Mid-Atlantic Weekend Lep Field Forecast for 2015 Aug. 1-2

Giant Swallowtail made its seasonal debut this past week [photo courtesy Beth Johnson]

Giant Swallowtail made its seasonal debut this past week [photo courtesy Beth Johnson]

Another butterfly that’s been AWOL all this summer showed up locally this week in the form of a Giant Swallowtail at Hoyle’s Mill in Montgomery Co. Black Swallowtails are out in better numbers than they have been all year so far. Eastern Tiger Swallowtails are still at peak flight for this brood. The latest brood of Zebra Swallowtails is flying and it is a huge one, at least at Elk Neck State Park were more than 175 were logged this week.

As with many butterfly observers locally who reported it as their FOY, Common Buckeye was among the butterflies in my home garden this week, along with a fresh Red-spotted Purple coming to cantaloupe rind. At least two Monarchs sailed past, one stopping to oviposit on tropical milkweed. Newly emerged Common Wood-nymphs are bobbing around in tall grasses regionally. In western MD, new Little Wood Satyrs are out, and Aphrodite Fritillaries (and likely smaller numbers of Atlantis Frits) are still holding on. In the mountain fastnesses of VA, WV and the Carolinas, both sexes of Diana Fritillaries are flying. American Lady is flying in a fresh brood. Best guess is that the Northern Metalmark flight is over for the year. But a new flight of Silvery Checkerspot is emerging, and it looks to be a huge flight this season. Second brood emperors, Hackberry and Tawny, and their hackberry compatriot American Snout, all were reported this week. Red Admirals are still common but trailing off in numbers; migrating northward perhaps?

Typical grass-skipper numbers are finally building: Peck’s, Crossline, Swarthy, Tawny-edged, Little Glassywing and Dun all present and accounted for. The first Fiery Skippers showed up this week too.  Broken-dashes of either stripe were few and far between. Fresh Zabulon males are out. Sachem is too, but in surprisingly low numbers. Silver-spotted Skippers by contrast are abundant almost everywhere in the mid-Atlantic, and cloudywing sightings have started coming in again, both Northern Cloudywing and Southern. Interestingly this year there have been no reports even well to our south so far of Confused Cloudywings. New Wild Indigo Duskwings are flying, and in some numbers – at least in my yard, which has a substantial amount of baptisia. Hayhurst’s Scallopwing is also out in a fresh generation, and in better numbers than in brood one, including in its redoubt at the US National Arboretum Butterfly Garden and in the very unlikely wooded swamp verge on the Pocomoke River in MD (where try as we might, neither Tom nor I could find anything resembling lamb’s-quarters or any other chenopodium). Another cycle of Broad-winged Skippers is working pickerel weed. There were a couple of widely separated Common Sootywing sightings. To our south in NC, both Ocola and Clouded Skippers are being regularly reported; a coastal storm could easily bring us some very good skippers early this year.

Very fresh Red-banded Hairstreaks are beginning to dot mint flowers and the huge flower heads of Devil’s Walking-stick regionally, along with Gray Hairstreak. We should be seeing another brood soon of White-M, which we usually look for on clethra stands in midsummer. Juniper Hairstreak was widely reported, but usually as singletons.

No additional sightings of Little Yellow have come in since last week, but Sleepy Orange has been spotted near Woodbridge VA, so senna and partridge pea stands should be checked for these species. Fresh Orange Sulphurs are flying, although with the substantial brood overlap it’s hard to tell just which flight we’re on. Checkered Whites made their first appearance on the forecast this week with sightings from Baltimore.

Cliff Hence will be leading a Butterly/Ode Walk this Saturday 8/1 at the John Heinz NWR at Tinicum located near the Philadelphia Airport. The walk will start at 9AM from the Visitors Center. This event is free and open to the public. For more info on this and other refuge events go to: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/John_Heinz/visit/upcomingevents.html

The weather for this upcoming weekend should provide good, if hot, butterfly watching. As always, if you 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. 

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