Mid-Atlantic Weekend Butterfly Field Forecast for 2016 June 11-12

2016JUN10 Harris's Checkerspot 1_MD-Garrett Co-Finzel Swamp

2016 June 10 in Finzel Swamp (Garrett Co, MD) Tom Stock and I found fresh Harris’ Checkerspot on the wing. [photo by REB]

Weekend weather conditions have kept most butterfly observers close to home for the past couple of weekends, so there are few new sightings to report.  I’m pretty sure next week will be a much different story!

Of note was Giant Swallowtail from an undisclosed location in Montgomery Co MD the last week of May; quite likely this was the Hoyle’s Mill area. Second-generation Eastern Tiger, Black, Spicebush and Zebra are also on the wing, and I suspect Pipevine is also but has not been reported recently.

Hairstreaks are quite late, although this may also have something to do with the delayed blooming of the hairstreak magnet, dogbane. This is now coming into bloom across the region, as is orange butterfly-weed, and both should be examined carefully for hairstreaks. In order of likelihood, these would be Gray, Red-banded, Banded, and Striped, with Coral showing a distinct preference for butterfly-weed where it occurs. We also hope that Hickory, Oak, and Acadian might show up to inspire us, but all three of these are rare finds in the region. Edwards’ Hairstreak is almost certainly flying by now in areas of scrub oak; a new generation of Olive Hairstreaks is also on the wing (and are more often seen buzzing the tops of Eastern red-cedar trees than they are on flowers or mud).

Skippers are out in good diversity if low numbers, with recent regional sightings of practically all the grass skippers we can expect in early summer. Hoary Edge is probably flying in Green Ridge State Forest; I may be making a foray there this weekend to confirm. Hayhurst’s Scallopwing in out, as are Essex (European) Skippers. Wild Indigo Duskywing is currently the go-to choice for most duskywings one sees. Northern and Southern Cloudywings continue to be reported regularly. Look for Aaron’s Skipper – the first of the coastal skippers to show up on our watch this year — on buttonbush and bloom spikes of pickerel weed, where Broad-winged Skippers are probably making their first appearances too. Southern Broken-dash is beginning its first flush. Dusted Skippers, which came out late, are still flying and still pretty fresh.

Great Spangled Fritillary numbers continue to build, and now come sightings in the VA and Carolina mountains of the first Diana Fritillaries of the season. At the moment, they’d all be males – typically the females emerge two or three weeks later, and peak in July. Meadow Fritillaries are still on the wing, and Silver-bordered Fritillary has been reported at a number of locations in the mid-Atlantic. Variegated Fritillary has not been experiencing a good year so far, with only a handful of sightings on hand. Pearl Crescents and Silvery Checkerspots round out the nymphalid roster, though in quite modest numbers, in addition to recent buildups of Viceroys and Red-spotted Purples. Monarchs continue to move through the area, sometimes depositing eggs. American Ladies are emerging now in some numbers, but the early influx of Red Admirals seems not to have produced much of an infusion of adults. Both emperors – Hackberry Butterfly and Tawny Emperor – should be reported this weekend, which promises some good periods of weather for butterfly watching.[update 6/10: and indeed Tom and I had them both in Green Ridge State Forest today]

Northern Pearly-eye, Appalachian Brown, Little Wood-satyr and Carolina Satyr are the known satyrids to be out now, although Common Wood-nymph is probably out too and just hasn’t been reported. Creole Pearly-eye is flying in VA’s Great Dismal Swamp.

The iconic Baltimore Checkerspot is now on the wing in some Maryland locations.

No accounts yet for Bronze Copper, and few even for Small (American) Copper. Emergence of Bog Coppers has just begun in the NJ bog areas. Harvesters are hard to come by this year across the area. [update 6/10–Bronze Coppers are being seen in PA]

Small (Cabbage) White is having a surge in abundance, as the cabbage plants in my garden can attest. None of the other sulphurs or whites seem to be similarly inclined to big numbers. Little Yellow is still MIA for our region.

The predicted good weather is likely to get more of us out in the field this weekend, and if you do please let us know what you observe here at  https://leplog.wordpress.com/ and on Google Groups at MDLepsOdes so we can feature it in next week’s Forecast.

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