Black swallowtail caterpillar photo’d by Will Kerling on 12-22-12 in Cape May Point. (When will we see the first flying adults of this species in 2013?)
Nine butterfly species flew in South Jersey in December:
On 12-18-12 we set new record late dates for three species: question mark (old late date of 11-30-11), American lady (previous late date of 12-15-11), and painted lady (previous late date of 12-4-09).
Several observers in different spots on 12-3-12 tied the record late date for cloudless sulphur of 12-3-09.
Black swallowtail was the tenth species active in the month, although we found only caterpillars and chrysalids.
Red admiral was the most frequently reported December species with 38 records totaling ~96 individual adults. Orange sulphur was reported in 30 entries, totaling ~115 individuals.
As expected, the majority of reports came from Cape May County, but our observers also spotted flying butterflies in Gloucester, Burlington, Cumberland.
Thanks to all of you who kept your eyes open for the last butterflies of the year.
Please see Will K’s note about the “Fab Four” posted below, especially the three species that now have been reported active more than 20 months in a row. The coming two months will be a challenge for them to keep up that streak — and for us to be out there to record their flights!
Our cold-weather, sharp-eyed observers reporting sightings in December included:
Thanks so much for keeping our log going!
Have a wonderful, nature-filled 2013, everyone!
Here’s a spreadsheet of all December 2012 records. Hit the + sign for easier viewing.
Red admiral photo’d by Will Kerling on 12-4-12 at Cape May Point. This species will apparently be the last recorded this year — on 12-23-12, also by Will.
Will Kerling has been carefully following the persistence of four species of butterflies he has dubbed “The Fab Four”: orange sulphur, common buckeye, red admiral, and mourning cloak. All were recorded each month of this year January to November, and only the last did not appear for us this month. Their persistence goes back longer than that, however, as he notes here:
We had an orange sulphur entry on 3.26.11 which lead to records for them every month since, through December 2012: 22 straight months for this species!
The red admiral had a mid-April 2011 entry (4.14.11) which lead to records for them every month through December 2012: 21 straight months for this species!
The common buckeye had an entry on 4.11.11 which lead to records for them every month through December 2012: 21 straight months for this species!
Will 2013 continue any of these streaks?
December 23, 2012 was my last Butterfly Day unless a total miracle happens (Butterfly Days for 2012 = 299*). Unless someone finds a mourning cloak in a tree well, a shed or something of the sort we will miss it only in December of this year.
My entry of red admiral on December 23rd, 2012 in the Cape May Point State Park (2:05 pm) will probably be the last butterfly entry of 2012.
* Butterfly Day = a date with at least one observation of butterfly.
Will has recorded at least one butterfly, and usually many more, on 299 days in 2012. That is an amazing record. Congratulations and big thank-you to our leading contributor!
Dave Amadio’s sharp observing led him to photograph this apparently hybrid butterfly in his backyard in West Deptford on October 19. He reports:
This is at least the 2nd Limenitis archippus/arthemis hybrid that I have seen this year. I had one in Chestertown, Maryland, earlier.
This one is only about eastern comma or buckeye-sized. The red spotting on the HW & red spot/bar on the FW are clearly visible. Also in the dorsal view the HW borders look more like red-spotted purple with a hint of blue.
Opler states, “Sterile male hybrids resulting from crosses between the viceroy and the red-spotted purple or white admiral are rarely found in nature.”
Dave’s photo of the ventral surface:
Congratulations to Dave on another excellent find — and for providing more evidence that nature’s mysteries can appear just a few steps from our backdoors, when we look carefully enough.
Monarch roost photo’d by Pat Sutton (details below) 9-25-12.
Lots of us got our starts chasing after butterflies because of fall monarch flights, and the wonderful phenomenon may be peaking for 2012 this weekend, with thousands of individuals along our coast (and inland as well) down to Cape May Point, where generally the largest of congregations can be found. Grab your bins and camera, if you can, and enjoy the pageant!
Here’s a report written from Cape May last night by Pat Sutton.
Thousands of Monarchs were roosting by mid-morning in the dunes at Lincoln and Cape Avenues (along the beachfront), the dune crossover there . . . visible from the street (Lincoln Avenue):
Winds were too strong to keep migrating so they kept settling in all day.
It was pure magic. More should be coming today, but between 7:30 and 8:30 this morning you might experience lift off of thousands from that spot / roost . . . unless the winds are still too strong and they just stay & continue to gather there all day today.
