Mid-Atlantic Field Butterfly Forecast for the Week of 2017 August 12

Clouded Skipper 2013 July 20 National Arbo copy

Time to begin looking for Clouded Skippers. Note that it looks a lot like a fresh female Zabulon (also flying) without the white “racing stripe” along the leading edge of the ventral hindwing. [2013 July 20, US National Arboretum. 2013 was an early year for Cloudeds]

Despite a couple of days of gorgeous weather, very little in the way of butterfly sightings came in for the Forecast this week.  A second Ocola Skipper makes the list, but the highlight of the week was a late report of the area’s first Clouded Skipper in Catonsville (MD).  The finding rewards my holding off until today to post the week’s Forecast!

Otherwise, it’s mostly the stock characters of late summer.  All the expected swallowtails are still out; Black and Pipevine are fresh broods, and even some of the Eastern Tigers are looking rather clean.  One presumes Palamedes is still on the wing in the Pocomoke drainage; they’ll have one more cycle that will run into October.  The stretch of Hickory Point Road out the swamp is a favorite early autumn destination with potential for Great Purple Hairstreak and Bronze Copper as well until Columbus Day.  In New England, Giant Swallowtails are being reported regularly this week, although clearly this is not going to be a banner year for them even in the Northeast.  Locally, there has not been a single reported sighting all season.

The full roster of grass skippers is on the wing — Sachem, Dun, Swarthy, Fiery, Zabulon, Peck’s, both Broken-dashes, Little Glassywing, Crossline, Tawny-edged — making for a couple of weeks of field ID challenges!  If you haven’t picked it up yet, the new Butterflies of Pennsylvania has an excellent spread on ID of the female “witches.”  Silver-spotted Skipper is exploding in numbers; Northern Cloudywing, Common Checkered-skipper, Hayhurst’s Scallopwing, and Common Sootwing were also reported.  No word this week on local coastal skippers.  Both Wild Indigo and Horace’s Duskywing are flying, but Wild Indigo is now the predominant duskywing over most of the region.

The Great Spangled Fritillary brood is winding down rapidly.    Meadow and Variegated Fritillaries, though, are being seen in good numbers.  Painted Lady is still having a terrific flight; a modest one for American Lady.  There are fresh Red Admirals, and still good numbers of Appalachian Browns and Northern Pearly-eyes.  No reports this week of Little Wood Satyr or Carolina Satyr, sporadic reports of Common Wood Nymph. [And a reminder to look for the salt marsh population of Common Wood Nymph, which may represent a distinct species].  Pearl Crescents were reported in low numbers; a few, mostly tatty, Silvery Checkerspot reports came in.

No additional White M Hairstreak reports since last week, but the bloom of boneset (which usually peaks about the same time as this hairstreak) is imminent.  Summer Azures are experiencing the end of their last brood, but fresh Gray and Red-banded Hairstreaks are out.

The Metalmark flight is over.

Cloudless Sulphurs were reported again this week, in low numbers generally, as were Sleepy Oranges.


Notable Nectar:  A wealth of composites, including asters and goldenrods, is the main nectar source outside of gardens.  But keep in mind devil’s walkingstick and climbing hemp vine for hairstreaks, and the second flush of pickerel week for skippers.  And especially where it mowed on roadsides earlier in the season, dogbane is blooming again — on the Eastern Shore, check for Great Purple Hairstreaks and Bronze Coppers.

We’ll be dodging thunderstorms Saturday but Sunday should be a good day afield. 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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One Response to Mid-Atlantic Field Butterfly Forecast for the Week of 2017 August 12

  1. Back in the USA this week and on my first day out, an Ocola Skipper on the W&OD railtrack recreational route, between Vienna and Reston… not sure whether this is of interest…. for photo see:-

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