New Jersey butterfliers were doing metaphorical (and possible literal) cartwheels last week over what could be the first documented Great Purple Hairstreak in the state in some 128 years. Now it’s true that we haven’t had a Great Purple sighting yet this year in MD or DE, where we usually get several reports each season, but the summer is still young, butterfly-wise, and they could show up in the report next week now that we know they are flying! Read the very entertaining article in the South Jersey Butterfly B/Log.
Elsewhere, we got our wish for new pierids this week — Cloudless Sulphur, Sleepy Orange, and Checkered White all provided local sightings this week. Cloudless Sulphur was a little surprising (there was one in NJ as well), not so much because it is early for this southern migrant but because few have been seen in the states between us and the Gulf, where it’s a year-rounder. Cloudless has been seen in MD as early as late May, more likely as a nursery stowaway than as a migrant per se.
And the Northern Metalmarks are out, in numbers it appears, in Green Ridge SF. Nearly 50 of this midsummer, univoltine species were seen in one afternoon earlier this week.
Josh Emm scored another county record, this time Northern Pearly-Eye from Harford Co. This record continues filling in the western part of MD for the species. Other regional brushfoots of note were Diana, Aphrodite, Atlantis, Great Spangled, Variegated, and Meadow Fritillaries (Regal is flying in southern Pennsylvania). Pearl Crescents continue to be relatively scarce, and it’s a good question what the next brood of Silvery Checkerspots will look like, given that the first brood was so anemic. Baltimore Checkerspots are on the wing in at least two locations this week.
Although they’re getting worn, Striped and Banded Hairstreaks are still being reported, along with Coral Hairstreak. Edwards’ Hairstreak was late emerging this year, but is well out now. Given better weather this weekend perhaps King’s Hairstreak will be reported. American Copper is flying, but neither Bronze Copper nor Bog Copper have been logged yet this year, although the sightings window for both should be open now.
Swallowtails are stable but mostly showing wear; fresh broods of all are expected in the next three weeks. No Giant Swallowtails have been reported yet this season; they’ve been relatively rare in New England, where they have been positively abundant in some locations over the past couple of years.
Common Checkered-skipper returns to the lists this week after an absence of a month or so; most grass skippers are between broods but should rebound in late July or early August. Wild Indigo and Horace’s Duskywings are being seen in roughly equal numbers throughout the area. Mulberry Wing is still flying also, apparently. Good sightings of Common Sootywing and Hayhurst’s Scallopwing also came in this week.
Notable Nectar: In gardens, lantanas and zinnias are drawing the most attention these days. A new flush of clovers is attracting grass skippers especially, and in the coastal marshes and even inland the blue spikes of pickerel weed are sometimes literally covered with skippers.
While I don’t want to jinx it, the weather is looking pretty darn good for field work this weekend. If you get out, you can leave your sightings as a comment here at https://leplog.wordpress.com/ or by posting to Google Groups at MDLepsOdes.