Questionable Commas

Looks like a comma, doesn’t it? Photo by Chip Krilowicz, Wharton State Forest, BUR, on 3-8-17.

How about now? Same butterfly, same photographer, seconds later.

We have had two reports recently about confusing Polygonia — individuals showing eastern comma patterns on their dorsal side and what looks like a question mark on the ventral. Chip Krilowicz photo’d one and Jack Miller photo’d the other.

Another butterfly that looks like an eastern comma from above, but…

…how about now? Same butterfly, same photog, moments later — Jack Miller, Old Robbins Trail, 2-20-17

Jack Miller passed along info from Pat & Clay Sutton about “broken” punctuation marks they had noticed themselves on Polygonia comma. The possibility of that pattern was news to me and enabled me to track down an interesting note on Bug Guide from David Ferguson analyzing two photos very similar to Chip’s and Jack’s taken in Iowa in September 2008. Ferguson notes, “The comma mark is confusing, because it is broken, but this is not a rare occurence in [eastern comma, Polygonia comma] — just not common either. It is normally broken in the Question Mark, but not always. So, it’s more of a useful rule of thumb than absolute rule.”

For the photos and Ferguson’s full comment go here:

Odd Ventral Pattern on Eastern Comma

Any observers out there with photos of the reverse situation that Ferguson hints at: a questionmark with a comma-like pattern below? Seems like an interesting challenge for anyone looking to sharpen their anglewing chasing skills.

And if you have no luck there, there is at least one more confusing possibility you might search for. Cech & Tudor note in their Butterflies of the East Coast that some eastern commas show a questionmark-like dash on their top-side.

And let’s try not to think about the possibility of an eastern comma with the broken mark below and the extra dash above!

Jack Connor

Posted in ID Challenges & Tips, Nymphalids | Comments Off on Questionable Commas

Early and Late Dates, Each Year, 2008-2016

The spreadsheet at the first link below lists each year’s early and late dates for all 106 butterfly species we have found so far in South Jersey, 2008-2016.

The extreme dates are in color:

Green = earliest date we have recorded so far.
Orange = latest date we have recorded so far.
When dates are duplicated year to year (= a tie), both dates are highlighted.

Blue = first reports of a species that are problematic.  (See “A Problem With January Reports” below).

Hit the + sign for easier viewing of the pdf.

Early & Late Dates All Species All Years (corrected Jan 24 2017)

(Thanks to Steve Glynn and Tom Bailey for some corrections to the original post of the spreadsheet. I welcome any others found by other readers.)

Keep at it, everyone.   We have already recorded two species for 2017: orange sulphur and monarch.  Which species will be our 3rd?

Jack Connor

Some notes for especially-interested readers:

Two Changes In The Complete List

One species has been added to our full set:  Hobomok skipper, photographed on May 15, 2010 and added retrospectively.

A New Species for Southern NJ

Southern broken-dash has been added as a hypothetical species (in italics), based on a photograph from Forsythe NWR, ATL, on 7-26-16 (and a couple of other suggestive photos from CMY).

Southern Broken-Dash, A Species To Look For?

A Problem With January Reports

January sightings can be awkward to handle on this chart — with December 31 and January 1 artificially separating “last” and “first” butterflies reported. During warm winters late-flying individuals of some species can live past the New Year. Orange sulphurs are perhaps the most difficult to assess. We could find an orange sulphur on December 31 somewhere and consider it tying our latest-ever record, and find the same individual the next day and record it as the earliest-ever. That is somewhat misleading. Most (all?) are worn and apparently on their last legs. The species usually does not eclose until late March or April in our area. However, according to Art Shapiro (fide Gochfeld and Burger), they occasionally emerge in mid-winter when temperatures are 60+ degrees.

Monarchs also sometimes survive until January — but these individuals are flying too late to reach Mexico and are almost certainly doomed to expire before spring. Calling a monarch seen in January our first of year is clearly misleading, so these are not colored green.

On the other hand, some species frequently over-winter as adults (mourning cloak is the best example, but red admiral, American lady, common buckeye, American snout and one or two others perhaps also live through the winter as adults.) The emergence of these over-winterers in January seems a different kind of phenomenon than the late-flying sulphur or monarch. They are not necessarily on their last legs — and could very well return to their hiding places (or find new ones) and survive to spring and breed then.  These are colored green.

The December 2015 and January 2016 Blueberry Azures:

Even more problematic for our chart are the blueberry azures that emerged in CMY in December 2015 and January 2016. These were all fresh individuals, apparently very recently-emerged. According to David Wright, this species had never been recorded in NJ in either month. One could argue that those December individuals breaking diapause in mid-winter are new early records for our log. In other words, butterflies of 2015 should be considered the first of 2016. That is awkward, however.  Also, they were almost certainly doomed, as were those azures that apparently emerged in early January 2016.  It is almost certain that all expired as more normal winter weather set in during mid-January.

Since the January individuals emerged in 2016, I have decided to call them earliest-ever, following the weak logic that they did emerge in the calendar year.  Anyone with a better way to handle this freakish phenomenon is invited to write to me or Leave a Comment below.

jc

Posted in Compilations, Early Dates, First Emergences, Late Dates | Comments Off on Early and Late Dates, Each Year, 2008-2016

Not A Census; A Survey By Snapshots

American snout is seldom found over-wintering in NJ, but we have already had five reports, including our FOY found by Jim Dowdell on Bucks Avenue in Goshen (CMY) on Feb 29.

American snout has seldom been discovered over-wintering in New Jersey. In 2016, however, we had five reports in February and March from three different sites in Cape May County.  Jim Dowdell documented the first with this photo taken on Bucks Avenue in Goshen on Feb 29.

Thanks again to Jack Miller for his many hours of work compiling all our reports for both 2015 and 2016, his species-by-species analysis, and for his notes about his difficulties assembling his 2016 Compilation.

He points to a genuine problem, one that seems worth recognizing as we begin the new 10th year of the South Jersey Butterfly Project.  Our use of Common, Abundant, and Superabundant and the complexities created by observers reporting from the same spots on multiple days mean that our totals of individuals contain both under-counts and over-counts.

The murkiness of individual numbers goes back to our first year, 2008, with the original Google docs spreadsheet — i.e. it is not a consequence of our adoption of the David Reese system in September 2015.

Because observers have always gone wherever they choose (in the southern eight counties), re-visited sites as often as they like, and estimated numbers following their own personal methodologies, our counts of individual numbers often do not add up accurately.

Does anyone have an answer to that problem?  Or do we have to live with it?

My personal sense is that we have to live with it, but I’d be very interested in hearing from anyone with a work-around — as long as it does not discourage observers and so lead to fewer reports.

The NABA July 4th Butterfly Counts – modeled on the Christmas Bird Counts – follow a restricted methodology that does lead to censuses.  Teams organize for a single, 8- or 9-hour effort on one day of the year, and stay within demarcated sub-territories of the larger count circle.  Each team stops at scattered spots inside their sub-territories; each of these spots is surveyed once; each team agrees on the numbers seen in the spots they have chosen to visit and in the sub-territory overall; the compiler collects, totals and reports the numbers from all teams and sub-territories; and the survey is complete.  “Common,” “Abundant,’ and “Super-Abundant” are not permitted.  Teams are told not to count in other teams’ areas, and the observers do not repeat the count until the next year.  (Any observers returning to the same spots the next day or the next week to try to add to the totals found on the original count day would be ignored, if not laughed at.)

There are well-known problems with that NABA July 4th methodology:  species that fly only in spring and fall are missed; excessive heat, high winds and other weather extremes that happen to occur on that once-a-year-date can be significant factors; the limited number of volunteers for most counts means many areas within each circle are left un-visited; and perhaps most importantly, the very few and widely-scattered areas where NABA counters are able to organize their efforts and draw their circles leave most of any state’s landscape entirely un-surveyed.

Still, because July 4th teams follow standard protocols, and the counts are repeated in the same areas year after year, the NABA counts come closer to being accurate censuses of individuals than our sightings log does.

In its current design, our log is more like a collection of “snap-shots” of butterfly numbers than an overall census.  It’s a less formal survey.

If three observers go to Cape May Point’s Triangle Garden on the same day and one reports one long-tailed skipper to our log, another reports three long-tails, and a third reports four, a log reader should not conclude that a total of eight long-tailed skippers have visited the garden that day.  A more accurate understanding is, “Long-tailed skipper can currently be found fairly easily at Cape May Point.  You may even find four individuals in the Triangle  Garden in a single stop there.”

Similarly, when I post three times in a week from our yard listing twenty sachems for one day, ten for another, and thirty for a third day, a log reader should not conclude that sixty different sachems have appeared here.  The best you might conclude is something like, “Sachems are present in double-digit numbers, ranging between ten and thirty per day, in one small spot in Atlantic County this week.”

I think we can defend our system, however.  Our Sightings Log may not be an accurate census of butterfly numbers, but we cover a many-times-larger area than covered by the NABA Counts of South Jersey (or any other butterfly census in South Jersey) and we are active all twelve months of the year — and collect data on hundreds of days each year.

