Mid-Atlantic Butterfly Field Forecast for Week of 2016 July 23

Field observers should watch for the new brood of Zabulon Skipper emerging this week.  [photo by REB]

Field observers should watch for the new brood of Zabulon Skippers emerging this week. [photo by REB]

Oppressively hot and humid temps in the mid-Atlantic are likely to keep most of us homebound under a powerful air conditioner most of the time the next few days, but if you do venture out there are some new reports to keep in mind.

Topping the list is the first report of regional Ocola Skippers, a southern migrant that we’ve been watching for the past week as numbers began to build in the Carolinas and VA. And sure enough, the first sightings (multiple) came this week in Prince Georges Co., so Ocolas should be showing up elsewhere this weekend and next week. Perhaps 2016 will be a repeat of last summer, with a really good influx of Ocolas in August.

Elsewhere, it’s been pretty quiet. King’s Hairstreak has not yet been reported, and last week’s Little Yellows seem to have been a one-hit wonder. Also MIA among the pierids are Cloudless Sulphurs and Sleepy Orange. No Giant Swallowtails have been noted either, nor have Palamedes, but I suspect the latter is only absent because nobody has visited its stronghold along the Pocomoke River – it should be flying now.

But Harvester is out in a new brood, as is White M Hairstreak, which if flying with Gray Hairstreak, Summer Azures, and Eastern Tailed-blue. Red-banded Hairstreak is likely to rebound shortly as well. Pink-edged Sulphur is flying in its high-altitude bog habitats in WV. Observers in Cumberland Co NJ tallied an amazing 67 Checkered Whites earlier this week.

Satyrs are having a field day (pun intended), especially Common Wood Nymph. Northern Pearly Eye and Appalachian Brown are well represented in many sightings over the past week or so. Other nymphalids are flying too; Viceroy, Red-spotted Purple, and anglewings among them. Fresh Meadow Fritillaries are out again, with fading Great Spangleds and still-fresh Aphrodite and Atlantis Fritillaries. Silvery Checkerspots are emerging again, although it does not look like a large flight. Monarchs were reported widely again this week but mostly as singletons or caterpillars.

Skipper-wise, Common Checkered is being reported now, although it’s still not been a good season for grass skippers. Peck’s is flying, in low numbers, and there were scant reports of Crossline and Tawny-edged Skippers. Northern and Southern Broken-dash are conspicuously absent this week, with the exception of Northerns in various NJ locales. Zabulon is coming on its last brood of the summer.

If you make it into the field this next week despite the heat, 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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4 Responses to Mid-Atlantic Butterfly Field Forecast for Week of 2016 July 23

  1. Shirley Devan says:


    I’m a recent subscriber to the Lep Log and enjoy reading about recent observations and forecasts in the Mid-Atlantic.

    You noted that no King’s Hairstreak had been reported so far. On July 10, on the NABA-sanctioned Chippokes Butterfly Count in Surry County, VA (south of the James River across from Williamsburg, VA), a team observed and photographed a King Hairstreak. Twenty-one field observers recorded 38 species and 882 individuals. Four most unusual finds were three species seen only once on previous counts: King’s Hairstreak, (previous: one in 2014); Great Spangled Fritillary, (previous: one in 2013); Mourning Cloak, (one in 2000); and 2 Delaware Skippers, (previous: one in 2011). Teta Kain is the coordinator for this count and this data come from her report to NABA. Her contact is: tkdragonrun7@gmail.com

    Following up on the July 10 count, a group of 7 observers returned to Surry County July 17 and recorded 18 species in our morning “farm tour” to scout out new locations for the 2017 count. We had at least a half dozen Cloudless Sulphurs plus two Little Yellows, a species not often seen in our area.

    Shirley Devan Williamsburg, VA Cell Ph: 757.813.1322


    • Rick says:

      Thanks a million for the info, Shirley. I should have been more specific in saying that King’s has not been seen in its usual location near DC; I have had a number of reports in VA and the Carolinas, where it is a more common butterfly (and where its host plant is more widespread, both coastally and in the mountains). I might do a run down to the Eastern Shore this week if I can brave the heat and check. The info about Cloudless Sulphurs and Little Yellow was also welcome; we have had one sighting in the region of Little Yellow so far and no Cloudless Sulphurs.

  2. Pat Bernstein says:

    I want plant a butterfly garden and need a recommendation for landscaper in Baltimore.

    • Rick says:

      I’m very sorry, Pat, but I’m not the one to go to for landscape advice in Baltimore. You should ask your local extension agent for a list of local native plant landscapers.

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