Mid-Atlantic Butterfly Field Forecast for the Week Beginning 2016 Sept 17

One of several Sleepy Oranges on the trails of the Pickering Creek Audubon Center last Sunday [2016 Sept 11, MD Talbot Co, photo by REB]

One of several Sleepy Oranges on the trails of the Pickering Creek Audubon Center last Sunday [2016 Sept 11, MD Talbot Co, photo by REB]

This weekend promises – or at least hints at – rain, which the area needs very badly as the nectar sources typically don’t produce much nectar under drought stress. But the warm, dry weather has brought a spate of fall sightings locally and regionally.

Topping the list locally was Checkered White in Howard Co MD; there’s a large flight of Small (Cabbage) Whites currently in progress and I suspect there are more Checkereds among them for wont of close inspection. Little Yellow racked up a couple more (but sporadic) reports this past week, but it’s Sleepy Orange that has really piled on the sightings – a veritable irruption in northern VA and some dozens in Talbot Co on the MD Eastern Shore. Cloudless Sulphurs are also have a very strong flight, abetted in recent days I suspect by the southeasterly winds.

For many of us, FOY Painted Ladies showed up in the past few weeks, including four near Centreville MD in the ROW between Route 301 and Carville Price Road, which parallels 301. This is an especially rich, moist, nectar laden oasis that anyone on the way to the Delaware beaches or up to Eastern Neck NWR should check out en route. Filled with swallowtails (Spicebush, mostly, but also a few Eastern Tigers, a single Black, and a probable Pipevine), Monarchs (among the most common butterflies there), Common Buckeyes, and a selection of skippers – multitudes of Silver-spotteds and lower numbers of Leasts and Sachem, some unidentified duskwyings, and a solitary Ocola.

Observers should keep their eyes on those Silver-spotted Skippers this time of year, as Long-tailed Skippers have been reported to our south and as far north as New Jersey and CT. So they are clearly on the move now. Common Checkered-skippers are also flying; they’re one of the highlights of fall when they’ve been scarce most of the rest of the year. Aaron’s, Broad-winged, and Salt Marsh Skippers are still flying as well. Still waiting to make an appearance locally are Clouded and Eufala Skippers.

Viceroys and Red-spotted Purples are out and about as well, as are pristine Commas and Question Marks. The former will be in their last brood but may persist through the first frosts; the latter will join us again as overwintering adults next March. Pearl Crescents are having their best flight of the season, and there were also a couple of reports of Silvery Checkerspots mixed in regionally.

A very few Summer Azure reports trickled in (one from my back yard in College Park just this morning). There’s a modest flight of Eastern Tailed-blues (seems not to have been a particularly good year for them), and a number of White M reports to complement the much more widely observed Gray Hairstreaks. A couple of Red-banded Hairstreaks also make the list this week. No reports of coppers of any kind, or of Great Purple Hairstreak.

This cool weekend will again give way to high temps, high humidity and hot sunshine by midweek. If you dodge the clouds and and showers this weekend, please report back what you find to us for the next Forecast by commenting here at https://leplog.wordpress.com/ or by posting to Google Groups at MDLepsOdes.

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