The big news this week is what’s NOT flying: Leonard’s Skipper, so far, at Soldiers Delight. Multiple sightings across PA, however. Liatris (also known as blazing star) is their preferred nectar source, and it’s already past peak given the hot dry weather this week, but several of us last weekend and through the week so far have checked out the Choate Mine Trail (the go-to spot for Leonard’s) in vain. Dick Smith is leading a walk there this weekend, so perhaps there will be some emergence before the field trip. [Late breaking news: Leonard’s just started emerging yesterday at Soldiers Delight, according to a report this morning from Barry Marts!]
Are there Brazilian Skippers in our mid-Atlantic future? Observers visiting Norfolk VA Botanic Gardens had this large southern skipper and canna specialist there this week, and that’s a rarity this far north even later in the season. Given the early sightings of Long-tailed Skipper and many Ocolas locally already, this may prove a very productive migrant skipper autumn.
Along the Carolina coast, multiple viewers reported thousands of Cloudless Sulphurs moving northward along the beach this week; with luck each of them have internal compasses fixed on DelMarVa. Little Yellow was seen in Howard Co MD earlier this week (first sighting in several years) behind Thomas Viaduct Middle School in Hanover. A first report for the county for many years of Hayhurst’s Scallopwing in the community gardens at the Howard Co Conservancy was also of interest but undocumented by photo or voucher; despite diligent searching only one individual was found, and that suggests perhaps it was an interloper brought in with nursery stock or garden supplies.
Multiple White M Hairstreaks were seen across the region this week, apparently the beginning of their final fall brood. At this time of year they especially favor the white Eupatorium species, like thoroughwort and white snakeroot.
Things were livelier to our south, where parties trekking Great Dismal Swamp NC/VA and environs (Virginia Beach and the afore-mentioned botanic gardens in Norfolk) found Creole Pearly-eye, Southern Pearly-eye, Great Purple Hairstreak, Duke’s Skipper, Palamedes Swallowtail, Long-tailed Skippers, Sleepy Oranges, Cloudless Sulphurs, and Gulf Fritillary (another southern migrant already pushing farther north than usual) in addition to the Brazilian Skipper above.
As noted earlier, Dick Smith is leading two field excursions this weekend: Saturday, September 5, Butterflies Through Binoculars Foray – Elkhorn Community Gardens and Butterfly Meadow and Powerline Right-of-Way Vegetation Management Tract, 9:30 a.m. (2-3 hours); and Sunday, September 6, Serpentine Barrens Late Summer Butterflies – Slide Show and Hike, Visitor’s Center, Soldiers Delight NEA, Owings Mills, MD, 1-4 pm. See the LepLog calendar section for more details.
The Forecast is winding down for the year and we’ll do our last issue for the week of Sept. 19-20 (the autumnal equinox and astronomical start of fall). If you want to keep abreast of late-season sightings or happenings after that, sign up for MDLepsOdes on Google Groups.
Weather’s looking pretty good, somewhat cooler but sunny, for Saturday and Sunday of this long Labor Day weekend. Too far out to call Monday. If your weekend labors find you in the field and you see anything interesting, post or send your sightings for the next Weekend Forecast. In the meantime, visit us at https://leplog.wordpress.com/ and on Google Groups at MDLepsOdes.