Mid-Atlantic Butterfly Field Forecast for the Week of 2017 July 29


Checkered White in Talbot Co MD [2017 July 23, photo by Jared Satchell]

The big summer push of many skippers is evident this week — or at least was before the weekend’s monsoon started — with fresh Zabulon, Peck’s, and Sachem flying this morning even in my suburban yard.  Fiery Skipper is beginning to show up in reports again, and the Broken-dashes, Crosslines, and Tawny-edges should be building again shortly.

To our south in the Carolinas, Ocola Skippers appear to be early and this may presage a good year for these late-summer migrants in the mid-Atlantic.  Hayhurst’s Scallopwings are out in a new brood, as are Common Checkered-skippers (this latter species will be one of the last skippers standing when the fall frosts come, and one of the first to emerge in the spring).  Fresh Silver-spotted Skippers are out, too, and Common Sootywings are having a good summer push.

Silvery Checkerspots have been rather hit-or-miss:  Some areas have reported veritable clouds of checkerspots; some areas that normally have them report none.  Common Buckeyes are widespread and common, although I have not yet seen reports of the ‘rosa’ fall form.  Painted Ladies continue to experience a very strong flight; more so than American Ladies.  The greater fritillaries are winding down, but we should still be seeing another brood or two of Meadow Fritillary (a few reports this week) and increasing numbers of Variegated Fritillary, which seems to be poised for a good fall run.  A new county record of Hackberry Emperor came in from Worcester Co MD to supplement other regional sightings; surprisingly no reports of Tawny Emperor this week.  One Viceroy sighting came in.

Among the satyrids, Northern Pearly-eye, Common Wood Nymph, and Appalachian Satyr were all seen regionally this past week (big numbers of Pearly-eye!), as was a fresh brood of Little Wood Satyrs just beginning to emerge.

American Copper is the only copper with fresh sightings this week.  Red-banded and Gray Hairstreaks were the dominant lycaenids; a few Summer Azures are still working fresh buds.  Still rather low numbers for Eastern Tailed-blue, as has been the case all summer. It’s a bit out of our range, but a second-brood Early Hairstreak was observed in north-central PA. Harvester has been unusually scarce as well.

Reports of Giant Swallowtail from the Carolinas and from New York have been on the listservs, but the species remains MIA here in the mid-Atlantic.

Fresh Checkered Whites made it on the list this week from the Eastern Shore, and the long-awaited Little Yellows showed up in southern PA.  Otherwise, the big story seems to be a big increase in Sleepy Orange (I even had one of those in my yard), but not so much for Cloudless Sulphur, which seems to still be rather slowly building its numbers.

Notable Nectar:  Non-native lespedezas are beginning to attract late-summer butterflies.  Clethra is in full bloom now, and hairstreaks especially are coming to the variety of native and cultivated mints currently at peak.

Most of this weekend is likely to be a washout, quite literally,  Possibly Sunday and certaintly the rest of the week seem to be tailor made for butterfly watching, however.  If you venture out post-flood,  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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One Response to Mid-Atlantic Butterfly Field Forecast for the Week of 2017 July 29

  1. Kim Elliott says:

    Spotted an Eastern Tailed Blue on the summersweet this week

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