Our informal methods and year-round persistence – and our growing numbers of participant observers – have enabled us to document much about the butterfly life of South Jersey that you would be hard pressed to find in the results on any carefully-controlled censuses.

Admittedly, there are some tricks to interpreting our log’s information.  You must read between the lines a little.  Most of us, for example, probably pay more attention to the number of reports of a species by different observers — especially if they come from different sites — than to the simple sum of individuals of that species reported by all observers from all sites.  In other words, three reports of a total of eight long-tailed skippers from three different observers in three different sites in South Jersey on the same day tell you more than three reports for the same total on the same date from the Triangle Garden.  Three reports of double-digit sachems from three widely-scattered butterfly gardens are more meaningful than an apparent total of sixty sachems from one garden over three days.

There are other tricks as well, Once you get a feel for our log, however, you can find answers to questions such as:

  • Which species fly most commonly not just in July but in each month of the year, including the seldom-studied months of November, December, January, February, and March?
  • What are the relative abundance of species within various groups in South Jersey?  Which is the most common elfin?  Which is the rarest of the five? Which is the most common of our five Satyrium? Which is the rarest? Which has been the more common Polygonia this year?  Was the other one the more common species last year?
  • How do the South Jersey ranges of closely-related species differ?  For example,  how does the South Jersey range of viceroy contrast with its fellow Limenitis, the red-spotted purple? Or, how do the ranges of the three Polites — Peck’s, tawny-edged, and crossline skippers — compare? Or, the ranges of our old four and now five Poanes skippers:  mulberrry wing, zabulon, Aaron’s, broad-winged, and our newly added Hobomok?
  • How does seasonality differ among close relatives?  What’s the story, for example, with our three most numerous Celastrina species  — blueberry azure, holly azure, and summer azure?  How can time of year be used to help separate those three close look-alikes?  How about Juvenal’s and Horace’s duskywings?  How can time of year help separate those two? And how reliable is that difference?
  • When are the very best two-week windows of the year to search for Pine Barrens specialties  such as sleepy duskywing, hoary elfin, bog copper, dotted skipper, and two-spotted skipper?
  • What about those hard-to-pin-down “North Jersey species” such as pipevine swallowtail, harvester, and great spangled fritillary?  When and where can I search for them on the Coastal Plain?
  • Which species have two and three broods in South Jersey and when should each brood be expected?  When, for example, does the second brood of white-m hairstreak usually appear, or the second and third broods of bronze copper?
  • How have the numbers of southern wanderers – cloudless sulphur, little yellow, long-tailed skipper, Ocola skipper, et al — changed over the past decade?
  • Which species seem to be most troubled on NJ’s Coastal Plain? Have any species apparently disappeared from the southern half of the state in the last decade?
  • Which species seem to be increasing here?

Additions, counter-points, and other comments are welcome.  Especially if you have a solution to the over-count/under-count problem, please let us hear from you.

Jack Connor

Perhaps the find of the month? Our first and so far only harvester photo'd by Jennifer Bulava on 5-10-16, a record early date, at a new site for the species, Boundary Creek, Moorestown, BUR.

Our first harvester for 2016, photo’d by Jennifer Bulava on 5-10-16, a record early date, at a new site for the species in South Jersey:    Boundary Creek, Moorestown, BUR.

Will Kerling documented our last frosted elfin (and the last of all single-brooded spring species) at Lizard Tail Swamp Preserve, CMY, on June 4.

Generally, pine elfin and frosted elfins are the latest-flying elfins in South Jersey. In 2016 Will Kerling documented our last, a frosted (and the last of all single-brooded spring species this year) at Lizard Tail Swamp Preserve, CMY, on June 4.

Salem County is our "hot spot" for great spangled fritillary, as documented by Sandra Keller with this photo taken in Marilyn Patterson's garden on June 25.

Salem County has proven to be our best South Jersey county for great spangled fritillary over the years. This one was reported by Sandra Keller in Marilyn Patterson’s garden on 6-25-16.

A broken dash, sp? Dolores Amesbury photo'd this skipper in her garden in CMCH on July 21. Is it the expected norther b-d? Or do you detect some puzzling reddish tones?

A broken dash, sp? Dolores Amesbury photo’d this skipper in her garden in CMCH on 7-21-16. Is it the expected norther b-d? Or do you detect some puzzling reddish tones?

Our rare skipper reports spanned exactly one month, from July 1 to August 1, when Tom Bailey found this one at in Elsinboro, SAL.

As usual, the rare skipper flight was mostly a July phenomenon in 2016. In fact, this year our reports of the species spanned exactly one month — from July 1 to August 1, when Tom Bailey found our last one in Elsinboro, SAL.

Ocola skipper has become a more reliable "wrong way migrant" over the years of our log, and 2016 was a particularly good year for the species here. Chris Herz documented this one in her garden in Audubon, CAM, on September 6.

Ocola skipper seems to have become a more reliable “wrong-way” southern migrant over the years of our log, and 2016 was a particularly good year for the species here. Chris Herz documented this one in her garden in Audubon, CAM, on September 6.

This red-spotted purple, photo'd by Dave Amadio in Mantua, GLO, on 9-25-16 shows faint white marks -- a pattern we have documented on a handful of rsp's over the years. We have yet to record a white admiral in South Jersey, however, so it seems this marks more likely reflect genetic variation in rsp's than hybrid ancestry.

This red-spotted purple, photo’d by Dave Amadio in Mantua, GLO, on 9-25-16 shows faint white marks — a pattern we have documented on a handful of rsp’s over the years. We have yet to record a white admiral in South Jersey, however, so it seems these marks more likely reflect genetic variation in rsp’s than hybrid ancestry.

This female checkered white Beth Polvino found in her garden in CMY on 10-29-16 was only the second we have recorded in the county, 2008-2016. It was also our last reported in South Jersey for the year.

Over the years of our project (2008-2016) checkered white has proven to be far more numerous in our western counties than in our eastern. This female checkered white Beth Polvino found in her garden on Oct 29 in Cape May County  was only the second we have recorded in that county. (And we have yet to find the species in Atlantic or Ocean Counties.) 

 

Posted in Compilations, Looking At Our Data, NABA Counts | 1 Comment

Full-Year Compilation for 2016

This dusted skipper found and photo'd by Jack Miller on 5-18-16 near Shaw's Mill Road, CUM, was our FOY for 2016.

This dusted skipper found and photo’d by Jack Miller on 5-18-16 near Shaw’s Mill Road, CUM, was our FOY for 2016.

Jack Miller has done it again. Following up on his compilation for 2015, here is his full-year compilation of species, reports, and individuals as posted on our Sightings Log, January-December, 2016.  He worked on this through the fall (while he was also working on the 2015 compilation) and completed it in the first couple of days in the New Year.

Thank you, JM!

Here’s his report:

 

About the 2016 Compilation:

In 2016, the log recorded 91 species for 78,133 butterflies in 3184 reports.  In simple terms, this means there will not be a recount despite the likelihood that some mistakes have been made while compiling this massive amount of data.  Please report any significant errors you might discover.

There were 13 species that recorded new FOY’s and 25 species that either tied or set new LOY’s.  Three species — gray hairstreak, viceroy, and southern cloudywing — set both new FOY’s and new LOY’s.

This compilation does not include reports designated as “species” such as “anglewing species” or “azure species.”

Thousands of butterflies were left out of the compilation as there was no uniform way to include the approximately 150 reports of “C, A or S” (common, abundant, or superabundant).  Due to this, a few species like cabbage white, orange sulphur, eastern-tailed blue, buckeye, sachem, and broad-winged skipper are under-reported by many thousands, especially during their peak times of appearance.  On the other hand, some species are significantly over-reported.  It appears that there are three main factors  that can create a situation for over-reporting:

1) some species may only be found in one or a few places and the same bugs get counted numerous times over a short flight period (notably little yellow, sleepy orange, bronze copper, hoary elfin, meadow fritillary, mulberry wing, and Dion skipper);

2) some species appear in reporters’ gardens and the same bug gets reported many times over the course of its stay (notably Hayhurst’s scallopwing, banded hairstreak, painted lady, red-spotted purple, and tawny emperor);

3) lastly, some species may be found in a spot that is especially frequented by enthusiasts who are logging (notably Appalachian brown, Peck’s skipper, and northern broken-dash).

This compilation does not necessarily pretend to present “good” science, although much valuable information is present that in the hands of researchers could be of much value.  The article “Climate-driven Changes in Northeastern US Butterfly Communities by Breed, Stichter and Crone states the following: Natural history observations by amateurs have the potential to document the distribution and abundance of species in places where systematically collected monitoring data do not exist.

Please enjoy this compilation and let it be an inspiration to stimulate thinking, questioning, and an urge to get outside.

