The very warm weather brought, as expected, a burst of new butterfly activity, producing new satyrium hairstreaks Coral Hairstreak and Striped Hairstreak, Silver-bordered Fritillary, Harris’ Checkerspot, Common Ringlet, Atlantis Fritillary, Black Dash, Baltimore Checkerspot, and Fiery Skipper.
The Coral and Striped Hairstreaks led off a pretty clean sweep of expected hairstreaks this week that included Gray, Red-banded, and Banded. A good number of Appalachian Azures were observed ovipositing on black cohosh last weekend in Gambrill SP, where Summer Azure was abundant. Eastern Tailed-blue is surprisingly scarce this cycle. The ANS foray to Frederick Watershed Forest failed to turn up Edwards’ Hairstreak, although the season there was still pretty early.
Fritillaries were out and about, including Meadow, Variegated, Great Spangled and the FOYs Atlantis and Silver-bordered Fritillary (in WV). Silvery Checkerspot seems already to have crashed; Pearl Crescents are also conspicuously uncommon. Baltimore Checkerspots emerged on cue. Both emperors — Hackberry and Tawny — are flying; so is Viceroy and Red-spotted Purple. Satyrids this week included Northern Pearly-eye, Appalachian Brown and Little Wood Satyr; this weekend will probably produce the FOY sightings of Common Wood Nymph. Singleton reports of Monarchs and a few Monarch caterpillars came in. American and Painted Ladies were both on the wing. Snouts are showing up regularly.
New skippers this week included Fiery in the DC area and Black Dash to the west. Indian Skippers are fresh in the areas around Frederick; Zabulon and Hobomok are already winding down. Long Dash is flying well. Sachem isn’t; just a handful of sightings. With a bit of luck the counters on this weekend’s Western Montgomery Co (MD) NABA count will see newly emerged Mulberry Wings. Essex (European) Skipper is flying well but not in the stupendous numbers it sometimes displays. Northern Cloudywings were common in the Catoctin Mountains last weekend; a single report of Southern Cloudywing was noted. Fading Dreamy Duskywings were on the wing there as well.
All the usual swallowtails are out; Palamedes hasn’t been reported but is almost certainly flying in the Pocomoke River drainage. No Giant Swallowtails have been sighted.
Pink-edged Sulphur (a mere 15 miles from Maryland in WV!) was the only pierid of note.
Notable Nectar: Two words: thistles and milkweeds (including butterflyweed and dogbane)..
The weekend is a dicey one for the annual counts in Western Montgomery Co (MD) and Sky Meadows/Thompson (VA), but there should be some sunny interludes. If you venture out in one of them and see anything interesting, you can leave your sightings as a comment here at https://leplog.wordpress.com/ or by posting to Google Groups at MDLepsOdes.