February 2020 Sightings

James Dowdell

Villas-Cox Hall Creek WMA
Cape May County, NJ

also 1 5ft long.Black Rat Snake basking 6 feet up in a bush!

[Note: This report arrived on 2/18 which makes 2/3 our first February report of mourning cloak. Nicely done, James. - jm]

  • American Snout 1
  • Mourning Cloak 1

Dolores Amesbury

My yard in CMCH
Cape May County, NJ

It sure felt like Spring today!

  • American Snout 1
  • Red Admiral 1

American Snout

Red Admiral

Harvey Tomlinson and Jack Miller

Cape May Point State Park
Cape May County, NJ

Fun Day with Good Company. A 4 species day, and 2 Northern Water Snakes. We may also have had a Sphinx Moth of some type. We believe the resident Western Kingbird had the Clouded Sulphur for lunch! Could this sulphur be our first emergent butterfly?

[Yes, I believe it's reasonable to speculate that the sulphur is the first of our reported butterflies in 2020 to be freshly emerged. Our other species so far this New Year are more likely over-wintering adults (as each species is known to over-winter as adults). Sulphurs are not listed as over-wintering species, as far as I know. Good find! jc]

  • Clouded Sulphur 1
  • American Snout 1
  • Anglewing sp. 1
  • Red Admiral 3

western kingbird

Red Admiral

Clouded Sulphur

Jack Miller

MacNamara WMA
Cape May County, NJ

A fly by late in the afternoon.

  • Anglewing sp. 1

Clay & Pat Sutton

Corbin City Impoundments
Cape May County, NJ

This Red Admiral was "on the move," it had flown across the Great Egg Harbor River and seemed to be heaving due SW into the wind. We saw it from the dike next to the northernmost impoundment.

  • Red Admiral 1

Beth Polvino

my yard NABA #1151 & Monarch Waystation #8318
Cape May County, NJ

What a crazy winter. Sunny and almost 60 here today. Checked the snapdragons and again found 2 Common Buckeye caterpillars that are still alive. They seem to borrow down in the hay. Continuing Black Swallowtail and Spicebush Swallowtails in the yard. Then a flyby Red Admiral while changing out the water for the birds.

[Very interesting find of buckeye cats in action in February! Common buckeye's overwintering status in our area seems uncertain or possibly changing. Gochfeld and Burger note that in 1997 the species' permanent range's northern border was believed to be North Carolina. They were not believed to overwinter in any form in NJ. Our residents were migrants from the south or the offspring of migrants – and only survived by heading south in fall. Cech and Tudor (2005) report virtually the same thing, "Resident across southern U.S., pushes north each spring."

We have had on the log a handful of sightings of adults possibly over-wintering: Jan 2, 2016; Dec 31, 2015; Jan 29, 2012; and possibly other dates I haven't tracked down. We have no previous reports of caterpillars of the species over-wintering here, however. Both adults and cats apparently over-wintering here (at least occasionally) is either a sign of more observers out looking than in the pre-log years or a sign of climate change having an effect on the species – or both.

Exciting find! jc]

[Update: Will Kerling has reminded me of an intriguing find he and Mike Crewe made on February 18, 2012 at Cape Island Creek Preserve (CMY), "Common Buckeye: fresh out of chrysalis with its wings drying! A really small butterfly with very dark topside and bottomside." This is further evidence that the usual understanding that buckeyes cannot survive NJ's winters may soon be changing. jc]

  • Black Swallowtail 0
  • Spicebush Swallowtail 0
  • Red Admiral 1
  • Common Buckeye 0

Common Buckeye

Spicebush Swallowtail

Black Swallowtail

Cynthia Allen

Cape May Point State Park
Cape May County, NJ

Only about 45-46 degrees, but sunny. Both Red Admirals were flying, with one landing on a sunny trunk.

  • Red Admiral 2

Jennifer Bulava

Batsto Village, Wharton State Forest
Burlington County, NJ

Mourning cloaks seen at 11:40am, sunning themselves on patches of sand near the parking area.

[Nice. Our third report of mourning cloaks for the year, first for February, first of the year of two individuals at one site, and the northernmost report of a butterfly in NJ so far this year. jc]

  • Mourning Cloak 2

Dolores Amesbury

My yard in CMCH
Cape May County, NJ

Mourning Cloak floated through the yard. Anglewing landed briefly but not long enough to ID.

  • Anglewing sp. 1
  • Mourning Cloak 1

James Dowdell

Villas-Cox Hall Creek WMA
Cape May County, NJ

2 Am. Snout actively fighting(or courting?) Also 3 large Black Rat Snake basking.

  • American Snout 4
  • Question Mark 1
  • Eastern Comma 1
  • Red Admiral 1

James Dowdell

Cape May Pt. State Park
Cape May County, NJ

Amazing snake activity today. 8 Ribbon snake, 2 Garter Snake,and 1 N. Watersnake seen between 9:30-11:30!

[A strange day to see 5x's more snakes than butterflies at the Point. -jm]

  • Red Admiral 2

Cynthia Allen

My yard in CMCH
Cape May County, NJ

What a great "winter" for this species! I've had four days this month with butterflies: Feb. 3, 4, 12, and 18.

  • Red Admiral 1

Tom Bailey

Palmyra Cove Nature Park
Burlington County, NJ

  • Eastern Comma 1

Brian Johnson

Bellplain state forest
Cape May County, NJ

Midday walk in Bellplain with friends. Interesting that we saw both Butterflies in the first 5 minutes. Walked for another 2 1/2 hours without seeing another.

  • Anglewing sp. 1
  • Eastern Comma 1

Mike Lee & C Wyluda

Edwin Forsythe- Brigatine Visitor Center Parking
Atlantic County, NJ

at about 1:17pm; bright sun in the 50s

  • Red Admiral 1

Marie Sheraden

Long Bridge Park, Hainesport
Burlington County, NJ

My friend sent me this photo of a snout she saw at Long Bridge Park today, so I am submitting this entry on her behalf. [Thanks to both of you for this. -jm]

  • American Snout 1

Brian Johnson

Natural lands preserve on Telegraph road
Salem County, NJ

At work today.

  • American Snout 1
  • Anglewing sp. 1

Chip Krilowicz

Riverwinds Scenic Trail
Gloucester County, NJ

  • Eastern Comma 1

Jennifer Bulava

Gale Property, North Hanover Twp
Burlington County, NJ

Restricted area, not open to public access.
Seen at 12:50pm.

  • Eastern Comma 1