Jack Miller

  • pipevine swallowtail: Extreme dates  6/13- 9/25.   Total reports/individuals: 6/8.  ATL, SAL, CMY in June- Sept.
  • zebra swallowtail: No reports.
  • black swallowtail: Extreme dates  4/14- 10/30.  Total reports/individuals: 406/911.  Peak count: 8/31- 35 Forsythe ATL.
  • giant swallowtail: Extreme dates   8/14- 8/19.  Total reports/individuals:   2/2.  GLO and CAM.
  • tiger swallowtail: Extreme dates  3/31– 10/6 (NEW FOY). Total reports/individuals: 814/1770.  Peak count:  7/20-35 at Beaver Swamp CMY.
  • spicebush swallowtail: Extreme dates   4/17- 10/8.  Total reports/individuals: 750/2186.  Peak counts:  319/1126 in August.  8/29- 50 at MacNamara WMA CMY; 9/6- 47 at MacNamara WMA.
  • Palamedes swallowtail: No reports.
  • checkered white: Extreme dates  6/14– 10/29 (NEW FOY).  Total reports/individuals: 14/108.  One report from each of SAL and CMY, all the rest from CUM.  Peak count:  7/21- 67 CUM.
  • cabbage white: Extreme dates  3/9- 11/28.  Total reports/individuals:   1804/10,415.   Peak count:  7/16- 1020 at Palmyra Cove BUR.
  • falcate orangetip: Extreme dates  3/28- 5/12.   Total reports/individuals:   73/213.  Only second time in log history recorded in March (found in 9 locations between 3/31 and 4/1).
  • clouded sulphur: Extreme dates  1/3 – 12/22 (NEW FOY).  Total reports/individuals:  245/459.  Reported in all months but February.
  • orange Sulphur: Extreme dates: 1/2 – 12/31 (TIES LOY).  Total reports/individuals: 982/3925.  The log’s longest current streak at 21 months.  Tied LOY for second consecutive year.
  • cloudless sulphur: Extreme dates:  7/22- 12/1. Total reports/individuals:  452/1531.  77/184 in 2015.  Ever present throughout SJ after July.  Peak count:  10/3 -39 at CM St Park.
  • little yellow: Extreme dates  8/3- 11/11 (NEW LOY) .   Total reports/individuals:  56/461.  Big year for little yellow!  1 report from each of CAM, CUM, and ATL; all others from CMY. Peak count:  8/11- 29 and 10/3- 27 at Cape May ST PK, and 9/4-35 Freidrieckstadt Ave Woodbine CMY.
  • sleepy orange: Extreme dates 8/18- 12/1 (NEW LOY).  Total reports/individuals:  10/18.  All reports from 2 occurrences at Dix WMA CUM except for 12/1 report from Wheelabrator GLO.
  • harvester: Extreme dates  5/10- 9/4 (new FOY).  Total reports/individuals:   6/9.  Three new BUR sites.
  • American copper: Extreme dates 4/8- 11/2.  Total reports/individuals: 171/570. Peak count:   8/22-46 at Nabb Rd CUM.
  • bronze copper: Extreme dates 5/23- 11/3.  Total reports/individuals: 26/125.  Except for two CUM reports, all reports from SAL.  Peak counts:  7/10-17 and 7/16-21 SAL.
  • bog copper: Extreme dates  6/6- 6/26.  Total reports/individuals: 8/108.  Five sites in BUR, OCN, CMY, and ATL.
  • coral hairstreak: Extreme dates 6/13- 7/14 (NEW LOY).  Total reports/individuals: 29/111.  Reported in all but CAM.  Peak count:  6/26-18 at Riverwinds GLO.
  • Edwards hairstreak: Extreme dates-   6/26.   Total reports/individuals: 1/1. Lone individual in ATL.  Hesstown powerlines were clear-cut during the 2015-16 winter.
  • banded hairstreak: Extreme dates  6/7- 7/24.  Total reports/individuals: 45/99.  Peak count: From June 20 to July 24, 34/82 from one CMY garden with an individual peak of 3 on numerous occasions.
  • striped hairstreak: Extreme dates  6/25- 7/27. Total reports/individuals: 9/20.  Found in OCN, BUR, and CMY (15/20).  Peak count:   7/4-5 near Lizard Tail CMY.
  • oak hairstreak: No reports.
  • brown elfin: Extreme dates  3/31- 5/23. Total reports/individuals: 30/90.  Seen in CAM, BUR, CMY, OCN and CUM. Peak count:  4/25-20 near Estell Manor Rd CUM.
  • hoary elfin: Extreme dates  4/14- 5/20. Total reports/individuals:  8/76. Only in Warren Grove.
  • frosted elfin: Extreme dates 3/31-6/4. Total reports/individuals:  15/78. Only in CMY.  Our only 4 month elfin 2016. Peak count:  5/8-24 at Lizard Tail CMY.
  • Henry’s elfin: Extreme dates  3/17- 5/26 (ties LOY).  Total reports/individuals: 92/420.    Peak count:  4/1- 43 at Glassboro Woods GLO.
  • pine elfin: Extreme dates 3/24- 5/25. Total reports/individuals:  53/95.  Peak count:  4/22-18 at Rt 555 in CUM.
  • juniper hairstreak: Extreme dates  4/13- 8/11. Total reports/individuals:  34/68.  Reported in April, July and Aug.
  • Hessel’s hairstreak: Extreme dates  4/25- 5/12.  Total reports/individuals: 5/8.  Three sites.  Only 2013 logged fewer.
  • white-m hairstreak: Extreme dates  3/31- 11/8. Total reports/individuals:  55/86. Peak count:   9/25- 10 at Estell Manor ATL.  Reported in March, April, July, August, September, October, and November.
  • gray hairstreak: Extreme dates  3/23-11/19 (NEW FOY) (NEW LOY). Total reports/individuals: 463/1032.    Peak count:  9/22- 64 at Lizard Tail CMY.  169/589 in September.  Broke FOY for second consecutive year.
  • red-banded hairstreak: Extreme dates 4/21- 11/13 (TIES LOY).  Total reports/individuals: 358/860.    Peak count:  8/29-51 at MacNamara CMY.
  • eastern tailed-blue: Extreme dates 3/17- 11/16 (NEW FOY) . Total reports/individuals: 982/3511.   Peak count:  8/22- 183 at Nabb Rd CUM.
  • blueberry azure: Extreme dates  1/10-4/25 (NEW FOY). Total reports/individuals: 93/982.   Peak count:  3/18-81 at Black Run Pres. BUR.
  • holly azure: Extreme dates 4/1- 5/25. Total reports/individuals: 65/551.  Peak count:  5/8- 44 at Lizard Tail CMY.
  • Edward’s azure: No reports.
  • summer azure: Extreme dates 5/20- 10/19. Total reports/individuals: 255/375.  71/77 in July demonstrates the low density of this species in SJ.
  • American snout: Extreme dates 2/29- 11/30 (NEW LOY). Total reports/individuals: 101/191. 22/26 in 2015.   Reported every month but January and December.  Peak count:  9/10 – 13 at Back Neck Rd CUM.
  • Gulf fritillary: No reports.
  • variegated fritillary: Extreme dates 4/26- 12/1. Total reports/individuals:  415/982. 106/385 in 2015.  Peak count: 7/10 – 21 SAL.  Second year in a row with December reports.
  • great spangled fritillary: Extreme dates 6/7– 8/11 (NEW FOY) . Total reports/individuals: 10/24.  Found in BUR, ATL, SAL, GLO, OCN. Peak count:  8/11- 6 at Burden Hill Preserve SAL.
  • meadow fritillary: Extreme dates 6/4– 9/12 (NEW FOY).  Total reports/individuals: 12/31.  Only SAL.  Peak count:  7/10-8 at Supawna SAL.  Second consecutive year with new FOY.
  • pearl crescent: Extreme dates 4/15- 11/18. Total reports/individuals: 654/2610. Peak count: 149/749 in September.
  • question mark: Extreme dates 2/28- 11/27. Total reports/individuals: 178/287. 47/70 in 2015.  May (32 reports) and September (58 reports) best months.
  • eastern comma: Extreme dates 2/21- 11/24. Total reports/individuals:  181/323.  84/198 in 2015.  Second year in a row reported in December.  Over 160 individuals reported from two spots: Palmyra Cove and Wheelabrator.
  • mourning cloak: Extreme dates 2/1- 10/11. Total reports/individuals: 146/231.  Peak count:  3/8- 15 at Belleplain SF CMY.
  • American lady: Extreme dates 3/23- 11/19. Total reports/individuals: 694/1601. Peak count:   5/8- 47 at Lizard Tail CMY.
  • painted lady:  Extreme dates 5/9-11/17. Total reports/individuals: 24/27. All reports but 2 from CMY (1 CUM, 1 ATL).
  • red admiral: Extreme dates 1/9- 12/2. Total reports/individuals: 486/993.  Reported every month but February (and was reported on 3/1!).
  • common buckeye: Extreme dates 1/2- 12/3 (NEW FOY). Total reports/individuals:  10/84/8426.  Peak count: 303/3923 in October.
  • red-spotted purple: Extreme dates 5/18- 10/29. Total reports/individuals:  366/791. Peak count:  8/31- 42 at CMY site.  252/452 August individuals from one CMY site.