Photos from yesterday:
Monitoring Monarchs Blog
My photos from last week (Sept 25) at Stone Harbor Point (in Red Cedars west of 3rd Avenue), which is where I’m going this morning before I dash down to Cape May Point:
Go to the Suttons’ blog for more photos and lots of info — about monarchs and lots else.
Enjoy the flight, everyone!
Bronze copper, our only report of the year, photo’d by Dave Amadio on Sunset Drive, Salem County, 9-9-12.
As everyone who visits our log knows by now, Cape May has been the hottest of hot spots for the last couple of weeks, drawing an amazing array of butterflies (and butterflyers), giving us multiple reports of a mind-boggling list of rarities. It’s some show down there!
But let’s not forget the rest of our area. Scroll through our log a little to see what’s happening in our “northern” counties and you will find that the butterflying is very good elsewhere across our whole region as well.
Some highlights north of Cape May include:
Dave Amadio found four harvesters (remember them?) still flying at Chestnut River Branch in Gloucester County on 9-16-12.
Chip Krilowicz photo’d eight harvester caterpillars in Laurel Ravine in Camden County on 9-6-12. He also photo’d fiery skipper in his yard in Haddonfield, Camden County, on 9-6-12 and recorded the same species at Palmyra Cove Nature Center, Burlington County, on 9-20-12. Chip added Burlington County to our list of long-tailed skipper records with his find there in Pennington Park on 9-20-12.
Chris Herz had twenty-one common checkered skippers at Gloucester Community College on 9-13-12 and hit double digits again a few days later with fourteen on 9-17-12. She also had both a dark-form female tiger swallowtail and a fiery skipper at Riverwinds in Gloucester on 9-16-12.
Brian Johnson found at least thirty common checkered skippers on Bayside Road in Cumberland County on 9-15-12.
Both Brian Johnson and Dale Schweitzer recorded long-tailed skippers in Cumberland County, in or near Port Norris, on 9-7-12 and 9-17-12 respectively.
Matt Webster had a long-tailed in his yard in Camden County on 9-17-12.
Shawn Wainwright had a long-tailed in his yard in Toms River in Ocean County on two successive days, 9-21-12 and 9-22-12. Shawn also photo’d an Ocola there on 9-21-12, giving us our 5th county for that species this year: Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, Gloucester, and Ocean.
Jesse Connor’s garden in Port Republic in Atlantic County drew a long-tailed skipper to the same Verbena plant already hosting a fiery skipper and Ocola skipper, so that all three “southern strays” were nectaring there simultaneously, on 9-23-12. A few minutes later, a second long-tailed joined the first.
Side-by-side long-tailed skippers in Port Republic (Atlantic Co), 9-23-12.
Outside our region, but not too far, Michael Gochfeld and Joanna Burger’s garden in Somerset County brought in their first long-tailed skipper on 9-21-12.
That gives us long-tailed records for six of our area’s eight counties (Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, and Ocean) and one in Somerset. So, long-tails have appeared in at least seven counties in the state this year — with more to come, almost certainly, farther north, and maybe also to the west in Gloucester and Salem.
Can we find a long-tail in each of South Jersey eight counties in one season? That would be a very cool record of butterflyers’ team work, and maybe something never previously accomplished (?).
Keep those reports coming, everyone! What a year!
9-25-12 Update: In response to this post Michael Gochfeld has passed along a report of a long-tailed skipper at Overpeck Park (Teaneck) by the GW Bridge area. The date is not certain, but that adds Bergen County to the NJ records this year.
9-26-12 Update: Will Kerling reports: “Under the NABA Butterfly Sightings, there is an entry (with photos) for Betty Lampkin’s sighting of a Long-tailed Skipper on Sept. 25, 2012. The site is a garden at Cedar Crest Retirement Village next to Mountainship Park – Morris County, NJ.”
So, those two reports mean long-tailed skippers have been seen in at least nine counties in the state this year: Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Ocean, Somerset, Bergen, and Morris.
Please pass along any reports from outside South Jersey (and keep logging any inside SJ!). It will be interesting to see how widespread this year’s invasion becomes.
Painted ladies — one small sample — photo’d by Will Kerling at Cape May Point on 8-26-12.
