WDEL Blog: Eclectic Hobbies with Allan Loudell

October Butterflies & Moths

The Swallowtails have almost disappeared, except for possibly Black Swallowtails in your garden or in some of our state parks, and the third brood of Zebra Swallowtails in Cecil County's Elk Neck State Park.

Monarchs are still around, but their numbers are diminishing in northern Delaware with their great flight south... still good numbers in Cape May County, New Jersey.
Monarch lookalike Viceroys (and their sibling species, Red-spotted Purples) are turning up in good numbers along the C & D Canal and some other places.

One can easily find a dozen butterfly species (or more) in proper habitat, especially if you seek out Skippers as well: The University of Delaware botanic garden east of the Agriculture building; one of our state parks, plus the C & D Canal; and particularly with a dedicated trip to Cape May County, New Jersey.

Common Buckeyes and Orange Sulphurs occur in abundance this time of year. The larger, almost lime-green, Cloudless Sulphurs - Southern immigrants - are flying in our area. (But good luck trying to get a decent photo; they hardly ever rest!)

I've been seeing a few Red-banded Hairstreaks at nearly every location I've visited. The second brood of the fairly rare Bronze Coppers can still be found in wet areas along Dutch Neck Road just south of the C & D Canal. This species exhibits dramatic sexual dimorphism: The males and females are vastly different above... but not below, which is what you see when they have their wings up, vertically!

Among the Skippers; we've been seeing spectacular numbers of the Southern immigrant, Fiery Skippers.

(By the way, I am happy to I.D. photos of butterflies and moths sent to me. One staffer here showed me a photo of a Polyphemus moth from her swimming pool!)

Check out these butterfly sighting reports from the website of NABA -- The North American Butterfly Association...


Moths: The Underwings are just about done. Still seeing some Tiger moths, even on our illuminated wall here at WDEL/WSTW. Some fall moths tend to be brownish, grayish, or orangish, but close observation will reveal intricate patterns.

Posted at 9:36am on October 2, 2012 by Allan Loudell

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