  • viceroy: Extreme dates 4/21-10/29 (NEW FOY; NEW LOY) . Total reports/individuals: 81/175. Peak count:  9/17-15 at Palmyra Cove BUR.  32/89 in September.
  • hackberry emperor: Extreme dates 6/13-9/15. Total reports/individuals: 42/74.   Peak count:  8/19-8 at Wheelabrator GLO.   29/57 in August.
  • tawny emperor: Extreme dates 7/8-9/15. Total reports/individuals: 37/95.  Only CMY.  From 7/14- 9/13, 21/71 from one CMY private garden.  All but 6 individuals in private gardens.
  • Appalachian brown: Extreme dates 6/4- 9/15 (NEW LOY). Total reports/individuals: 57/408.  Peak count:  8/11- 113 SAL.   Although widespread, the huge bulk of these were from Lizard Tail CMY, a private garden CMY, and Burden Hill SAL.
  • Georgia satyr: Extreme dates 6/18- 9/2 (NEW LOY).  Total reports/individuals: 4/90. All 4 reports from undesignated BUR site.
  • little wood satyr: Extreme dates 5/18- 8/8. Total reports/individuals: 104/479.
  • common wood nymph: Extreme dates 6/25- 10/6 (NEW LOY. Total reports/individuals: 141/267.  Peak count:   7/3- 39 at Rancocas St PK BUR.
  • Monarch: Extreme dates 1/3- 12/7. Total reports/individuals: 898/3553. In 2015, 412/21 96.  Peak count:  10/3- 263 CM ST PK.
  • long-tailed skipper: Extreme dates 9/12- 11/3 (TIES LOY). Total reports/individuals: 49/65. 4/4 in 2015. Reports from all but GLO, OCN and SAL.
  • silver-spotted skipper: Extreme dates 4/1- 11/2 (NEW LOY). Total reports/individuals: 698/2206.  Peak count:  8/20-  85 CUM.
  • Hoary edge: No reports.
  • southern cloudywing: Extreme dates 4/26- 9/13 (NEW FOY) (NEW LOY). Total reports/individuals: 39/125.  Peak count:  8/12 – Middle Twnshp bike path.  In August, 51/60 specimens from Middle Twnshp bike path CMY.
  • northern cloudywing: Extreme dates 4/17– 7/2 (NEW FOY). Total reports/individuals: 14/23.  Only in CMY, CUM, BUR, and ATL.
  • Hayhurst’s scallopwing: Extreme dates 5/25- 9/22. Total reports/individuals: 31/62.  Peak counts:  7/13- 13 and 8/7- 16 at Dix WMA CUM.  First 13/19 reports recorded from private CMY garden.
  • sleepy duskywing: Extreme dates 4/13- 5/19. Total reports/individuals: 16/77. Peak count:   4/20- 40 at unnamed rd n. and w. of Estell Manor Rd CUM.
  • Juvenal’s duskywing: Extreme dates 3/30- 5/25. Total reports/individuals: 123/672.  Peak count:  4/20- 200 Peaslee WMA CMY.
  • Horace’s duskywing: Extreme dates 4/22- 10/13. Total reports/individuals: 224/447. Peak count:  7/13- 29 CMY.  135/326 in July.
  • wild indigo duskywing: Extreme dates 4/17- 9/26. Total reports/individuals: 67/170.  Peak count:  9/17-29 at Palmyra Cove BUR.  Peaked in mid-September, but then quickly vanished.
  • common checkered skipper: Extreme dates 5/8- 11/8. Total reports/individuals: 109/320.  Peak count:  9/12- 47 SAL.
  • common sootywing: Extreme dates 5/9- 9/23 (NEW LOY). Total reports/individuals: 73/150.  Peak count:  5/26- 10 at Middle Township bike path CMY.  Second consecutive year with new LOY.
  • swarthy skipper: Extreme dates 6/2-10/30 (NEW LOY). Total reports/individuals: 63/107.   38/73 in August.
  • clouded skipper: No reports.
  • least skipper: Extreme dates 5/20-10/30. Total reports/individuals: 268/827.  Numerous 20+ reports from Palmyra Cove BUR.
  • European skipper: Extreme dates 6/5-6/19. Total reports/individuals: 7/82.  Peak count:  6/10 – 34 Buckshutem rd CUM.  Reports from CUM, 5; SAL, 1; and ATL, 1.
  • fiery skipper: Extreme dates 7/11- 11/19. Total reports/individuals: 197/491.   68/192 in 2015.  Peak count:  10/3- 15 at Triangle Garden CM Point CMY.
  • Leonard’s skipper: no reports.
  • cobweb skipper: Extreme dates 4/21-5/14. Total reports/individuals:  6/8.  Only in OCN and CMY.
  • dotted skipper: Extreme dates 6/15- 7/10. Total reports/individuals: 3/9.  Only from Colliers Mills OCN.
  • Peck’s skipper: Extreme dates 5/8- 10/19. Total reports/individuals: 268/934.   Peak count:  9/12- 107 at Silver Lake Rd SAL.  No CMY reports.  Many reports from Estell Manor ATL.
  • tawny-edged skipper: Extreme dates 5/24- 10/14. Total reports/individuals: 87/206.   43/79 in August.
  • crossline skipper: Extreme dates 5/30- 9/20. Total reports/individuals: 70/111.  Peak count:  8/22- 10 from Middle Township bike path CMY.
  • northern broken-dash; Extreme dates 6/10- 9/12 (NEW LOY). Total reports/individuals: 83/246.  11/103 of July’s 60/174 from Estell Manor ATL.
  • [southern broken-dash: Photos from 7/26/16 (Forsythe ATL) strongly suggest this species, according to several out-of-state experts.  It would be a new species for the state of New Jersey.  At least two other photos – from 7/27/17 in Cape May Courthouse CMY and 7/29/16 (Estell Manor ATL) also are at least suggestive of this species.  At the moment this should probably be considered a hypothetical species in our area – and all observers should be on the lookout for suspiciously red broken-dashes next summer.  For more details see the blog for August 1, 2016:  “Southern Broken Dash: A Species To Look For?”]
  • little glassywing: Extreme dates 6/1- 9/8. Total reports/individuals: 83/230.
  • sachem: Extreme dates 4/24- 12/3 Total reports/individuals:  (1087/10,597)   Reported in December for only the second time in log’s history.
  • Arogos skipper: No reports.
  • Delaware skipper: Extreme dates 6/9- 7/23 Total reports/individuals: (37/66)  Peak count:  8/6- 11 at Turkey Pt area CUM.
  • rare skipper: Extreme dates 7/1-8/1. Total reports/individuals: 44/121.  Peak count:   7/10 – 28 near Salem City SAL.  Reports from CMY, 34; SAL, 8; and CUM, 1.
  • mulberry wing: Extreme dates 6/23- 7/17 Total reports/individuals:  13/161.  From 2008- 2013, only near Head of River which divides CMY and ATL.  Added 3 locations in 2016 (2 CMY, 1 CUM).  Spreading?
  • Hobomok skipper: no reports this year, but the species has now been added to our overall list, retrospectively, on the basis of photographs taken by John Maxwell at Rancocas Nature Center on May 15, 2010.  See the blog for more details:  “A New Species For South Jersey,” December 2, 2016.
  • zabulon skipper: Extreme dates 5/12- 10/21 (NEW LOY) (341-958) Peak counst:  6/18- 23; 7/31- 27, both at Palmyra Cove BUR.
  • Aaron’s skipper: Extreme dates 6/3-10/6 (NEW LOY). Total reports/individuals: 107/478. Peak count:  6/7-200 at Heislerville CUM. Last 38/46 reports (not individuals) from private gardens.
  • broad-winged skipper: Extreme dates 6/18- 9/17 Total reports/individuals: (328/3574)  Peak count:  7/23- 240 at CMY site.  186/2467 in August.
  • dion skipper: Extreme dates 7/14-8/20.  (NEW LOY).  Total reports/individuals:  21/171.  Only CMY and CUM (1 report).  Peak count:  8/1 – 30.  8 reports (highest count = 30) from Lizard Tail accounted for 130 individuals.
  • black dash: no reports.
  • two-spotted skipper: Extreme dates 6/30 (NEW LOY)  Total reports/individuals: 1/3.   One report from BUR.
  • dun skipper: Extreme dates  6/4- 10/18 (NEW LOY) Total reports/individuals: 132/255.
  • dusted skipper: Extreme dates 5/18- 6/2 (TIES LOY) Total reports/individuals: 8/11.  Typical two-week flight period again.
  • common roadside skipper: no reports.
  • Brazilian skipper: no reports.
  • salt marsh skipper: Extreme dates 6/9- 10/17 (TIES LOY). Total reports/individuals: 176- 1346.  Peak count:  7/13- 270 at Crest Haven Cemetery CMY.
  • Ocola skipper: Extreme dates 8/27- 11/8 210/528.  Total reports/individuals: 68/253 in 2015.  Peak count:  10/18- 21 at Pavilion Circle CMY.
    One of the most extraordinary finds of our nine years of logging: gray and juniper hairstreaks mating -- photo'd by Steve Glynn near Newfield, CUM, on July 11. What a find!

