The highlight of the trip included three Bronze Coppers that we picked up in Dorchester Co. This is a welcome relief from years of single sightings, or no sightings at all. Unfortunately, we dipped on the other target species for the trip, King’s Hairstreak (which we were probably too early for) and Chermock’s Mulberry Wing (which is likely extirpated in MD).
On the other hand, the most common butterfly we saw in Wicomico and Worcester Cos., MD, by far was Monarch. Practically every stand of milkweed and much of the dogbane had two or three Monarchs floating around it; we also saw caterpillars of various instars. Also flying on the Eastern Shore were Common Wood Nymph, Little Wood Satyr, and Appalachian Brown.
Both Red Admirals and Variegated Fritillary were beginning to irrupt on the Eastern Shore, and Common Buckeyes are beginning to building in numbers. No Cloudless Sulphurs or Sleepy Oranges, however. And no Great Spangled Fritillaries; their early brood seems to have collapsed quickly.
American Copper was flying in a new brood. Summer Azures were quite common at most locations, oviposting regularly on emerging flower buds of pokeweed and clethra in particular. We picked up Coral Hairstreaks just across the DE border, but saw no Banded or Striped Hairstreaks on our Eastern Shore circuit.
Swallowtails on the wing included Pipevine (very fresh), a large new brood of Zebra Swallowtails, large numbers of Black Swallowtails (especially around Blackwater NWR), and a handful of Spicebush and Eastern Tigers.
Very few skipper species were out, but our first Sachems were on the wing. Fresh Broad-winged Skippers were out on the buttonbush blooms and on milkweed. Both Horace’s and Wild Indigo Duskywing were flying. Surprisingly common was Common Sootywing, observed in many Eastern Shore locations, mostly on white clover
On a field trip last Saturday to Eastern Neck NWR, observers had American Snout (which was also reported on the Eastern Shore last week), Broad-winged Skippers, and Zebra Swallowtails in great numbers, but none of the marsh skippers that are often seen in this location despite the abundant blooming buttonbush in the butterfly garden.
On the other side of the state, Bog Coppers were flying in Cranesville Swamp in Garrett Co.
This weekend will see a number of field trips and annual counts, including the Bath Co VA , Burlington Co. NJ and Holtwood PA counts on Saturday, and the revived Garrett Co. MD count on Sunday. I will be leading a field trip tomorrow to Green Ridge SF in search of Northern Metalmarks and will report next week!
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.