Butterfly Field Forecast for the Week of 2017 April 29


FOY Harvester from Allegany Co. [photo by Kathy Barylski via MDLepsOdes@googlegroups.com. 2017 April 27]

Not a lot new to the list this week, but building numbers of the usual suspects including Pearl Crescent, American Ladies, and the various black swallowtails — Spicebush, Black, and Pipevine.  Of note was an FOY sighting of Harvester, and more Cobweb Skippers.  The first Northern Cloudywing of the season makes the Forecast this week, as does Common Roadside-skipper.

Falcate Orangetips are pretty much over, but West Virginia White is in fact flying in Garrett Co.  The first brood of Cabbage Whites is petering out, but judging from the ragged look of the mustard in the community garden we should be in for a fresh influx anytime now.  The recent rains also likely will spur a good second generation of Orange and Clouded Sulphurs, which have had one of their best of recent springs.

The yellow swallowtail du jour is still Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, although there were conflicting reports of what is on the wing in Garrett /Allegany Co just now.  Two observers to the same location (Finzel Swamp) reported different tiger swallowtail species on the same day:  one reported Appalachian, one reported Eastern.  My money currently is on Eastern; still a bit on the early side for Appalachian there but I expect to check it out myself this weekend. Spicebush Swallowtail has emerged in good numbers in a strong flight.

Lyaenids included reports of Northern and Spring Azure, the afore-mentioned Harvester, good numbers of Gray Hairstreaks, Eastern Tailed-blues and an American Copper or two.  The only elfin on the line close by this week was Pine Elfin, but Frosted Elfin and Hoary Elfin are out in NJ.  Juniper Hairstreak is flying well.  MIA locally so far this season is Red-banded Hairstreak, normally a common early spring hairstreak, but it is being seen in NJ.  Holly Azure made the reports of a number of NJ lepsters this week.

We should be nearing flight time for Viceroy and Red-spotted Purple, but they did not make the rolls this week.  There have been a surprising number of Painted Lady sightings, and an abundance of American Ladies, widely seen oviposting on pussytoes.  A few Red Admirals are around, mostly quite fresh.  Both Variegated and Meadow Fritillaries were reported from multiple locations in the region.  Common Buckeyes were reported from a couple of field observers.  Monarchs are moving through, often undetected except by the eggs they leave behind on emerging milkweed stalks.  It bears repeating to novice observers that we shouldn’t expect to see Monarchs hanging around here in midsummer; their absence is often cited as evidence of population decline.  It’s not.  They are genetically programmed to get as far north as possible in succeeding generations and we shouldn’t see much of them again until late summer after the current migratory wave pushes through and its progeny follow suit.

The three large spreadwing skippers — Horace’s, Juvenal’s, and Wild Indigo Duskywings — are all flying together.  Cobweb Skipper is out in numbers in its restricted habitats.  And right on schedule with the blackberry bloom comes the first Northern Cloudywing in Garrett Co.  Common Roadside-skipper was seen again this year in Green Ridge State Forest, one of the new go-to places for this lep.

Notable Nectar Sources:  Wild cherry is in bloom, and a good hairstreak magnet.  Fleabane is up and will be attracting a few species, but those that come are pretty specialized for flat flowers.  Clovers (field and sweet) are the best bet currently, and of course blackberry (and various other brambles) will attract a lot of butterflies in addition to cloudywings over the next couple of weeks.  Vetch and viburnum bring in some butterflies now.  And in the shaded woods where it grows, wild geranium can be a real draw for things like West Virginia White and Dusky Azure.  Privet, while noxious and invasive, can be a good place to look for hairstreaks.

Looks like a good weekend coming up; if you make it out in the field over the next couple of days, please let us know what you find for the next Forecast. You can leave your sightings as a comment here at https://leplog.wordpress.com/ or by posting to Google Groups at MDLepsOdes.

This entry was posted in Forecasts, general butterfly news, sightings. Bookmark the permalink.

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