    One of the most extraordinary finds of our nine years of logging: coral and juniper hairstreaks mating — photo’d by Steve Glynn near Newfield, CUM, on July 11. What a find!

 

 

Posted in Compilations, Early Dates, Late Dates, Looking At Our Data | 2 Comments

Autumn Compilation 2016

We had a very active fall season -– with observers out in force and reporting frequently. In fact, we logged more than twice as many reports for each month than we had for the same months last year (which was our first fall using the David Reese system).

Total Reports for Autumn, 2015 vs. 2016

September 2015: 168
September 2016: 382

October 2015: 177
October 2016: 456

November 2015: 111
November 2016: 265

Total all three months:

2015 = 456
2016 = 1103.

Autumn 2016 Contributors

Thirty-nine observers contributed to the log during the period. Thanks to each of you — and a special welcome and thanks to our newest participants (listed in bold)

Cynthia Allen
Dolores Amesbury
Jesse Amesbury
Dave Amadio
Tom Bailey
Denise Bittle
Jennifer Bulava
Claire Campbell
Kim Conner
Jesse Connor
Jack Connor
Michael Drake
Amy Gaberlein
Steve Glynn
Jean Gutsmuth
Mike Hannisian
Marilyn Henry
Chris Herz
Brian Johnson
Sandra Keller
Will Kerling
Teresa Knipper
Meredith Koenig
Chip Krilowicz
M. Lee
Paul Ludgate
Jack Miller
Shoshana Osofsky
Michael Pasquarello
Beth Polvino
Virginia Rettig
Clay Sutton
Pat Sutton
Michael Stanton
Harvey Tomlinson
Chris Tonkinson
Donna Van Horn
Matt Webster
C. Wyluda

Reported in September

Sixty-two species were reported during September 2016, including three that had not been found in August (meadow fritillary, painted lady, and mourning cloak) and we also recorded our first long-tailed skipper for 2016 — our 91st species (and final FOY) for the year.

pipevine swallowtail (last 9/25)
eastern tiger swallowtail
black swallowtail
spicebush swallowtail
checkered white
cabbage white
orange sulphur
clouded sulphur
cloudless sulphur
little yellow
sleepy orange
harvester (last 9/4)
American copper
bronze copper
white-m hairstreak
gray hairstreak
red-banded hairstreak
eastern tailed-blue
summer azure
American snout
variegated fritillary
meadow fritillary (found 9/2 in SAL, first report since July)
pearl crescent
question mark
eastern comma
mourning cloak (found 9/4 in CMY, first report since July)
painted lady
American lady
red admiral
common buckeye
red-spotted purple
viceroy
tawny emperor (last 9/15)
hackberry emperor (last 9/15)
Appalachian brown (last 9/15)
Georgia satyr (new latest-ever date, 9/2/16)
common wood-nymph
monarch
silver-spotted skipper
long-tailed skipper
southern cloudywing (new latest-ever date 9/13/16)
Hayhurst’s scallopwing (last 9/22)
Horace’s duskywing
wild indigo duskywing (last 9/26)
common checkered-skipper
common sootywing (last 9/23)
least skipper
fiery skipper
Peck’s skipper
swarthy skipper
tawny-edged skipper
northern broken dash (last 9/12)
crossline skipper (last 9/20)
little glassywing (last 9/8)
sachem
Delaware skipper (last 9/23/16, tying latest-ever record)
zabulon skipper
Aaron’s skipper
broad-winged skipper (last 9-16)
dun skipper
salt marsh skipper
Ocola skipper

Dave Amadio found and photo'd our last harvester for the year on 9/14/16 at Chestnut Branch, Mantua, GLO.

Dave Amadio found and photo’d our last harvester for the year on 9-4-16 at Chestnut Branch, Mantua, GLO.

Will Kerling found this Appalachian brown egg on a fern leaf at Lizard Tail Swamp Preserve, CMY, on 9-15-16.

Will Kerling found this egg of an Appalachian brown on a fern frond at Lizard Tail Swamp Preserve, CMY, on 9-5-16.

An American snout, up close and personal, courtesy of Teresa Knipper at Cape May State Park on 9/7.

An American snout, shot up close and personal by Teresa Knipper at Cape May State Park on 9-7-16.

Although we do not count them separately, dark tigers seemed more common than usual this year. Claire Campbell photo'd this one at Rancocas Nature Center, BUR, on 9-8-16.

Although we do not count them separately, dark tigers seemed more common than usual this year, especially in our western counties. Claire Campbell photo’d this one at Rancocas Nature Center, BUR, on 9-8-16.

Mourning cloaks re-emerged in September after being unreported in August. Pat Sutton photo'd this one in her yard in Goshen, CMY,. on 9/10.

Mourning cloaks re-emerged in September after going unreported in August. Pat Sutton photo’d this one in her yard in Goshen, CMY, on 9-10-16.

Chris Herz found a variegated fritillary laying this egg on a violet in her yard in Audubon, CAM, on 9/10.

Chris Herz found a variegated fritillary laying this egg on a violet in her yard in Audubon, CAM, on 9-10-16.

Chip Krilowicz found our last Appalachian brown for the year, at Newfield, CUM, on a new record latest-ever date, 9-15-16.

Chip Krilowicz found our last Appalachian brown for the year, at Willow Grove Lake in Newfield, CUM, on a new record latest-ever date, 9-15-16.

Dolores Amesbury photo'd this Hayhurst scallopwing in her yard on 9/22 -- one of only two found during the month.

Dolores Amesbury photo’d this Hayhurst scallopwing — the last we recorded in 2016 — in her yard in Cape May Courthouse on 9-22-16.

Tom Bailey managed to capture nine orange sulphurs in a single shot at Palmyra Cove, BUR, on 9/25.

Tom Bailey managed to capture nine orange sulphurs in a single shot at Palmyra Cove, BUR, on 9-25-16.

Virginia Rettig captured this cloudless sulphur eclosing in her yard in CMY on 9-27-16.

Virginia Rettig found this cloudless sulphur eclosing in her yard in Cape May on 9-27-16. How long have cloudless sulphurs been breeding in NJ? And are they limited (so far) to CMY County?

Reported in October

Forty-six species were reported in the adult stage during October 2016. Interesting: 2016 marked the third year in a row where our total reports in October outnumbered our total reports for September. This year the difference was especially noticeable: 456 in October, 382 in September. As the warblers leave us heading south, do more eyes turn to butterflies?

eastern tiger swallowtail (last adult 10/15; ties latest-ever date)
black swallowtail (last adult 10/30)
spicebush swallowtail (last 10-6)
checkered white (last 10/29)
cabbage white
orange sulphur
clouded sulphur
cloudless sulphur
little yellow
sleepy orange
American copper
bronze copper
white-m hairstreak
gray hairstreak
red-banded hairstreak
eastern tailed-blue
summer azure (last 10/19)
American snout
variegated fritillary
pearl crescent
question mark
eastern comma
mourning cloak (last 10/11)
painted lady
American lady
red admiral
common buckeye
red-spotted purple
viceroy (new latest-ever date: 10/29/16)
common wood-nymph (new latest-ever date: 10/6/16)
monarch
silver-spotted skipper
long-tailed skipper
Horace’s duskywing (last 10/13/16)
common checkered-skipper
least skipper (last 10/30)
fiery skipper
Peck’s skipper (last 10/19)
swarthy skipper (new latest-ever report 10/30/16)
tawny-edged skipper (last 10/14)
sachem
zabulon skipper (last 10/21)
Aaron’s skipper (new latest-ever report, 10/6/16)
dun skipper (new latest-ever, 10/18/16)
salt marsh skipper (ties latest-ever, 10/17/16)
Ocola skipper

Virginia Rettig followed up her cloudless shot above with a find of an American snout chrysalis in her yard in CMY in early October.

Virginia Rettig followed up her cloudless shot above with a find of an American snout chrysalis in her yard in CMY in early October.

It was a good year for common checkered-skipper with many reports. Sandra Keller and Marilyn Henry found this one at the National Park Dredge Spoils in GLO on 10-3-16.

It was a good year for common checkered-skipper. Sandra Keller and Marilyn Henry found this one at the National Park Dredge Spoils in GLO on 10-3-16.

It was an excellent year for long-tailed skipper. Will Kerling found this one at the Triangle Garden, Cape May Point, on 10-3-16.

It was an excellent year for long-tailed skipper. Will Kerling found this one at the Triangle Garden, Cape May Point, on 10-3-16.

Where do butterflies go at night? Jack Miller found the answer for at least one cloudless sulphur in his garden in Petersburg, CMY, on 10-12-16.

Where do butterflies go at night? Jack Miller found the answer for at least one cloudless sulphur was “Under black cherry leaves” — in his garden in Petersburg, CMY, on 10-12-16.

Adult tigers are easy to see, but how many of us have managed to photo one of their caterpillars? Pat Sutton managed the trick in her garden in Goshen, CMY, on 10-19-16.

