Mid-Atlantic Butterfly Field Forecast for 2016 July 2-8


Walter Gould’s excellent photo of a pair of Mulberry Wings from the western Montgomery Co MD annual NABA count last week. Low diversity but decent numbers of most species; the Mulberry Wing colony in particular was in very good shape.

Little new to report this week, but the fine weather tomorrow and the holiday weekend should bring more sightings of newly emerged species. Few will be FOYs, but second or even third broods of fresh individuals are likely this weekend.

Zebra Swallowtail is now in its second brood, and showing well at Eastern Neck, Elk Neck, the C&O canal, Green Ridge State Forest and other river systems with extensive pawpaw. Other swallowtails are flying too, including a fresh brood of Blacks and Spicebush; fresh Eastern Tiger should also be emerging following the rains of the past week. Giant Swallowtail should be in a second brood shortly if it isn’t already on the wing.

Essex (European) Skippers are building in numbers from Frederick Co MD west; look for it in fields and roadsides where timothy grass is now in full head. Black Dash should be looked for in the mountain counties. Wild Indigo and Horace’s Duskywings are the only two of the duskywings you’re likely to encounter the rest of the year. This weekend should see a new brood of Hayhurst’s Scallopwing, as well as reports of Dion, Aaron’s, Saltmarsh, and possible Rare Skippers. All the expected grass skippers, including Northern Broken-dash, are on the wing now, although it’s been a tough year so far for finding Sachem. Even Fiery Skipper has made an appearance already.

Hairstreaks are still present – Banded, Striped, Red-banded, and Gray predominating. This weekend marks the likely emergence of the very rare King’s Hairstreak on the Eastern Shore, and of second-generation Olive (Juniper) Hairstreak across the region. Edwards’ Hairstreak is likely on its last gasp; it was not a good year for this species.

Painted Ladies have been mostly absent so far in the region; American Ladies – both fresh and tattered – are regularly seen. A fairly strong migration of Red Admirals was noted early in the week around Ocean City MD; fresh admirals are spread across the region. A new emergence of Red-spotted Purples and Viceroys can be expected in early July. Monarchs have been regularly reported (both adults and caterpillars). Baltimore Checkerspots seem to be between broods, with no recent reports. Pearl Crescent numbers are building but it’s still not a large flight, and Silvery Checkerspot hasn’t been reported lately either.

Around Spruce Knob and Canaan Valley, Pink-edged Sulphurs should be at peak. We always look for them near the MD/WV border in Garrett Co, so far in vain.

And within the next week or so, Northern Metalmarks will be gracing woodland sunflowers all along Metalmark Alley in Green Ridge State Forest, if they aren’t already (no reports yet).

Nectar report: Dogbane is waning in some areas already, but common milkweed is still in good flush. Pickerel weed is a skipper magnet wherever it is found, especially for Broad-winged Skippers near stands of phragmites. Buttonbush was slow to bloom this summer, and is now in good flower and attracting many of the coastal and marsh skippers that are hard to find elsewhere. Red, white, and sweet clover are blooming wherever they were mown earlier in the season; the modest early flight of Eastern tailed-blue is emerging now most anywhere you have white clover.

There will be a Butterfly/Ode Walk this Saturday, July 2nd from the Rt 420 entrance of the John Heinz NWR at Tinicum located near the Philly Airport. The Walk will meet at 9AM and last about 2 hours. The walk will meet at the dirt parking lot located off Rt 420 North. Note, there is a parking area on the other side of Rt 420 however if you park there please exercise extreme caution crossing the road.  Close focusing binos are recommended but not required. Also note, the area can be wet. Contact Cliff Hence (cwhenceiii@aol.com)

The Ft. Indiantown Gap Regal Fritillary tours continue this weekend.

We’re watching the weather very carefully for next Tuesday and Wednesday, the date and rain date for the revived Garrett Co MD count. Right now the extended weather forecast is pretty grim, and rain in Garrett can be a very daunting experience for butterfliers. Please be sure to sign up with count coordinator Tom Stock [tom DOT stock56 AT GMAIL DOT com] or by cell at 202-738-3346 if you are interested in going so that he can advise you of whether the count is still on.

Friday July 8 will be the NABA annual Shenandoah National Park count.  Contact Mike Smith, foresmiths@comcast.net; 540.742.3451 cell.

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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