Butterfly Field Forecast for the Week of 2017 May 13


Pepper and Salt Skipper, Montgomery Co MD 2017 May 10. Photo by Andy Martin.

Despite cool temps and a good amount of rain, several new species make the FOY list this week:  Little Glassywing, Little Wood Satyr, Hayhurst’s Scallopwing, Least Skipper, Hoary Edge and Pepper and Salt Skipper (locally) among them.  In addition, second generation Summer Azures are flying, female Zabulon Skippers have emerged to mix it up with the males, and more Common Roadside-skippers were reported.

One of the best finds of the week was a Montgomery Co (MD) colony of Pepper and Salt Skippers.  To my knowledge, MoCo has only historic records of this species; I have not yet been up to Gambrills SP to see how the colony there in Frederick Co. is faring.  Silver-spotted Skippers are emerging in numbers.  The first Little Glassywing (in a perplexingly worn state) was also reported from Patuxent North (Anne Arundel Co., MD).  Both Northern and Southern Cloudywing have been reported in the region (predicted, as I noted, by the blackberry bloom).  Both Hoary Edge and Hayhurst’s Scallopwing were picked up in northern VA (Fairfax and Rappahannock Cos., respectively).  Least Skipper was reported in PG Co., but I suspect is widespread this week.

The Little Wood Satyrs were picked up on a scout mission I did in Worcester Co. for an ANS trip this weekend that (needless to say) won’t be happening; they were fresh but in good numbers so I suspect they will be flying closer to the metro area this weekend (if they don’t drown first).  Numbers of Red-spotted Purples were out, and new American Ladies in their second flight were beginning to show up.  Pearl Crescents seem to be having a meager first flight.  Common Buckeyes, on the other hand, are having a strong early flight, in contrast to last year.  Summer-morph Question Marks have emerged.

Eastern Tailed-blues are having a rather poor early flight, too.  Red-banded Hairstreak numbers are building.  Fresh Summer Azures are on the wing on the Eastern Shore; these have to be second flight specimens.

In the Great Dismal Swamp to our south, the next generation of Zebra Swallowtails is just coming on, so I suspect we should see long-tailed summer forms on the wing locally in the next week or so.  Palamedes Swallowtails were everywhere (and probably are flying along the Pocomoke River in their one solid spot in MD); none of the expected — and hoped for — butterfly cane specialists were out yet so I had to content myself with fruitless chases of taunting Swainson’s Warblers.  This week marks the beginning of the normal Appalachian Tiger Swallowtail flight period; in the higher elevations and western counties check for large, lemon-yellow swallowtails with a slow, kite-like flight and then check for the diagnostic markings.

Nothing new on the whites & sulphurs front; we’re between flights of Small (Cabbage) Whites, and no new reports of Cloudless Sulphurs came in this week (probably because winds have not been favorable for migration).

Moth Report:  Not much reported; most of the night light work has been a casualty of the rains.  Small-eyed Sphinx and Nessus Sphinx lead the moth list this week; Emerald Moths of various stripes are out as well.  I was lucky enough to see Sweetbay Silk Moth in the Dismal; I suspect that means both Promethea and Tuliptree Silk Moths are on the wing.  Hummingbird/Snowberry Clearwing Moths have been reported also.

This weekend looks like a washout for Saturday and nice weather for Mother’s Day if you can get her to go out in the field with you.  If you do, 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.


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2 Responses to Butterfly Field Forecast for the Week of 2017 May 13

  1. Ken L says:


    I’m a bit out of your area (I live in Williamsburg, VA) but I enjoy reading your Lep Log. I also enjoy checking our local butterfly population every week or two throughout the year and making a list of observed species each time I go out. I am not a Virginia Master Naturalist but I do work with them on NABA butterfly counts several times each year and one of those folks (who also reads the Lep Log) suggested I contact you about my own finding of Pepper and Salt Skippers in New Quarter park in Williamsburg, VA — a new record for our area if I am not mistaken. Anyway, below is the type of list I compile and send out to the Master Naturalists after each of my outings and I would be happy to send my list to you as well if you are interested.


    Ken Lorenzen

    Zabulon Skipper – 19 (17 male, 2 female)

    Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – 13 (incl. 2 black morphs)

    Summer Azure – 13

    Salt Marsh Skipper – 10

    Pearl Crescent – 8

    American Lady – 6

    Common Buckeye – 6

    Zebra Swallowtail – 6

    Common Checkered Skipper – 5

    American Snout – 3

    Eastern Tailed Blue – 3

    Red-banded Hairstreak – 2

    Sachem – 2

    Spicebush Swallowtail – 2

    Cabbage White – 1

    Clouded Skipper – 1

    Gemmed Satyr – 1

    Little Glassywing – 1

    Orange Sulphur – 1

    Pepper and Salt Skipper – 1

    Red-spotted Purple – 1

    Variegated Fritillary – 1


  2. altomomatic says:

    Kudos to Andy Martin! The Pepper and Salt Skipper was an awesome find! I also found Ken’s list from Williamsburg quite interesting.

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