Variegated fritillary, photo by Will Kerling, Cape May Courthouse (Cape May Co), 4-30-12.
Male pipevine swallowtail, photo by Ro Wilson, Medford Leas (Burlington Co) 4-17-12
Depending on how you count, one or the other of the species above was our 45th for the month of April (and our 46th for the year).
Will Kerling found the fritillary on the afternoon of the last day of the month, so chronologically that was the last species of the month. But soon afterwards, Jean Gutsmuth passed along a report and photos from Ro Wilson’s garden in Medford Leas where Ro had a pipevine swallowtail emerge from a chrsyalis on 4-17-12. So, that is the most recent species officially added to our log.
Both are apparently record early dates for us (joining the many earliest-ever dates we have recorded so far in this extraordinary year).
And the hot pace we have had all year continues on all fronts: more diversity, more reports, and more observers. Our total of 45 species is about half a dozen ahead of our usual total at this point (38 species in April, 2010; 39 in April 2011) and we also compiled many more observations this April than in previous years: 870 in 2010, 983 in 2011, and 1357 reports in April, 2012. (The list of contributors for April appears at the end of this report.)
Sleepy duskywing, photo by Dave Amadio, Rt 72, Woodland Township (Burlington Co), 4-30-12.
Hessel’s hairstreak, photo by Dave Amadio, Rt 72, Woodland Township (Burlington Co), 4-30-12.
Red-banded hairstreaks, photo by Will Kerling, Lizard Tail Swamp Preserve (Cape May Co), 4-24-12.
Here’s our group’s list for April, 2012. FOYs are astercized:
*pipevine swallowtail (4/17/12)
* eastern tiger swallowtail (4/9/12)
* clouded sulphur (4/8/12)
eastern pine elfin
* Hessel’s hairstreak (4/4/12)
*variegated fritillary (4/30/12)
* painted lady (4/17/12)
* red-spotted purple (4/29/12)
* monarch (4/12/12)
* wild indigo duskywing (4/9/12)
* common sootywing (4/14/12)
* cobweb skipper (4/15/12)
* least skipper (4/20/12)
* Peck’s skipper (4/29/12)
* sachem (4/13/12)
* zabulon (4/21/12)
In order of the number of reports (not total individuals):
Cabbage white (142 reports), orange sulphur (122 reports), Am. lady (109), e.t. blue (76), red admiral (70), Juvenal’s duskywing (63), pearl crescent (61), Henry’s elfin (49), e. pine elfin (47), red-banded hairstreak (41), mourning cloak (38), question mark (36), holly azure (36), American copper (35), c. buckeye (34), falcate orangetip (32), brown elfin (21), juniper hairstreak (21), sachem (21), e. tiger swallowtail (16), spicebush swallowtail (16), blueberry azure (14), black swallowtail (11), gray hairstreak (10), Horace’s duskywing (9), clouded sulphur (8), frosted elfin (8), monarch (8), wild indigo duskywing (8), hoary elfin (7), Hessel’s hairstreak (7), zabulon (7), sleepy duskywing (6), silver-spotted skipper (5), cobweb skipper (5), white-m hairstreak (3), Am. snout (3), eastern comma (3), painted lady (3), common sootywing (3), red-spotted purple (2), pipevine swallowtail (1), variegated fritillary (1), least skipper (1), Peck’s skipper (1).
Can we have still more drama in May? Well, we have:
–> a red admiral irruption in-progress;
–> more than a dozen late spring/early summer species we should probably expect very shortly, given the accelerated pace of the year;
–> four species (as Will K has noted) that we have recorded in every month so far — orange sulphur, common buckeye, mourning cloak and red admiral; can any one of them hang in there to become our first-ever all-12-months-of-the-year species?;
–> an ecological/behavioral puzzle to investigate: will the many single-brooded species that emerged earlier than usual (blueberry azure, pine elfin, hoary elfin, cobweb skipper, et al) shift their flight season or stretch it? Will we see the last of them earlier than usual, or will some individuals continue to emerge and fly to their usual late dates?
–> and last, let’s not forget that we have a number of second broods due to emerge as caterpillars in May:
Questionmark eggs on hackberry, Jesse Connor’s garden (Atlantic Co), 4-25-12.
Wild indigo duskywing egg on Baptisia, photo by Will Kerling, Lizard Tail Swamp Preserve (Cape May County), 4-30-12.
Our contributing observers for April 2012: Cynthia Allen, Dave Amadio, Shawn Wainwright, Eric Reuter, Chip Krilowicz, Jean Gutsmuth, Ro Wilson, Amy Gaberlain, Mike Crewe, Bridget O’Connor, Patrick O’Connor, Bill Grant, Sandra Keller, Pat & Clay Sutton, Harvey Tomlinson, Jesse & Jack Connor, Stephen Mason, Susan Mason, Tom Reed, Tiffany Kersten, Sam Galick, Tony Leukering, Bill Grant, Michael O’Brien, Jim Dowdell, Chris Herz, Chris Vogel, Chris & Paul Williams, Joanna Burger, Michael Gochfeld, Jim Springer, Teresa Knipper, Lew & Sheila Rosenberg, Mike Bisignano, Kristen Meistrell, Glen Davis, Chris Tonkinson, and Will Kerling.
Thanks to all of you. Keep those reports coming, everyone!
Any additions or corrections (or photos for use in our blog or our log) can be sent to me at nacotejackATgmailDOTcom.
5/10/12 Update: See “Add Another for April” for an addition to this list.