WDEL Blog: Eclectic Hobbies with Allan Loudell

"Late Spring": Late emergence of butterflies

With so many chilly days in March and early April with overnight temperatures in the 30's - even below freezing - butterflies are emerging about three weeks later than last spring.

Further, some of the warmest days have typically come at mid-week, when many of us are at work. So fewer people to observe this year's first butterflies. Weekends have typically seen lower temperatures, often with a stiff breeze.

But butterflies ARE emerging. The (European) Cabbage Whites which started coming out a couple of weeks ago were much more numerous this past weekend. I saw up to a dozen while driving in the Bear-Christiana area.

Jim White at the Delaware Nature Society has also seen some of the butterflies which overwinter as adults: The Anglewings (Eastern Commas & Question Marks) and Mourning Cloaks (Camberwell Beauties in the U.K.).

Sunday afternoon saw high temperatures reaching the middle 50's and some breeze.

Still, I saw several new butterflies for 2013 during a one-and-a-half hour walk at the Nottingham County Serpentine Barrens Park (not far from the Herr's Potato Chip Factory): Zebra Swallowtail (uncommon at Nottingham ANY time of the year, actually rather early!); Orange Sulphur; Eastern-Tailed Blue; and, Juvenal's Duskywing. All seemed to have freshly emerged, displaying perfect colors, seemingly not a scale out of place!

However, I did NOT see any Falcate Orangetips, the specialty spring butterfly I had been hoping to see.

Here's a link to butterfly sightings from around the country at the website of NABA (North American Butterfly Association)...


Posted at 7:11am on April 23, 2013 by Allan Loudell

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