August closed with a flurry of memorable sightings during the last week, including:
–> long-tailed skipper (the first one found by Chris Tonkinson on 8/29 and another found two days later by Chris Herz, Jean Gutsmuth, and Dave Amadio — our 92nd species for 2012);
–> giant swallowtail (found by Shawn Wainwright, on 8/30/12, our fourth report and third different county for the year — and the first ever for the species for our log for Ocean County);
–> Ocola skipper (our second report for the year, found by Chris Herz, Jean Gutsmuth, and Dave Amadio on 8/31);
Ocola skipper at the Triangle Garden in Cape May Point, photo’d by Dave Amadio, on 8-31-12.
–> and several other good finds you can see on our log (and to be noted in a future compilation).
In the meantime, the butterflies you can’t miss are painted ladies. Have we ever seen such an autumn flight? Even folks who do not normally pay attention to leps are talking about them, “What are they? They are all over my garden!”
Vanessa cardui, a.k.a. “the cosmopolitan lady,” is the world’s most widely-distributed butterfly, often flies in tremendous numbers, and has spread around the planet despite its inability to weather winter cold. Various sources suggest that North American painted ladies can over-winter only south of the US/Mexico border. (That seems hard to believe, but I cannot find any sources saying otherwise.)
The northbound flights in spring out of the wintering area in Mexico are often spectacular in the western U.S. where (several sources say) they sometimes stop traffic.
The fall migration is much more subtle, however, and something of a puzzle, even in western states.
And here in South Jersey, where V. cardui fluctuates year-to-year from moderately common to hard-to-find, detecting the southbound flight seems a real challenge.
Not this year!
We are having a fall flight that seems off the charts for any butterfly not named monarch or buckeye.
Will Kerling has been tracing the flight on NJ’s southern peninsula (and, as always, documenting finds on our log). He notes in an email today (9-2-12):
Cape May Point and West Cape May are the places to see a buildup of the painted ladies that have been filtering through Cape May County for weeks now. This past Wednesday and Thursday [Aug 29-30] were the best days, so far, to watch the movement for numbers and flight direction. Each day until around 10 am, the ladies were rapidly flying from N to S and then the flight direction shifted from E to W. Both days, the flights last ALL day! See our log for numbers and comments.
On Friday [Aug 31] Chris Herz, Dave Amadio and Jean Gutsmuth went to different places in Cape May Point and West Cape May and attempted to count them. Their count indicated over 800 painted ladies!!! Yesterday [Sept 1], I counted over 600 in Cape May Point and the Rea Farm of West Cape May. My count from the Avalon Golf Links to West Cape May was 109 individual painted ladies.
Chris and Cynthia have pointed out news on the Internet about massive numbers of painted ladies being observed in southern Canada.
North of Cape May County the actual movement seems harder to detect than on the peninsula — although the numbers indicate a flight must be under way. The butterflies in our garden and at other gardens nearby (in Atlantic County) do not seem engaged in a directional flight — at least not one that is easy to trace. They circle around and nectar again and again on Sedum, Verbena, and a few other of their favorite plants. It’s hard to tell which have arrived most recently or where they go, or when they leave. Most look fresh and unmarked; a few show a mix of sharp colors and wing breakage or wing wear. Is it too much of a stretch to consider that combination a subtle sign of migration?
Painted lady in Port Republic on 8-31-12 showing mix of sharp colors and wing wear. Evidence perhaps that it has already flown a distance?
In his classic study, “The Migration of Painted Lady With Special Reference to North America” C.B. Williams describes numerous spring/northbound flights in detail and then asks in an intriguing passage:
If North America is repopulated each year from the south, do all the offspring of the earlier immigrants die out before the fall, or is there a partial or general return to south, to repopulate or replenish their winter headquarters? [There] is very little evidence …. that we have available at this point… only about a dozen observations of flights.
That was 1970. How many flights have been documented since? James Scott summarizes a few scattered reports in his 1986 The Butterflies of North America and writes, “The main puzzle regarding Vanessa cardui is the weak return flight in late summer and fall. The only return flights I have ever seen were to the southwest in late July and mid-August above timberline [in the western US].”
In a quick review of other sources I haven’t yet found details of well-documented southbound flights in more recent years. I’ll keep searching, and if anyone has info, please pass along. This flight seems the largest in recent memory, at least. Anyone with memories (or know of records) of similar or even larger ones?
Just counting the ladies in your garden each day as the numbers go up or down could give us numbers worth thinking about, wherever you live in South Jersey. And if you do see a flight with direction, please log that in as well.
Keep watching and reporting, everyone!
Painted ladies on Sedum at Cape May Point, photo’d by Will Kerling on 9-1-12.
