Mid-Atlantic Butterfly Field Forecast for 2016 June 25-July 1


Coral Hairstreak in its usual pose on racemes of Asclepias tuberosa, or butterfly-weed (one of our native milkweeds) in College Park, Prince George’s Co MD [2016 June 20, photo by Walt Gould]

The big news this week is the continuing build-up of Satyrium hairstreaks, including wide-ranging reports of Coral Hairstreak.

In addition to Coral Hairstreak reports throughout MD (including one probably county record from Caroline Co.), good numbers of Banded and Striped are out on milkweeds and dogbane. Coral is pretty much a butterfly-weed specialist, so look for it anywhere you might find Asclepias tuberosa within shouting distance of black cherry trees.

Variegated Fritillary, which has been mostly AWOL this spring, showed up a couple of times in regional reports this week. This should be a precursor to excellent opportunities for the challenging task of separating Atlantis, Aphrodite, and Great Spangled Fritillaries along the Appalachian spine. Silver-bordered Frit is also flying, although it looks like a lull week for Meadow Frits.

Most of the anglewings have gone to ground for the rest of the summer; Common Buckeye is showing up sporadically. Reports of fresh singleton American Ladies and Red Admirals likely presage a new emergence in the next week or two. Monarch eggs and caterpillars are being regularly reported (more so than the adults).

On the satyr front, the first Common Wood-Nymphs were reported, but it’s hard to tell so far if this will be a good flight or not. Appalachian Browns and Northern Pearly-eyes are in flight. Harry Pavulaan is still monitoring unusual flight times for local populations of Little Wood-Satyr, one brood of which should be winding down but an aberrant brood (a possible cryptic species?) in the DC area could be building in the space between normal wood-satyr broods the week or so after July 4. Perhaps we can convince him to share some of his recent observations on LepLog.

The dearth of Clouded and Orange Sulphurs locally seems to have been rectified with sightings this week;  good numbers reported across the region (in some cases, huge numbers). But no Cloudless Sulphurs yet, and no Little Yellows.

Eastern Neck NWR held a number of the anticipated marsh skipper specialists last weekend, including Broad-winged, Saltmarsh, Delaware, and Aaron’s. It’s likely Delaware is also flying in the freshwater marshes of Garrett Co., along with Black Dash. Long Dash was widely reported from the western MD counties.

The weekend looks like mostly picture-perfect weather for the counts scheduled June 25 (western Montgomery Co. MD; contact Stephanie.Mason@anshome.org) and Maidens VA (contact cphenly@comcast.net.), and on June 26 (western Carroll and eastern Frederick Cos. MD; contact David Smith, lacsmith@comcast.net or 443-995-4108). Also, please SAVE THE DATE of July 5 for the resurrected Garrett Co MD annual count, including parts of Cranesville Swamp, Herrington Manor, Mosser Road, and other hotspots of western MD/WV butterfly activity (contact Tom Stock, tom.stock56@gmail.com).  There are a host of other counts on the LepLog master calendar above.

And of course the perennially popular open house tours to see the last bastion of Regal Fritillaries in the region at Ft. Indiantown Gap PA are coming up July 1,2,8 and 9; see https://leplog.wordpress.com/2016/05/16/2016-dates-set-for-ft-indiantown-gap-regal-frit-tours/ for details.

If you see anything on these counts or in the field this next week, please let us know for the next Forecast by commenting here at https://leplog.wordpress.com/ or posting to Google Groups at MDLepsOdes.

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