Mid-Atlantic Butterfly Field Forecast for the Week Beginning 2016 Sept 3

Salt Marsh Skippers are flying in coastal habitats; look for them on goldenrod and salt marsh fleabane [photo courtesy Barry Marts, 2016 Aug 20]

Salt Marsh Skippers are flying in coastal habitats; look for them on goldenrod and salt marsh fleabane [photo courtesy Barry Marts, 2016 Aug 20]

With the remnants of Hermine due to visit the mid-Atlantic toward the middle and end of the Labor Day weekend, the Forecast is a little up in the air (pun intended) for what’s likely to be out and about in the markedly cooler weather. And of course, there’s always the possibility that some southern migrants might be pushed northward up the coast, although this storm is unlikely to produce much in the way of butterfly fallout.  If we get rain from it, that might freshen up the nectar sources a bit.

It’s been a good week locally for grass skippers, after a rather anemic summer so far for these species. Zabulon Skippers are hanging on in some spots longer than is their normal wont, and Common Checkered-skippers are making a good showing throughout the region. Fresh female Sachems are out this week to join the clouds of male Sachems flying over the past ten days, and the new brood of Peck’s Skippers seems pretty much everywhere too (and by that I mean on most buddleia bushes with any amount of bloom on them). Other grass skippers are less common. Least Skippers were ubiquitous this week in the right habitats. Salt Marsh and Aaron’s Skippers are flying well along DE coastal marshes (Bronze Copper is still flying there as well); Salt Marsh Skipper this time of year is especially fond of salt marsh fleabane as a nectar source. Ocola Skipper is having a banner year so far with most observers reporting multiple sightings from field trips. No reports yet of Leonard’s Skipper, but I suspect it will be seen this weekend if the weather cooperates; neither Clouded nor Long-tailed Skippers have been reported locally yet either but could show up any day.

Among the duskywings, Horace’s is especially plentiful this late summer, although Wild Indigo is still in flight as well.

Cloudless Sulphurs are now pretty much overspread in the mid-Atlantic; look for them especially on various sages. Little Yellow is having its best year in the past four or five summers, although some usual locations are still missing them.

Fritillaries on the wing have included surprisingly long-lived Great Spangled, increasing numbers of Variegated (possible the prelude to a huge final fall flight), and a few Meadow Frits. Red-spotted Purples, Red Admirals, both anglewings (which will hibernate and re-emerge in the spring), Common Wood-nymph, both emperors, and Northern Pearly-eye round out the assortment of other widely reported nymphalids this week; no Viceroys made the lists, nor did any Ladies.  Common Buckeyes are living up to their name but none of the fall “rosa”form have been reported yet locally.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, Black Swallowtails, and fresh Pipevines are currently on the wing. Few reports of Spicebush, which seems to have finished up, and no Giant sightings.

If Hermine doesn’t wash out the weekend and you make it out into the field, please report back to us for the next Forecast by commenting here at https://leplog.wordpress.com/ or posting to Google Groups at MDLepsOdes.

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