Our November Flyers

Vanessa atalanta is among our most reliable November flyers. Photo by Will Kerling, 11-02-11 in Cape May

As November begins I thought it would be interesting to look back over our data for the past three years to list which species we can expect — or at least hope to find — in our last full month of butterflying in 2011.

We have found adults of twelve species in the first few days of the month (up to Nov 4): cabbage white, orange sulfur, clouded sulfur, question mark, eastern comma, mourning cloak, American lady, red admiral, common buckeye, monarch, fiery skipper, and sachem. All of these but clouded sulfur seem expected species, based on our three years of observation.

We have recorded twenty-seven species (in adult stage) during past Novembers:

black swallowtail: all three years (not yet 2011)
cabbage white: all three years (and 2011)
clouded sulfur: 2009 (and 2011)
orange sulfur: all years (and 2011)
cloudless sulfur: all three years (not yet 2011)
sleepy orange: 2010 only
American copper: 2008 only
gray hairstreak: 2008 only
red-banded hairstreak: 2010 only
summer azure: 2009 only
American snout: 2009 and 2010
variegated fritillary: all three years (not yet 2011)
pearl crescent: 2008 and 2010
question mark: 2009 and 2010 (and 2011)
e. comma: all three years (and 2011)
mourning cloak: 2010 (and 2011)
American lady: all three years (and 2011)
painted lady: all three years (not yet 2011)
red admiral: all three years (and 2011)
common buckeye: all three years (and 2011)
red-spotted purple: 2009 only
monarch: all three years (and 2011)
common checkered skipper: 2010 only
long-tailed skipper: 2008 only
fiery skipper: all three years (and 2011)
sachem: all three years (and 2011)
Ocola skipper: 2009 only

We found 17 species of flying adults in November 2008, 19 species in November 2009, and 20 species in November 2010.

We need another half dozen species to top our low count in November 2008, and it might be tough. Cloudless sulfur and painted lady have been virtually absent all year, and variegated frit has been scarce this fall (fide Will K.), so we will need to find black swallowtail and at least five unexpected species.

Keep looking, everyone! December will be closing off our chasing time soon enough!


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