Mid-Atlantic Lep Weekend Field Forecast for 2015 Sept 12-13

One of Matt Orsie's EIGHT Gray Commas from Big Run SP [2015 SEP 7, MD: Garrett Co]

One of Matt Orsie’s EIGHT Gray Commas from Big Run SP [2015 SEP 7, MD: Garrett Co]

No new southern migrants have turned up this week so far, and given the rain that’s moving in it’s unlikely the end of the week will produce much new. However, some northward-moving storms might sweep a few rarities farther north.

The most interesting sightings locally were of good numbers of Leonard’s Skippers at Soldiers Delight near Baltimore, where they put on a good show for many viewers last weekend. This species isn’t on the wing for long, and its nectar host Liatris is rapidly declining, so if you want to see this skipper in 2015 I’d try for it this weekend.

Lots of good butterflies were flying in Garrett Co MD this week, including nearly three dozen anglewings in Big Run State Park, eight of which proved to be Gray Comma and the rest Eastern Comma. These will overwinter as adults and emerge (if they survive) in the spring. The same trip yielded Harvester. More details on these at http://wvbirder.org/wvleps/

Other nymphalids are winding up, including both Emperors, a few straggling Great Spangled Fritillaries, and satyrids (including Appalachian Brown and Common Wood Nymph).  Carolina Satyr is still on the wing and apparently enjoying a very strong late flight.

At Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in DC this weekend, Dion Skippers and Broadwinged Skippers were both still frequenting blooming Pickerel Weed, while hordes of Sachems favored the blooming white Eupatorium species. Viceroy, Red-spotted Purple, and a pretty impressive flight of Eastern Tiger Swallowtails (tending toward a majority of black-morph females) rounded out the sightings. Sleepy Orange was flying at the US National Arboretum across the Anacostia River.

Practically every field trip over the past three weeks has noted Monarchs, sometimes in double-digit numbers.

Hairstreaks still making themselves known include Red-banded, Gray (in good numbers), and White M (not so common). We’ll likely have to wait for the final brood of Great Purple Hairstreak at the end of this month to see that species for 2015, as it has not yet been reported in the region. Ditto for a late flight of Bronze Copper.

The Howard Co. MD Butterfly Count at Meadowbrook Park is slated for Saturday the 12th from 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm.  Leader Sue Miller says they will walk along paved pathways and may occasionally step off into the grass.  Meet at the entrance of the Park & Ride located from the Long Gate Parkway exit off of Rt. 100.  Rest rooms are located at the Park & Ride.  Bring binoculars and cameras if you have them as well as any drinks or snacks you may need.  Please let Sue know if you will join the count.  No experience necessary and a great way to learn to identify some butterflies if you are new to this! CONTACT leader Sue Muller, smuller@howardcountymd.gov.

The Forecast is winding down for the year and we’ll do our last issue next week for 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.

The weather seems pretty unsettled this weekend, but if you find yourself 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.

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