Painted ladies on Sedum at Cape May Point, photo’d by Will Kerling on 9-1-12.
Updates/Comments to original posting:
Many of the Painted Ladies I am seeing in my yard in Cape May Court House are not fresh. Some are complete rags, although they run the gamut from rags to fresh.
Michael Gochfeld has also emailed in response to the original post. As he notes, we had those two large, northbound nymphalid flights through NJ (and elsewhere in mid-Atlantic states, New England, and Canada) in April/May. The species involved were red admirals, question marks, American ladies, but apparently only a few scattered painted ladies were mixed in.
This is certainly the largest number of Painted Ladys I’ve seen since I began recording in 1987.
But, I have a question: In May the Red Admirals were streaming through central NJ. In August the Painted Ladys just seemed to appear—mostly fresh.
We did have some Painted Ladys in early summer. Based on what I’ve seen in my yard— a complete lack of “movement” — I think it possible that we are seeing local offspring of an earlier (and smaller wave).
I am up in the Albany [NY] today and there are definitely a few Painted Ladys around—maybe it’s even the commonest butterfly But there’s no evidence of movement here, either.
It will be interesting to see what the late-June/early July 4JC counts might tell us about Painted Ladys six weeks earlier.
Did you see migratory flights in South Jersey?
Conversely, what happened to the summer broods of Red Admirals we should have seen after the May flight? There were lots of caterpillars stripping the nettles locally. Did they eat themselves out of house and home?
Little yellow, photo’d up close and personal by Will Kerling at Cape May Courthouse, 8-11-12.
The last ten days or so have provided such a whirlwind of butterfly events that it’s hard to keep track of them all, including:
*** Our 90th species for 2012: great spangled fritillary (first spotted by Chris Herz and photo’d by Dave Amadio);
*** Our 2nd giant swallowtail of the year (found and photo’d by Jack Miller);
*** More sightings and shots of harvester (in three locales, two different counties) than I can do justice to here;
*** Little yellows making it into their fifth county this year (leaving just three more needed for a regional sweep);
*** A delightful comeback for cloudless sulphurs, after 2011′s virtual “no show”;
*** And lots of other good stuff.
Some photos below to help us remember these good days.
Great spangled fritillary in Alloway, photo by Dave Amadio, 8-17-12, our 90th species for South Jersey in 2012.
Giant swallowtail, photo’d by Jack Miller in his yard in Petersburg, Cape May Co, 8-21-12.
Common checkered skipper in New Egypt, Ocean Co, 8-20-12, photo’d by Sam Galick.
Harvester at Hopkins Pond, Camden County, our third site for the species this year, found and photo’d by Chip Krilowicz, 8-20-12.
Harvester at Chestnut Branch Park, where wooly aphids are thick and we have records now of egg-laying, caterpillars, chrysalids, and multiple adults, this one photo’d by Sandra Keller on 8-21-12.
Little yellow in Port Republic, Atlantic County, on 8-21-12, gives us five counties — also Cape May, Cumberland, Salem, and Camden — where we have recorded the species this year… so far!
And here comes the next generation. This cloudless sulphur caterpillar, photo’d by Pat Sutton in her garden on 8-17-12, demonstrates the comeback of the species in our area this year.
As always, see our log for the details of these — and other reports.
We have another ten days to go in August, and ….
a certain hard-working observer who shall remain anonymous (unless Will wants to admit it was him) urges all of us to keep our eyes out for dainty sulphur, seen in North Jersey and west of us also. Wouldn’t that make a great last sighting for this delightful month?
Keep exploring and shooting, everyone!
A “white admiral” butterfly in South Jersey? Photo by Kerri Sellers, Rancocas Nature Center, 8-2-12
Kerri Sellers of the Rancocas Nature Center managed to photo the eye-catching butterfly above with her cell phone on Thursday, Aug 2.
The Nature Center has a rock driveway which frequently attracts red-spotted purples basking and sometimes puddling. This morning at about 9:30 I spotted this individual take off from the driveway and land on the front porch in front of me. I grabbed my phone to take a picture, but it flew away before I could get the shot.
Knowing that butterflies tend to linger in the driveway area, I came back out about 15 minutes later and [refound] it. This time it landed right in front of me, but in an effort to photograph it, I scared it away and lost it.
Once again, I came back inside, and went out to look for it 15 minutes later. [This time] it landed on a vine that is growing on the barn [and] I finally got the picture.
