Mid-April Butterflies in Howard County
Falcate Orangetips are disappearing with only scattered accounts of single females reported. Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, Eastern Tailed-Blues, Orange and Clouded Sulphurs, and Cabbage Whites are all over with small numbers of Pearl Crescent, American Lady, Gray Hairstreak and Zebra Swallowtail now included. American Copper and Meadow Fritillary were also active in the Woodbine area. Mourning Cloaks and Commas are still being reported in small numbers.
Juniper Hairstreak — Jim Wilkinson spotted HOCO's first Juniper at Gateway Business Park this weekend that can be seen from the mowed area along Sam Morse Drive (also may be found at Mt. Pleasant and Hipsley Mill meadow (beware ticks at this location) Jim also sees Zebra Swallowtails "on John Macadam drive by the stream with the pawpaw trees."
Spring Azures have been reported in the metro MD/VA area by those that can distinguish them from Summer Azures. Unless you have an OUTSTANDING picture of the upper side of an azure (necessary for identifying the species by sending the picture to an expert) we are labeling all azures for the next month as Azure species. After mid-May or so all azures are Summer Azures.
All three species of duskywings — Juvenal's, Horace's, and Wild Indigo — are also in flight. These little males are very aggressive and very busy guarding their space; you may see them chasing other butterflies away and circling your head trying to drive you away. I will be sending separately a "quick guide" for distinguishing these species. Considering how small and flighty they are, if you can get a good look with binoculars or a picture that isn't blurred, determining which is which is not all that hard.
Eastern Pine Elfin (Rockburn, Trinity Cemetery, Hipsley Mill Meadow [beware ticks at this location]), White M Hairstreak, Painted Lady and Silver-spotted Skipper have not been seen yet.
Also, start looking for aphids on beech trees, larval host for the Harvester (Rockburn Branch Park, Wincopin Trails, Morning Choice Trail in PVSP, Hollofield in PVSP are some previous locations).
2017 Howard County Butterfly Survey
We still welcome more participants for the 2017 Howard County Butterfly Survey that "officially" starts in April (even though we've been counting the late February and March sightings). Everyone can participate by using the on-line "Incidental" survey form
Here are 3 ways to participate:
- Send in periodic observations when you are out bird watching, walking your dog, visiting a park, or just working in your yard or garden. Then enter how many you saw of each species on the on-line form. If you don't know the species, try to get a photo (cell phone, camera or whatever device you have is OK) and send it to me for identification.
- We are still looking for more people who would be willing to count butterflies at a single specific park twice a month through September. If you walk through a local park regularly anyway, you could count the butterflies. This would be 12 counts total for the season. If it rains a lot, or you go on vacation and aren't around, it's OK. I survey a number of areas and often only get to some of then once a month. Anything you do is helpful. Email me if you are interested in surveying a park.
- You could also count any butterflies that visit your yard. You do not need to have a "butterfly" garden. If you plant flowers around the yard you will probably have some butterflies passing through. Last year one of my non butterfly friends documented with her cell phone the last Cloudless Sulphur of the season zipping nectar on Encore azaleas in her yard. She did not know what the butterfly was but sent in the picture. Email me if you are interested in surveying your yard.