WDEL Blog: Eclectic Hobbies with Allan Loudell

Spring Butterflies appearing now in good numbers

Spring is a time for smaller whites, sulphurs, blues, and hairstreaks. The more "showy" swallowtails and Monarchs typically come a bit later, although I've seen some reports of Eastern Tiger Swallowtails - Delaware's state butterfly - already emerging in Maryland & New York state.

One question appears to have been answered: Would record snowfall amounts DELAY the emergence of many insects, or did the relative scarcity of really cold winter days combined with now many record high-temperature days make up for the snow?

It now seems the latter. At Nottingham County Park Sunday, I counted 40+ Cabbage Whites; 40 Falcate Orangetips; 3 Clouded Sulphurs; 3 Gray Hairstreaks (early!); 13 Spring Azures; 4 Eastern Tailed-Blues (including one mating pair); and 1 Mourning Cloak.

(In northern Delaware, I've never seen the dainty Falcate Orangetip at White Clay Creek, but some years, at Lums Pond State Park. Now's the time to look; I recommend along the power-line cuts and in semi-forested areas.)

Some of the more intricately patterned moths are coming out too. I've seen the Tulip Tree Beauty (Epimecis hortaria) on a wall at the Wawa southeast of Newark, and on our own wall at WDEL/WSTW. I've seen Zales at several locations.

Posted at 3:33pm on April 12, 2010 by Allan Loudell

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