Overall, it hung around the same area for about an hour or so, although only present for a minute or so each time. I was outside fairly frequently for the rest of the day and did not see it again.
Close-up of same “white admiral” type at Rancocas Nature Center, cell phone photo by Kerri Sellers, 8-2-12.
Some of us have dreamed about finding a white admiral in South Jersey — that is, the northern subspecies of the red-spotted purple/white admiral complex, Limenitis arthemis. White admirals are the sub-species L. a. arthemis; our local red-spotted purples are the subspecies, L.a. astyanax. They mate with each — as subspecies are supposed to do –in the overlapping areas of their range in northern Pennsylvania, New York, and New England.
Could Kerri’s butterfly be a true white admiral or perhaps a hybrid from a pairing of those two subspecies?
The answer seems to be that a pure-bred white admiral is very unlikely and a hybrid perhaps only slightly more possible.
Gochfeld and Burger report in their Butterflies Of New Jersey that white admirals are rare even in northwestern New Jersey, noting the form “may be a vagrant to northern New Jersey, but is not a resident there.” A browse through recent issues of the Pearly Eye confirms that this seems still to be the status of the subspecies in North Jersey.
Also, as Kerri herself noted at first sight, the pattern on the Rancocas individual does not match white admiral exactly. Among other things, the white stripe is not wide enough on the hindwing and there is red in the forewing apex.
Well, how about hybrid? Is it possible that an offspring of a white admiral x red-spotted purple could find its way this far south — from interbreeding by parents who are most likely to have met each other north of Sussex County?
Art Shapiro in his Butterflies of the Delaware Valley (1966) writes, “Specimens representing the so-called ‘hybrid’ forms occur with some regularity in our area, the southern limit being Camden, Tinicum, and northern Delaware.” Shapiro seems to uses the phrase “so-called ‘hybrid’” because the off-spring of two sub-species are not a true hybrids — they are members of the same species. But, perhaps “so-called” reflects the genetic complexities described briefly in two more recent books:
Gochfeld and Burger note:
In New Jersey the identification of the two subspecies [true white admiral and red-spotted purple] is confused by the presence of intergrades (“albofasciata”), which can have a complete white band. This is due to introgression of white admiral genes from former or occasional interbreeding… There are records of “albofasciata” from various parts of New Jersey, including the Delaware Valley… The white banding is controlled by a single pair of autosomal genes with incomplete dominance.
Cech and Tudor in Butterflies Of The East Coast report that the genes controlling for the white striping in the complex is “a recessive trait that might appear in any population, even those completely isolated from nearby white admirals.”
Perhaps it is more likely that that the Rancocas individual is not a hybrid but instead a genetic oddity, showing evidence of those recessive genes, expressed rarely in southern New Jersey but carried in recessive form by red-spotted individuals.
Do any readers of this blog have experience with butterflies similar to Kerri’s find? Or a better understanding of these genetics? If so, please let us know.
Pat and Clay Sutton had a puzzling Limenitis of their own in their yard in Goshen in early July:
Oddly-marked red-spotted purple type, photo by the Suttons in their garden in Goshen, early July, 2012.
Standard-issue red-spotted purple, Jesse Connor’s garden, Port Republic 6-9-05.
The lighting and angles are different, but look closely and you will see that the Suttons’ butterfly shows more orange on both wing margins, especially the hindwing.
Odd markings are more obvious in this photo from above:
Ventral view of oddly-marked individual, photo by the Suttons, July, 2012. Note the orange tips highlighting the blue along the hindwing margins.
Normal red-spotted purple, Jesse Connor’s garden, 8-26-08. No orange highlights.
There are at least three possibilities here:
a) as may be the case in Kerri Seller’s individual, the odd markings could be evidence of rarely-expressed genes showing themselves.
b) it could be a hybrid. Clay wondered if the odd markings hinted at the contribution of a viceroy parent or grandparent, as viceroy x red-spotted purple is a relatively frequent hybrid pairing. That would be a true hybridization — between two different species of the Limenitis genus, L. archippus and L. a. sytanax.
c) CMBO’s Mike Crewe had a third suggestion:
One other possibility is atavism. This is the tendency of ‘mutant’ individuals to show the characteristics of an ancestral species and is the reason why occasional odd individuals can show the features normally associated with a sibling species. For example, it occurs periodically with European starlings, where you get an individual closely resembling the related rose-colored starling – but with subtle differences that reveal the truth! Atavism is also thought to be the reason for recurring traits that show up in more than one group of species within a single family, but in species that don’t appear to have a direct lineage. For example dark and light coloration in egrets (especially in little blue heron and a number of old world species) and the dark hoods found in several groups of gulls.
