Mid-Atlantic Butterfly Field Forecast for the Week of 2017 August 5

2017JUL30 White M Hairstreak_MD-AA Co-Glendining Preserve

A White M Hairstreak high up in the massive raceme of a Devil’s Walkingstick shrub (Aralia spinosa) just coming into bloom. Aralia is a magnet for summer lycaenids [2017 JUL 30, Anne Arundel Co., Glendening Nature Preserve; photo by REB]

True to last week’s Forecast, Ocola Skipper made its first appearance in the region at the Glendening Nature Preserve boardwalk into Jug Bay last weekend, heralding a month of so of winnowing through clouds of grass skippers (all the expected species were reported this week) for the swept-back profiles of panoquin skippers like Ocola, Eufala, Salt-marsh and others.  And to our south in the Carolinas, good numbers of Clouded Skippers are already moving north, promising a good season for these and possibly other southern migrant skippers.

Coastal and marsh skippers were also well represented this week, with regional sightings of Broad-winged, Delaware, Dion, and Salt-marsh Skippers.

The Painted Lady explosion we first noted in early July continues, both here and up and down the Eastern seaboard.  Here in the mid-Atlantic we’re most accustomed to seeing singletons of this cosmopolitan species (and often suspiciously near schools who reared them from purchased kits as part of classroom projects on metamorphosis); this year is different.  Painted Lady is far and away the most common vanessid butterfly this season across the region.  American Ladies and Red Admirals are widely reported too, but not in anything like the Painted Lady burst.  A handful of Red-spotted Purple and Viceroy sightings trickled in.  Meadow Fritillaries are apparently building up again, and Silver-bordered Fritillary is also on the wing in a new generation.  Both sexes of Diana Fritillary are still flying well.  No anglewing reports this week.  The trifecta of hackberry-related nymphalids — Snout, Hackberry Emperor, and Tawny Emperor — was all flying.  Variegated Fritillaries are bordering on common in some locations, as is Common Buckeye.

Among satyrids, Appalachian Browns are having an exceptional flight currently.  Also still out are Northern Pearly-eye and Common Wood Nymph; a few reports came in of Little Wood Satyr (but none of Carolina Satyr, although it also should be flying).

White M Hairstreak tops the list of hairstreak sightings this week, seen in Devil’s Walkingstick flower clusters in the company of Gray Hairstreak, Red-banded Hairstreak, and Summer Azure.  Olive (Juniper) Hairstreak is also on the wing.  Eastern Tailed-blue is still flying (a more or less continuous, but weak, brood since May).  More sightings this week of American Copper.

Fresh Zebra, Pipevine, Black, and Eastern Tiger Swallowtails are out and  about, and Spicebush Swallowtails are abundant in conditions ranging from tattered to terrific.

Sleepy Oranges were the most interesting of the pierid reports this week; there also was a handful of Cloudless Sulphur sightings but not a very strong flight.  More Little Yellows were seen in various locations in southern PA, though, so it is highly likely we’ll see MD and DE reports of them this weekend.

Notable Nectar:  Mistflower is blooming well now, as are early goldenrods, ironweed, Joe-pye, and other bonesets.  A second flush of dogbane is in bloom, and early asters are coming on.  There’s a host of perennial sunflowers out as well.  But the big draw if you can find it is Devil’s walking stick, whose huge racemes pull in just about every pollinator known to the mid-Atlantic.

A spectacular weather weekend shaping up for butterfly watchers. If you get out and see anything interesting, let us know here at https://leplog.wordpress.com/ or by posting to Google Groups at MDLepsOdes.

 

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