Weekend Lep Field Forecast for 2016 May 14-15

2016 May 8 Cobweb Skipper_MD-Baltimore Co-Soldiers Delight NEA 2

A quite worn Cobweb Skipper hunkered down out of the stiff breezes on the ridge trails at Soldiers Delight NEA near Baltimore last weekend [2016 May 8, photo by REB]

I hope some of you got out into the field today, Friday, the first really good warm sun we’ve had in the mid-Atlantic for weeks. The weekend coming up is so-so; more rain tomorrow in the forecast and a sunny – but very cool – Sunday. Monday would be a good day to skive off work and butterfly.

Needless to say, very little has come in this week, and no FOYs locally to speak of. My foray last weekend to Soldiers Delight failed to turn up Dusted Skipper, although I did photograph one very worn Cobweb Skipper. Other than that, only our two more common sulphurs, Orange and Clouded, a few Eastern Tailed-blues, some American Ladies, a singleton Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, a fading Falcate Orangetip, and a handful of Pearl Crescents. Dick Smith will lead a group there this weekend with what I hope will be better success; details on the LepLog calendar.

In Frederick Co MD, a few late Brown Elfins were still on the wing, and Zabulon Skipper has emerged.

To our south, species continue to pop: In the George Washington National Forest in VA the first Great Spangled Fritillaries are flying, as is Northern Pearly-eye. Least Skipper was a new one for the region in Botetourt Co VA.

I’m off in the Ozarks – where it is also raining cats and dogs and while the weekend will be sunny it will be chilly here, too – in search of the Ozark Swallowtail, Papilio joanae, described by my first butterfly mentor J. Richard Heitzman and named for his wife Joanie. Bonus species will be Ozark Checkerspot (a subspecies of Baltimore Checkerspot, some of the more unusual roadside-skippers (which may or may not be flying yet), and Golden-banded Skipper (I may be early for that one too, but the opportunity to combine this trip with a work trip was too irresistible). Botanizing here is amazing, and I’ll be tromping through cedar glades and oak forest (Ozark Swallowtail habitat) as well as dolomite glades, an Ice Age relict fen, restored and remnant prairies, and spring-fed streams and rills.

If the sun warms local habitats up enough, there should be some leps to see, at least on Sunday and into next week. Readers are asked to please report sightings here at  https://leplog.wordpress.com/ and on Google Groups at MDLepsOdes.

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