Adult tiger swallowtails are generally easy to see, but how many of us have managed to photo one of their caterpillars? Pat Sutton managed the trick in her garden in Goshen, CMY, on 10-19-16.

This female checkered white Beth Polvino found in her garden in CMY on 10-29-16 was only the second we have recorded in the county, 2008-2016. It was also our last reported in South Jersey for the year.

This female checkered white Beth Polvino found in her garden in CMY on 10-29-16 was only the second we have recorded in the county in the nine years of our project, 2008-2016. It was also the last reported in South Jersey for the year.

Reported in November

As always, species diversity declined rapidly in November, especially through the first ten-fifteen days. Nevertheless, we found 28 species during the month.

cabbage white (last report on 11/28; more coming in December?)
orange sulphur (into December)
clouded sulphur (into December)
cloudless sulphur (into December)
little yellow (last 11/11)
** (sleepy orange missed in November but found in December!)
American copper (last 11/2)
bronze copper (last 11/3)
white-m hairstreak (last 11/8)
gray hairstreak (new latest ever, 11-19-16)
red-banded hairstreak (last 11/13)
eastern tailed-blue (last 11/16)
American snout (last and only report a fly-by on 11/30)
variegated fritillary (into December)
pearl crescent (last 11/18)
question mark (last 11/27; more to come in December?)
eastern comma (into December)
painted lady (last 11/17)
American lady (last 11/19)
red admiral (into December)
common buckeye (into December)
monarch (into December)
silver-spotted skipper (new latest-ever record 11/2/16)
long-tailed skipper (last 11/3)
common checkered-skipper (last 11/8)
fiery skipper (last 11/19)
sachem (into December)
Ocola skipper (last 11/8)

Steve Glynn monitored the bronze copper colonies in SAL. This one was the final individual for 2016, found on 11-2-16.

Steve Glynn monitored the bronze copper colonies in SAL throughout the year. This one was his (and our) final individual for 2016, found on 11-2-16.

Meredith Koenig recommended her butterfly-watching chair seen here in her East Vineland, CUM, garden on 11/10/16.

Meredith Koenig recommended her butterfly-watching chair seen here in her East Vineland, CUM, garden on 11/10/16.

Steve Glynn established a new latest-date ever for little yellow by finding this individual at Dix WMA, CUM, on 11-11-16.

Steve Glynn established a new latest-date ever for little yellow by finding this individual at Dix WMA, CUM, on 11-11-16.

A monarch eclosing photo'd by Dave Amadio in his garden in West Deptford, GLO, on 11-19-16.

A monarch eclosing photo’d by Dave Amadio in his garden in West Deptford, GLO, on 11-19-16.

It was an excellent summer and fall for fiery skippers, with sightings from July 11 to November 18. Beth Polvino found this female in her garden in North Cape May on 11/

It was an excellent summer and fall for fiery skippers, with sightings for more than four months, from July 11 to November 18. Beth Polvino found this female in her garden in North Cape May on 11/7/16.

As of the 5th of the month, we have recorded 10 species for December, including this red admiral photo'd by Harvey Tomlinson in his garden in CMY on 12/1/16.

As of the 5th of the month, we have recorded 10 species for December, including this red admiral photo’d by Harvey Tomlinson in his garden in CMY on 12/1/16.

Steve Glynn led regular treks in pursuit of sleepy oranges at Dix WMA, CUM, but weeks later Chip Krilowicz and Jean Gutsmuth found one in "winter form" at Wheelabrator Refuge, GLO, on 12-1-16 -- a new latest-date ever for our project.

We had a number of reports of sleepy oranges (led by Steve Glynn) at Dix WMA, CUM, through October — then weeks later (and fifty miles away) Chip Krilowicz and Jean Gutsmuth found one in “winter form” at Wheelabrator Refuge on 12-1-16 — a very rare find in GLO and a new latest-date ever for our project.

Looking Ahead To Winter

December 2015 was the warmest on record, and odds are that we will not see the number of late finds this December that we had last year. However, we have already recorded Chip and Jean’s mind-bender above and we are already nearing a dozen species for the month, so who can say what is coming?

Keep an eye out, everyone!
Jack Connor

Posted in Compilations, Eggs, Cats, Chrysalids, Late Dates | 3 Comments

A New Butterfly For South Jersey

johnmaxwellhobomok051010rancocasb

A Poanes skipper photo’d one May day a few years ago by John Maxwell at Rancocas Nature Center. Looks like a zabulon perched in that familiar, territorial style….or does it?

Exciting news!  We can add a 106th butterfly to our list of documented species since our log began in 2008: Hobomok skipper, Poanes hobomok, found and photo’d by John Maxwell at Rancocas Nature Center on May 15, 2010.

The sighting emerged in retrospect, thanks to Steve Mason who came upon John’s photograph on Bug Guide and contacted him.

It’s a first for our project and may be the first report ever for the state of that species on the Coastal Plain. Gochfeld and Burger in their Butterflies of New Jersey (1997) list no records for the Coastal Plain in their compendium of records from various sources; and until the report emerged this November, Jim Springer’s map on North Jersey NABA’s New Jersey Butterflies website showed all our southern counties blank for Hobomok.

Jim quickly updated the map to include Maxwell’s Burlington County record:

Hobomok Skipper Records on North Jersey NABA’s New Jersey Butterflies Site

There may be records somewhere not so easily available, of course, but even if so, Hobomok skipper is, at best, very rare in southern NJ.

John Maxwell remembers the find:

“We were at the Rancocas Nature Center for a weekend program, I think a tree ID class led by Karl Anderson. The center maintains the meadow out in the woods and mows sections once in a while to keep it from growing over back to woods. That’s where I found the skipper — just sitting there for at least a minute on a young sweetgum a few feet off the ground. I’m not sure if it was sunning itself or if [it had taken up] a territorial viewpoint. The sweetgum trees sprout along the path (one of the reasons the meadow needs to be cut back regularly). This one was surrounded by ‘Panic Grass’ which is very common there.”

Hobomok’s closest look-alike in our area is zabulon skipper, whose males also like to perch on leaves in the sun.

Remember to take closer looks at those zabs next May, everyone!

jc

johnmaxwellhobomok051010rancocasa

Thanks to John Maxwell for passing along these and other photos of his find.

Posted in Looking At Our Data, Skippers | 2 Comments

2015 Full-Year Compilation: Cold Start, Hot End

This gray hairstreak, photographed by Jack Miller at Heislerville, CUM, on 11-16-15 established a new latest-ever date for our log. Could we possibly find another this December?

This gray hairstreak, photographed by Jack Miller at Heislerville, CUM, on 11-16 established a latest-ever record for our Project’s log. It was one of twelve latest-ever records found in 2015.

Jack Miller took on the much-harder-than-it-looks task of compiling our records for the full year of 2015. Thanks to his many hours of work we now have two new spreadsheets documenting that interesting year.

This one focuses in detail on 2015 by itself. All compilation and notes are by Jack Miller:

South Jersey Butterfly Project 2015

This one incorporates the new 2015 data into our records for all previous years of our Project’s log:

Early & Late Dates, 2008-2015

As evident on both spreadsheets, our 8th year of logging started cold and ended hot.

Cold start: We did not find our first butterfly until March 9 (a mourning cloak found by Chris Tonkinson and Will Kerling in CMY). Even more tellingly, for the first time in eight years of logging, we did not establish a single record early date for any species at all.

Hot end: At the other end of the year, butterflies were still flying in numbers well into November and some into December — including a couple of species still active on December 31 (and beyond New Year’s Day into January, 2016). December 2015 was the warmest December documented in NJ, going back to records in the 1800s, and January continued with warmer than average temperatures until about the middle of the month.

Here’s a post from Dave Amadio detailing the December finds:

A December To Remember

Here’s one by Will Kerling discussing our January records over the years, including 2016:

The Butterflies of January

Finally, go to this Page for a discussion of the difficulty of assessing January records (early? late?):

Early & Late Dates…and problem of January Records

Keep exploring and recording, everyone, and if you enjoy having this 2015 compilation of data available, send you kudos to Jack Miller!

Jack Connor

 

Posted in Compilations, Early Dates, Late Dates, Looking At Our Data | 3 Comments

Plants & Pollinators Talk Friday October 14 in Cape May

SJ Butterflyers:

Like Pat Sutton (see below), I heard Jennifer Bulava (one of our most active contributor/observers) give this superb presentation last April at the Southeast Chapter of the Native Plant Society of NJ.

You will learn lots about butterflies (and other pollinators), if you can make it. Go if you can!

jc

Pat Sutton’s GARDENING GANG
October 13, 2016
Hi Gang,
I heard Jennifer Bulava speak at the Native Plant Society of NJ’s Southeast Chapter meeting in Atlantic County in early April and learned so much!  Tomorrow night she will be presenting here in Cape May County at the Cape May County Library in Cape May Court House.  Details follow:
Secret World of Plants and Pollinators
by Jennifer Bulava
Friday, October 14, 2016
6:00-7:00 p.m.
WHERE: Cape May County Library
in dowstairs Storytime Room
30 West Mechanic Street
Cape May Court House, NJ 08210

For additional information call the library at 609-463-6386
or visit the library’s online Calendar
There’s no fee, just come!