Maybe this butterfly is showing the colors of an ancestral species that is no longer around.
Who’s out there who wants to solve this puzzle for us — or perhaps suggest a fourth possibility? Email or post a comment here.
The next generation emerging: a checkered white caterpillar, photo’d by Dave Amadio in Salem County, 7-28-12.
Have you been pulling out your maps to calculate the drive time to Featherbed Lane and environs?
Dave Amadio reports on his day in the field yesterday (7-28-12):
Just had to go down there again. Found a total of 36 checkered whites (23 males & 13 females ) at 5 separate locations. Was able to photograph a mating pair (both checkereds this time), a female laying eggs (picture also shows an egg), and two caterpillars on Virginia peppergrass.
Also, I was reading the comments of David L. Wagner in his caterpillar book [Caterpillars of Eastern North America]. He mentions that the parasitic wasp (Cotesia glomerata ) brought in to control cabbage whites has eliminated mustard whites from much of New England. He also asks the question “Might Cotesia glomerata or other introduced biological control agents be responsible” for the decline in checkered whites?
At any rate it is great to see this thriving (for now) colony in Salem County!
Female checkered white ovipositing, egg just visible, photo by Dave Amadio in Salem County, 7-28-12.
Checkered whites are not the only rarity in flight at the moment in Salem. Sandra Keller found and photo’d the meadow fritillary below, our 86th species in South Jersey for 2012.
Rev up your engines!
Meadow fritillary photo’d by Sandra Keller in Salem County, 7-27-12.
This Edward’s hairstreak (and two others) at the Hesstown power lines, photo’d by Will Kerling on 6-16-12, means we have found all five South Jersey Satyrium species in June.
Hey, South Jersey Butterflyers, lots of action lately — and apparently more on the way. See our log for all reports, but some highlights:
–> Thanks to Will Kerling and Cynthia Allen, we have added our fifth Satyrium, S. edwardsii, to our year count (and also added mulberry wing, our thirtieth skipper).
–> Thanks to organizers Pat Sutton and Teresa Knipper, we have two NABA Counts upcoming this week (details at the note below).
–> And, we may also be able to tune into a deja vu invasion of red admirals, thanks to the reports from Chris Herz, Mike Russell, and Sandra Keller yesterday.
Red admirals on Queen-Anne’s lace at Dream Park, near the Commodore Barry Bridge, photo’d by Sandra Keller, 6-16-12.
Chris Herz and Mike Russell were driving west toward the Commodore Barry Bridge yesterday morning. Chris reports,
There were hundreds [of admirals] around the approach to the [bridge]. We first noticed them around 10:35 in the morning as we were driving on Rte. 322 [headed toward the bridge]. They were flying across the road, then as we turned on the approach road to the Bridge and were slowing, we noticed them flying and perched in the road, on the shoulder, and even in the tollbooth lane. Mike called Sandra Keller and then Dave Amadio (who was at Lakehurst). Sandra was able to check out some areas nearby. Truly amazing! Mike and I estimated a 1000 in that short distance. It felt like a similar experience to the massive flight back in May.
Sandra drove to the bridge area immediately, reaching it about 11 a.m. and later reported:
Well, I tried for a pic conveying a sense of the numbers. Didn’t work! The most in one spot for me was probably that parking area for fishing along Floodgates, with a 100 or so – and am probably under-counting. I drove slowly by and they all came up off the mud! There was another 70 or 80 at the propane storage facility – on the gravel on the road edge. I was enjoying the snout at the end of the road, then followed a red admiral over the end of the dike and wow – more admirals on the rocks there! They weren’t moving like a month ago, feeding mainly today. Dream Park to the south of the bridge had a lot, but not really concentrated. There’s a dirt road that runs the perimeter of the place. That was good, as was Rt. 130, [but] then I went east – inland – via Centertown Road. Riverwinds did not have many at all. And none in my yard when I got home.
So, as of Sunday morning 8 a.m., 6-17-12, the phenomenon observed by Chris, Mike, & Sandra may have been a local one — or it may have been the first signal of a surge the rest of us will see shortly over a much wider area. In the past we have had big summer flights following earlier big spring flights.
Stay alert, everyone!