Mid-Atlantic Butterfly Field Forecast for the Week of 2017 August 26

Leonards Sk

An early Leonard’s Skipper in Allegany Co MD yesterday [2017 August 24; photo by Kathy Barylski]

More reports of Gulf Fritillaries in the DC metro area came in this week, one in College Park and one in Northern VA.  Are we seeing an invasion (no sightings between here and SC) or a local, short-lived breeding colony? Or hitchhikers from the many cars and trucks that made the hegira to eclipse totality (which also happens to be Gulf Frit central)?  Lots will depend on whether there are additional sightings over the next two weeks near urban centers where there would have been a number of eclipse-seekers, especially outside the DC metro region.

Other good sightings this week were the FOY report for Leonard’s Skipper near Frostburg MD, and a Long-tailed Skipper in Northern VA.  A stray Palamedes Swallowtail enlivened a Natural History Field Studies field trip to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens last Saturday; Dion Skipper, Clouded Skipper, and Ocola Skipper also showed up for the field trip.

Otherwise, it was Sachem overload on most local flower patches, among which were dispersed Fiery, Northern Broken-dash, Southern Broken-dash, Dun, Peck’s, Little Glassywing and Zabulon Skippers.  Fresh Wild Indigo Duskywings are out, as were Broad-winged Skippers.  Lots of Silver-spotted Skippers as well.

A few Zebra Swallowtails were reported, as well as Black Swallowtails in various stages from first instar to flying imago.  Spicebush Swallowtails were the most numerous of the tribe, with Eastern Tiger Swallowtails a close second.

Monarchs were everywhere this week, with more than 30 on the wing between the US National Arboretum and Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens this weekend. The balance between American and Painted Ladies seems restored again, and fresh Red Admirals are on the week.  The few Red-spotted Purples that were reported are all very fresh.  Of the anglewings, only Question Mark was reported this week.  Pearl Crescents are showing another meager brood, at least in the eastern parts of our region.  Surprisingly few Viceroys have been reported this season; none this week.

Better numbers of Eastern Tailed-blues came in this week, while Summer Azures continue to dwindle away.  Red-banded Hairstreaks and Gray Hairstreaks were widely reported, and while White M was not, it’s certainly out there.

Cloudless Sulphur numbers continue to build, and caterpillars were widely reported this week.  Sleepy Orange was widespread, including on the National Mall, this week.  Little Yellow still hasn’t shown anywhere closer than PA.

Notable Nectar:  Lots of nectar sources, little new except the beginning of Liatris blooms that are so attractive to Leonard’s Skippers.  More species of goldenrod are coming on line, early fall asters are also out.  Various bush lespedezas are beginning to bloom and they are powerful magnets for Sachems and other grass skippers.

This weekend looks to be the best of the summer so far for butterfly watching. If you get out and see anything interesting (and there’s a lot of interesting butterflies out there!), let us know here at https://leplog.wordpress.com/ or by posting to Google Groups at MDLepsOdes.

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3 Responses to Mid-Atlantic Butterfly Field Forecast for the Week of 2017 August 26

  1. Jeff Cagle says:

    Seen in western Howard Co today:

    Occola Skipper (pics available)
    Crossline Skipper?
    Silver-Spotted Skipper
    Variegated Frit

    Seen in yard (southern Fred Co) today:

    American Copper
    Clouded Sulfur (or Orange)
    Northern Pearly Eye (pics available)
    Pearl Crescent
    Variegated Frit

  2. Jeff Cagle says:

    Southern Fred Co today:

    Clouded Sulfur

    Red-Banded HS
    ET Blue
    American Copper — fresh! (Pics)

    N Pearly Eye
    Meadow Frit — also fresh (pics)

    Wild Indigo Duskywing
    Peck’s Skipper
    Least Skipper

  3. Jeff Cagle says:

    Seen in NorthEast, MD today:

    E Tiger Swallowtail
    Gray Hairstreak
    American Lady
    Cloudless Sulfur
    Cabbage White

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