Butterfly Field Forecast for the Week of 2017 May 27 (Memorial Day Weekend)

First report this year of Aaron’s Skipper, this one headfirst in a bindweed flower in Talbot Co MD’s Bill Burton State Park [2017 May 24, photo by Jared Satchell]

The combination of the late-May lull (most of the spring generations are done, the spring univoltines are gone for another year, and many summer butterflies have not yet emerged) and the cool and cloudy weather have conspired to keep our field sightings to a bare handful this week.

Among them is the report of final instar Great Spangled Fritillaries, roaming away from their violet host plants in search of places to pupate.  This should put Great Spangleds on the wing in about two weeks.  Appalachian Brown and Viceroy showed up as FOY species this week, both in southern NJ.  I strongly suspect that any sunshine this weekend will bring out Common Wood Nymph, and Pearly-eyes will also be flying.  Carolina Satyr joined look-alike Little Wood-nymph on the wing this week.

Skipper-wise, a few more Hayhurst’s Scallopwings were reported.  Along the coast, Salt Marsh Skippers were on the wing.  Tawny-edged Skipper, Aaron’s and Delaware Skipper joined the grass skippers already about this week:  Peck’s, Sachem, Zabulon, Indian, Hobomok, and Dun.

Moth Report:  Virginia Creeper Sphinx was a notable sighting this week, as were Waved, Abbott’s and Elm Sphinx.  Elsewhere, some other moths of note were Common Angle Moth, Wood Leopard Moth, Giant Leopard Moth, Snowberry Clearwing, Hickory Tussock Moth, various Euchlaena moths, and the first plume moth I’ve had on the list this season, Morning Glory Plume Moth.  Among saturniids, Luna Moth and Polyphemus were reported.  Tim Reichard had some 50 moth species still hanging out at noon around the Citgo lights on I-68 in Green Ridge State Forest a week ago.

Notable Nectar:  Common milkweed is budding and probably beginning to open on the Eastern Shore; ditto for dogbane.  Japanese Honeysuckle is well into bloom, and attracting swallowtails and some of the larger skippers in addition to hummingbird moths and other sphingids. Yarrows and Ox-eye Daisies attract crescents and skippers, especially in the western MD counties.  A good place to look for hairstreaks this week will be on meadow rue, which is flowering now.  Privet is also in bloom and will be productive, especially in the sun; this week will probably see the first flowers of bottlebrush buckeye, which usually attracts the second generation of White-M Hairstreaks. 

The bad-weather weekends keep on coming; Memorial Day weekend is unstable and unsettled with a good chance of rain all three days.  The warmer weather though means there will be butterflies on the wing in any brief sunny interludes over the weekend; if you luck into anything of interest before next Friday,  please let us know 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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