Mid-Atlantic Weekend Lep Field Forecast for 2015 Aug. 8-9

Ocola Skipper in Harford Co MD [2015 Aug 3, courtesy of Matt Hafner]

Ocola Skipper in Harford Co MD [2015 Aug 3, courtesy of Matt Hafner]

 Ocola Skipper headlines this forecast, with a report last week from a Harford Co MD yard. As regular readers know, we’ve been predicting a good fall for southern migratory skippers, but this is still the only Ocola reported so far in our area.

Other skippers of note this week included both Northern and Southern Broken-dashes, Aaron’s Skipper at Eastern Neck NWR, increasing numbers of Fiery Skippers across the region, an abundance of Tawny-edged and Swarthy Skippers in Anne Arunded Co MD, and a fresh brood of Horace’s Duskywing (evidenced by their pristine conditions). Little Glassywings were everywhere, fresh Zabulon Skippers are out, Harper’s Ferry gave us Hayhurst’s Scallopwing, and Silver-spotted Skippers are still superabundant in most places. Crossline has been surprisingly uncommon this season, as has Least Skipper (although a few reports trickled in this week). Peck’s and Sachems are out in modest numbers in most locations. A single Common Checkered-skipper sighting came in this week; ditto a single Delaware Skipper. Broad-winged Skippers are beginning another flight.

In the western MD mountains, multiple Gray Commas and Harvesters were reported, as well as continuing good numbers of Monarchs, fritillaries (Aphrodite, Great Spangled, and Meadow). Appalachian Brown is also flying there. Variegated Fritillaries were reported sparingly across the area, even as southern Canadian butterfly observers are experiencing what looks like the beginning of an invasion year for this species. If you are willing to travel to Rickett’s Glen PA, more than a dozen Compton’s Tortoiseshells stole the show on a recent foray there. American Snouts were seen at multiple locations in crisp, newly emerged shape. Pearl Crescents are common in most expected habitats; some observers report good numbers of Silvery Checkerspots and others report none (despite large numbers of cats earlier in the season). Red Admiral numbers are waning from a peak the past two weeks. Common Buckeye, while not yet common here, have been reported mostly as singletons across the region. Northern Pearly-eye was seen by several observers this week, as were both Hackberry and Tawny Emperors.

Cloudless Sulphurs are still mostly MIA except for a handful on the VA Eastern Shore count, but Sleepy Oranges apparently are pushing their way north, with a dozen on the Loudoun Co VA butterfly count. Several separate visits to Eastern Neck NWR failed to turn up the previously reported Little Yellows.

Another Giant Swallowtail turned up this week, this one near Harper’s Ferry. A large flight of Zebra Swallowtails is on the wing, and all the other expected swallowtails were seen in numbers except for Pipevine, which was not reported this week locally but was seen in western PA.

Among the blues and azures, only Summer Azure is flying now and it is relatively common in most areas. Fresh Eastern Tailed-blues are out, as are immaculate Gray Hairstreaks and Red-banded Hairstreaks.  White M is unaccountably absent, as has been Great Purple Hairstreak.  American Copper is flying again, but Bronze Copper regionally has not put in an appearance.

The upcoming weekend should be cooler and partly cloudy for butterfly watching after some heavy rains late this week. 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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