Jennifer Bulava’s presentation will focus on the incredible ways in which plants communicate with animals. Flowers are not pretty colors and pleasant smells for us – it’s all about the pollinators. Discover amazing strategies of plants, the colors that pollinators see, and ways in which both plants and animals can help or deceive each other. Did you know that a bee’s eye view is extremely different from what we see, and from what a bird sees? Participants will find that taking a much closer look at flowers can open up an entire hidden world that is more complex and fascinating than one ever imagined

Jennifer Bulava is a Park Naturalist for the Burlington County Park System. Jennifer is responsible for planning and conducting nature programs and all other aspects of environmental education for the public within the County Parks System. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resource Management with a specialization in Conservation and Ecology from Cook College, Rutgers University.

I’m planning to attend.  See you there?
Pat
As always, be sure to check Pat and Clay Sutton’s websiteregularly to learn of programs & workshops & garden tours I’m teaching and leading and to read my recent posts about the natural world!
Happy Gardening,

Pat Sutton
Pat Sutton’s GARDENING GANG
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Posted in Events | Comments Off on Plants & Pollinators Talk Friday October 14 in Cape May

Ninety-One Species So Far

Claire Campbell found this long-tailed skipper, our 90th species, in her garden in Marlton, BUR, on September 12..  We have had half a dozen reports since, all in CMY.

Claire Campbell found this long-tailed skipper, our 91st species, in her garden in Marlton, BUR, on September 12. We have had half a dozen reports since, all in CMY.

Will Kerling has very kindly compiled our list of all species reported to our log so far this year in South Jersey. Here’s his report. Thank you, Will!

As of September 19, I think that we have the 91 species for the year (the minimum). Over our log’s existence we have found between 90 and 95 species a year.

The 56 true butterflies are as follows:

Swallowtails = Pipevine, Black, Eastern, Spicebush and Giant Swallowtails

Whites = Checkered and Cabbage White plus Falcate Orangetip

Sulphurs = Clouded, Orange and Cloudless Sulphurs plus Sleepy Orange and Little Yellow

Harvester = Harvester

Coppers = American, Bronze, and Bog Coppers

Hairstreaks = Red-banded, Hessel’s, Coral, Edwards’, Banded, Striped, Juniper, White M, and Gray Hairstreaks

Elfins = Brown, Hoary, Henry’s, Eastern Pine, and Frosted Elfins

Blues = Blueberry, Holly and Summer Azures plus Eastern Tailed-Blue

Snouts = American Snout

Fritillaries = Variegated, Great Spangled, and Meadow Frits

Brush-footed Butterflies = Pearl Crescent, QM, Eastern Comma, Mourning Cloak, American and Painted Ladies, Red Admiral, and Common Buckeye

Admirals and Relatives = Red-spotted Purple and Viceroy

Emperors = Hackberry and Tawny Emperors

Satyrs = Appalachian Brown, Georgia Satyr, Little Wood-Satyr and Common Wood-Nymph

Danaus species = Monarch

The Skippers’ two groups include 11 species of Spread-winged Skippers and 24 species of Grass Skippers, as follows:

Spread-wing Skippers = Long-tailed Skipper, Silver-spotted Skipper, Southern and Northern Cloudywings, Hayhurst’s Scallopwing, Sleepy, Juvenal’s, Horace’s, and Wild Indigo Duskywings, Common Checkered-Skipper and Common Sootywing.

Grass Skippers = Zabulon, Salt Marsh, Aaron’s, Rare, Dotted, Swarthy, Least, European, Fiery, Cobweb, Peck’s, Tawny-edged, Crossline Skippers, Northern Broken-dash, Little Glassywing, Sachem, Delaware Skipper, Mulberry Wing, Broad-winged, Dion, Two-spotted, Dun, Dusted and Ocola Skippers.

Totals:

56 True Butterflies

11 Spread-winged Skippers

24 Grass Skippers

91 species in total, as of 9-19-16 – Great!!!

Potential New Ones for 2016: Clouded Skipper, Brazilian Skipper, Gulf Fritillary, Palamedes Swallowtail, Eufala Skipper and other great ones

It is very difficult to find a new one now — as per usual.

Best,
Will

With this report and photo by Tom Bailey in Palmyra, BUR, Ocola skipper, our 89th specie, has now been recorded in 5 of our 8 counties:  GLO, CUM, CAM. CMY, and BUR.

Ocola skipper was our 90th species in 2016. Tom Bailey photo’d this one in Palmyra Cove Nature Park, BUR, on September 17 — adding a new county to this year’s list for the species. It has now been recorded in 5 of our 8 counties in 2016: GLO, CUM, CAM. CMY, and BUR.

Update: Soon after sending along his report, Will found an Ocola skipper in Atlantic County: Estell Manor, 9-18-16. So we now need to find Ocolas in just SAL and OCN to complete a sweep of all eight counties for the year.

Posted in Compilations, Looking At Our Data, Lycaenids, Milkweed Butterflies, Nymphalids, Pierids, Skippers, Swallowtails | Comments Off on Ninety-One Species So Far

August 2016 Compilation

August 2016 was a good month for red-spotted purples in South Jersey, and Dave Amadio found one showing signs of the white band more often seen in its close relative,  the white admiral.

August 2016 was a good month for red-spotted purples in South Jersey, and Dave Amadio found one in his garden in West Deptford, GLO, showing signs of the white band more often seen in its close relative, the white admiral.

August 2016 seemed a good month for butterflies and butterfly observers in South Jersey, despite the heat and general lack of rain. We compiled our highest total of reports this year (460+) and observers (40), and we documented 64 species flying during the month, including several rarities.

This month’s contributors

Forty observers contributed to the log during the month, our best total of the year so far. Thanks to each of you — and a special welcome and thanks to our newest participants (listed in bold).

Cynthia Allen
Dolores Amesbury
Jesse Amesbury
Dave Amadio
Pat Amadio
Tom Bailey
Jennifer Bulava
Claire Campbell
Arnold Clemenson
Chris Clemenson
Jesse Connor
Jack Connor
Ward Dasey
Michael Drake
Steve Glynn
Jean Gutsmuth
Mike Hannisian
Chris Herz
Kathy Horn
Brian Johnson
Sandra Keller
Will Kerling
Teresa Knipper
Meredith Koenig
Chip Krilowicz
M. Lee
Jack Miller
Shoshana Osofsky
John Patterson
Katherine Patterson
Beth Polvino
Clay Sutton
Pat Sutton
Jon Sutton
Mike Russell
Michael Stanton
Harvey Tomlinson
Donna Van Horn
Matt Webster
C. Wyluda

Reported in August

Sixty-four species were reported during the month, including four species new for 2016 — giant swallowtail, little yellow, sleepy orange, and Ocola skipper (italicized with dates of first report).

pipevine swallowtail
eastern tiger swallowtail
black swallowtail
spicebush swallowtail
giant swallowtail 8-14-16
checkered white
cabbage white
orange sulphur
clouded sulphur
cloudless sulphur
little yellow 8-3-16
sleepy orange 8-18-16
harvester
American copper
bronze copper
juniper hairstreak
white-m hairstreak
gray hairstreak
red-banded hairstreak
eastern tailed-blue
summer azure
American snout
variegated fritillary
great spangled fritillary
pearl crescent
question mark
eastern comma
American lady
red admiral
common buckeye
red-spotted purple
viceroy
tawny emperor
hackberry emperor
Appalachian brown
Georgia satyr
little wood-satyr
common wood-nymph
monarch
silver-spotted skipper
southern cloudywing
Hayhurst’s scallopwing
Horace’s duskywing
wild indigo duskywing
common checkered-skipper
common sootywing
least skipper
fiery skipper
Peck’s skipper
swarthy skipper
tawny-edged skipper
northern broken dash
crossline skipper
little glassywing
sachem
Delaware skipper
rare skipper
zabulon skipper
Aaron’s skipper
broad-winged skipper
dion skipper
dun skipper
salt marsh skipper
Ocola skipper (8/27/16)

Reported in July, but not in August

Six or seven species (depending on whether we count southern broken-dash) apparently ended their 2016 flights in July. Two others – meadow fritillary and mourning cloak – seem between broods at the moment, with no reports in August but re-emergence expected in September.

coral hairstreak (last report July 14)
banded hairstreak (July 24)
striped hairstreak (July 27)
meadow fritillary (most recent July 16; more to come, we can hope)
mourning cloak (most recent July 4; more to come, almost certainly)
northern cloudywing (July 2)
dotted skipper (July 10)
southern broken-dash? (July 26)
mulberry wing (July 17)

(Update: while I drafted this post, Dave Amadio found our first September meadow fritillary — on 9-2-16.)

Follow-up on Southern Broken-dash:

At least two or three observers searched through old photos for overlooked/mis-ID’d/possible southern broken- dash photos from past years without success. Anyone with photos of northern broken-dash from previous years — or even this year — might want to browse the collection. Any of those NBDs looking a little redder than you might expect? You could make a wonderful discovery.

