Butterfly Field Forecast for the Week of 2017 June 3

Mating Silvery Checkerspots_MD-AACo-Pax North-Richard Orr 2017 May 26

Mating Silvery Checkerspots in a photo by Richard Orr from the Patuxent North Refuge (Anne Arundel Co MD). [2017 May 26].  Note especially the white “windows” in the dark spots along the trailing edge of the topside hindwing when viewing this butterfly from above.

All it takes is just a little bit of sunshine to set things popping, which we had at the end of this week:  Great Spangled Fritillary, Long Dash, Hackberry Emperor, Northern Pearly-eye, and Silvery Checkerspot all showed up locally in the past week.

The Great Spangled Fritillary report came from Green Ridge State Forest in MD, as did the Hackberry Emperor.  There were other good nymphalid sightings, although a fresh Comma, a worn Question Mark and fresh Red-spotted Purples made the list this week.  Silvery Checkerspots are out in good numbers now, and the new brood of Pearl Crescents (nominally at least) is going gangbusters in western MD.  Given decent weather this weekend I’m pretty sure we’ll see a couple of Viceroys locally for the tally next week.  Little Wood-satyrs seem to be everywhere this week.  A single Variegated Fritillary report makes the list. As if summoned out of the ether by last week’s Forecast, Northern Pearly-eye showed up immediately across the region.

Skippers continue to dominate the newly seen, with recently emerged Indian Skipper and Long Dash at Finzel Swamp (MD) and Hoary Edge in its go-to location in Green Ridge SF.  Despite the return of good stands of New Jersey Tea to the Green Ridge roadsides (thanks to less-aggressive mowing regimes and possibly deer cull), we have been unable to find MD Mottled Duskywing for some decades now.  If you know of good stands of New Jersey Tea, now would be the time to check for this distinctive duskywing.  Also of note this week are some still quite fresh Dreamy Duskywings in most western county sites that were checked.

This would be the week to start looking for Giant Swallowtail, although none have been reported yet.  Eastern Tiger Swallowtails are beginning their second generation (and it looks like it will be a big flight), yet so far no definitive Appalachian Tigers have been reported (although there have been candidates but not photographed or observed in hand).  Spicebush Swallowtails are abundant most everywhere, a fresh generation of Pipevine Swallowtails is on the wing, and the new flight of Zebra Swallowtails is just emerging.  Fresh Black Swallowtails are out, too.

Hairstreak sightings were scarce this week, except for the welcome report of an Eastern Shore Banded Hairstreak to kick off the official Satyrium Season.  Red-banded Hairstreak was also reported widely.  Summer Azures have kicked in with a strong new flight, but we’re still mostly between Eastern Tailed-blue broods (you’ll all remember this critter did not do too well last year).

New flights of Orange and Clouded Sulphurs are out, and Small (Cabbage) Whites continues to build in numbers.  One field in Green Ridge SF had several albino Colias white form females on the wing with no orange morph males or females in evidence.

Moth Report:  Of special note this week are Pine Devil Moth and Plebian Sphinx, along with continued saturniid sightings of Tuliptree Silk-moth, Polyphemus, and Luna Moth.  The Eastern Tent Caterpillars that were so abundant earlier in the season are now flying as adults.

Notable Nectar:  Milkweed and dogbane are both coming on, just in time for Satyrium hairstreaks.  But the real magnet for these butterflies is butterfly weed, Asclepias, and it is now coming into bloom as well.  New Jersey Tea is a draw wherever it is found.  A second good flush of red and white clovers is pulling in good butterflies, as are the tall white and yellow sweetclovers, Melilotus.  Various viburnums are also in peak bloom.  Buttonbush staggers its bloom over the next month or so beginning now; this is especially powerful attracting swallowtails and swamp and marsh skippers.

It appears we finally get a break from the gloom of the past few weeks, so please report your finds 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 June 3

  1. jodibucknam says:

    Saw FOY Sleepy Orange at Wolf Trap National Park today in Vienna, Va (Fairfax County). Yesterday also saw my FOY monarch in the same park.
    –Jodi Bucknam

  2. Judy Gallagher says:

    Hi Rick,

    I just saw and photographed an American Copper at Idylwild WMA near Federalsburg. You have probably reported this before but I don’t remember seeing it recently.

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