high, approaching 50 percent. Other swallowtails are out too, notably Spicebush and Pipevine, but the second brood of Zebra Swallowtails is at its end (with a final full or partial brood left to go later in the summer). Palamedes was more abundant than I’ve ever seen it at its Pocomoke location last weekend. Black Swallowtails continue to be relatively rare, even though they are flying now.
Grass skippers are picking up, at least in suburban yards, where Peck’s and Sachems are currently building fast. But Crossline, Dun, Tawny-edged and the rest of the normal grass-skipper gang are still way below normal numbers. Common Checkered-skipper was reported widely, and both Horace’s and Wild Indigo Duskywing are flying. Silver-spotted Skippers have a large brood going presently. Least Skippers are rebounding from a weak spring flight. The rarer marsh and coastal skipper seem to be taking a breather this week. To our south in NC Ocola Skipper continues to be seen in some numbers.
Red-spotted Purples are out in a fresh brood that should carry us through the fall; their congeners the Viceroys are also out and fresh. Red Admirals seem to be having a boom cycle; I even saw several on the National Mall today while I was on lunchtime walkabout. A couple of Monarchs were visiting lantana at the National Botanic Garden.
Compton Tortoiseshell is flying in neighboring states; this is the prime time to look for it in Maryland in Allegany and Garrett Counties.
While we haven’t had it locally yet, Great Purple Hairstreak is out in NC (as is second brood Hessel’s Hairstreak, so our NJ colleagues should be looking for it). Juniper Hairstreaks are out fresh again, even as we see the tail end of Banded and Striped Hairstreaks. White-M Hairstreak has been uncommon all year; only one report this week. The Northern Metalmarks in Green Ridge State Forest are probably in their last week; reports from Garrett Co MD suggest that the Bog Copper flight is over there. American Coppers, by contrast, were reported widely.
The upcoming weekend should be pitch perfect for butterfly watching. As always, if you see anything interesting, please share your sightings with the rest of us using the comment function on LepLog.wordpress.com or join us for discussion on Google Groups at MDLepsOdes.