I wrote to some NABA count compilers in Maryland and Delaware asking their sense of the status of southern broken-dash in their local areas. The first to reply was Rick Cheicante who compiles the Harford County (MD) count — in and around Bel Air, northwest of Baltimore.

Here’s Rick’s comment about the species:

“Southern Broken-Dash (SBD) — Much rarer [than Northern Broken-dash] and very uncommon up to just a few years ago on the coastal plain of both the eastern and western MD shores. However, more recently, there seems to be much greater observation of SBD in southern MD, MD’s eastern shore and along the lower edge of the piedmont. Furthermore, some of the sighting numbers are hitting double-digits. My suspicion is this is the next species undergoing a northernly range expansion, following, in my opinion, what Red-banded Hairstreak and Fiery Skipper have done over the last couple of decades. I do have a Harford County record in late July from a few years ago, and was present for the first record in Kent County in the time frame a few years prior to that.

“I saw the pics on the blog, and I think everything you are reporting and/or suggesting are spot on. The pics of SBD look like classic SBD to me. The ventral ground colors are as written – SBD orange/brown with the different fringes. NBD brown with similar fringes. That said, I have seen many SBD in the Carolinas, FL and TX where fringe color difference was not at all obvious (or just not different). That is very confusing, but the ventral base color is always what you would expect it to be.”

Discovery of the Month?

We had a number of wonderful finds in August — some detailed in the Photo Gallery below — but perhaps the most exciting of all was Brian Johnson’s discovery of a second brood of Georgia satyrs flying during the month.

Most sources list New Jersey’s race of Georgia satyrs as a single-brooded population that flies June-July (e.g. Shapiro [1966], Glassberg [1999], and Cech & Tudor [2005]). The only reference I can find to a second brood in NJ is in Gochfeld and Burger Butterflies of New Jersey [1997] where the authors note, “Usually one brood late June to mid-July at Lakehurst, but two broods reported (June and August) at Fort Dix (Schweitzer). The geographic pattern and ecologic correlates of this variation remain to be investigated.” The reference is to New Jersey’s best-known professional lepidopterist Dale Schweitzer, of course. It seems that this second brood at Fort Dix was reported by Schweitzer in 1987.

Do any readers of this blog know of any other information of a second brood of this rarity in New Jersey?

Looking Ahead

September is a good month to appreciate butterfly migration in South Jersey, going in two directions.

Southbound Regulars:

Monarchs are apparently doing OK (not great). Can we hope for a good migration flight for them? Common buckeyes may be building for a big push. Variegated fritillaries, anglewings, and red admirals could also become more numerous near “staging” spots along our shorelines in the next five or six weeks, from SAL or CUM west to CMY.

And how about painted ladies? Can they magically appear on migration southward in a year when so far we have only two reports of the species (both solo individuals)?

Northbound Wanderers:

Cloudless sulphurs are having a good year already and they sometimes peak in September as more and more cross northward into NJ, so that should be fun to look for over the next 30 days. We have had several reports of ovipositing by them (and some photos of eggs — see below.) Keep your eyes out for cats, everyone!

Little yellows have been found in numbers in CMY Co since July — with just a single sighting in ATL and an amazing find of one in Sussex County on July 22 (on the North Jersey Butterfly Log.) Can we hope for more of these “wrong-way” migrants moving north?

We have had two reports of sleepy orange — at one site, Dix WMA in CUM, but at least three different individuals.  It would be exciting to have a few more of this irregular southern stray discovered.

Fiery skippers have been recorded in South Jersey so far only in two counties at diametrically-opposite corners of our area:  CMY (with multiple sightings) and BUR (three reports). Can we fill in some of the blanks in between over the next few weeks?

So far we have had only a single Ocola skipper report — in Mantua, GLO (see photo below). Meanwhile, North Jersey has recorded four! If their migration goes at it usually does, we should find at least a few more.

Finally, we can always be on the lookout for September or October surprises — long-tailed skipper? Brazilian skipper? Something even farther over the charts??

Keep exploring and reporting, everyone!

Jack Connor

Our rare skipper reports spanned exactly one month, from July 1 to August 1, when Tom Bailey found this one at in Elsinboro, SAL.

Our rare skipper reports spanned exactly one month, from July 1 to August 1, when Tom Bailey found this one on 8/1/16 in Elsinboro, SAL.

Dolores Amesbury documented a black swallowtail cat going into metamorphosis in her garden in Cape May Courthouse from 8/4/16 to 8/5/16.

Dolores Amesbury documented a black swallowtail cat going into metamorphosis in her garden in Cape May Courthouse from 8/4/16 to 8/5/16.

Here's the cat above approximately 24 hours later.

Here’s the cat above approximately 24 hours later.

We had a number of reports of both emperors in August, including this tawny emperor photo'd by Beth Polvino in her garden in North Cape May on 8/12/16.

We had a number of reports of both emperors in August, including this tawny emperor photo’d by Beth Polvino in her garden in North Cape May on 8/12/16.

Chris Herz photo'd this spicebush swallowtail late-instar cat in her garden in Audubon, CAM, on 8/13/16.

Chris Herz photo’d this spicebush swallowtail late-instar cat in her garden in Audubon, CAM, on 8/13/16.

A hackberry emperor rode on this young field tripper's hat and arm for 45 minutes on a walk led by Jennifer Bulava on 8/15/16 at Boundary Creek, BUR.

A hackberry emperor rode on this young field tripper’s hat and arm for 45 minutes on a walk led by Jennifer Bulava on 8/15/16 at Boundary Creek, BUR.

It's been a good year for American snout and Jesse Connor found this snout caterpillar on hackberry in her garden on 8/19/16.

It’s been a good year for American snout and Jesse Connor found this snout caterpillar on hackberry in her garden in Port Republic, ATL, on 8/19/16.

One of the three sleepy oranges found so far, all at DIX WMA and photo'd by Steve Glynn on 8/20/16 (and 8/18/16).

One of the three sleepy oranges found so far, all at DIX WMA in CUM and photo’d by Steve Glynn on 8/20/16 (and 8/18/16).

Steve also managed to find and photo a Hayhurst's scallopwing cat at Dix WMA on 8/20/16.

Steve also managed to find and photo a Hayhurst’s scallopwing cat at Dix WMA on 8/20/16.

Chip Krilowicz photo'd this eastern tiger swallowtail at Newton Lake Park, CAM, on 8/20/16.

Chip Krilowicz photo’d this eastern tiger swallowtail at Newton Lake Park, CAM, on 8/20/16.

A cloudless sulphur egg on sensitive pea photo'd by Will Kerling at Estell Manor, ATL, on 8/21/16.  Be on the lookout for caterpillars, everyone -- or even better a chrysalid!

A cloudless sulphur egg on sensitive pea photo’d by Will Kerling at Estell Manor, ATL, on 8/21/16. Be on the lookout for caterpillars, everyone — or even better a chrysalid!

Pat & Clay Sutton drew double-digit numbers of both red-spotted purples (here on 8/23/16) and Appalachian browns to "gooey" fruit dishes in their garden In Goshen throughout the month.

Pat & Clay Sutton drew double-digit numbers of both red-spotted purples (here on 8/23/16) and Appalachian browns to “gooey” fruit dishes in their garden in Goshen throughout the month.

Brian Johnson found second-brood Georgia satyrs flying at a bog in BUR on 8-25-16.  Most sources consider NJ's population of this rarity to be single-brooded, flying in June-July.

Brian Johnson found second-brood Georgia satyrs flying at a bog in BUR on 8-25-16. Most sources consider NJ’s population of this rarity to be single-brooded, flying in June-July.

Will Kerling found this early-instar spicebush swallowtail caterpillar on the Middle Township Bike Path (CMY) on 8/26/16.

Will Kerling found this early-instar spicebush swallowtail caterpillar on the Middle Township Bike Path, CMY, on 8/26/16.

Our only Ocola skipper recorded so far this year is this one found by Dave Amadio at Chestnut Branch, Mantua, GLO, on 8/27/16.

Our only Ocola skipper recorded so far this year is this one found by Dave Amadio at Chestnut Branch, Mantua, GLO, on 8/27/16.

Jack Miller photo'd this male black swallowtail in his garden in Petersburg, CMY, on 8/31/16.

Jack Miller photo’d this male black swallowtail in his garden in Petersburg, CMY, on 8/31/16.

 

Delaware skippers may fly into September (which they do not always do). Claire Campbell photo'd this one in her garden on the last day of August.

Delaware skippers may fly into September (which they do not always do in South Jersey). Claire Campbell photo’d this one in her garden in Marlton, BUR, on the last day of August.

This little yellow found and photo'd by Harvey Tomlinson at Forsythe NWR, ATL, is one of only two reported in NJ north of Cape May County in 2016 so far.

This little yellow found and photo’d by Harvey Tomlinson on 8/31/16 at Forsythe NWR, ATL, is one of only two reported in NJ north of Cape May County in 2016 so far.

Posted in Compilations, First Emergences, Migration | 1 Comment