Butterflies of Marlborough Forest (2020)

Mustard White

One of the reasons I enjoyed visiting the two new trails in Marlborough Forest so much this year was the wide variety in butterfly species. Even though I didn’t start visiting until mid-June and missed several early-flying butterflies I was still impressed with the different species I found, which included representatives from all five families: swallowtails, whites and sulphurs, gossamer-winged butterflies, brushfoots, and skippers. What was particularly amazing was the number of species that were either lifers for me (Common Roadside Skipper, Two-spotted Skipper) or species that I don’t see very often (Mustard White, Acadian Hairstreak, Aphrodite Fritillary, Baltimore Checkerspot, Crossline Skipper). I visited these two trails seven times between June 19th and August 8th; every visit featured a different suite of species. Skippers were most most varied between the middle of June and the beginning of July; by the end of that month I saw only a few Dun Skippers and a Crossline Skipper – a species I have only seen once before. While the trails were full of crescents and brown butterflies such as Eyed Browns and Little Wood Satyrs in June and at the beginning of July, by the middle of the month they had been replaced with Common Wood-nymphs and fritillaries. Here is a list of species that I saw on those visits.


  1. Black Swallowtail
  2. Midsummer Tiger Swallowtail

Whites and Sulphurs

  1. Mustard White
  2. Cabbage White
  3. Clouded Sulphur
Mustard White

Mustard White

Gossamer-winged Butterflies

  1. Acadian Hairstreak
  2. Coral Hairstreak
  3. Northern Spring Azure
  4. Silvery Blue


  1. Great-spangled Fritillary
  2. Aphrodite Fritillary
  3. Pearl Crescent
  4. Northern Crescent
  5. Baltimore Checkerspot
  6. Eastern Comma
  7. Grey Comma
  8. Mourning Cloak
  9. White Admiral
  10. Viceroy
  11. Northern Pearly-eye
  12. Eyed Brown
  13. Little Wood Satyr
  14. Common Wood-nymph


  1. Northern Cloudywing
  2. Dreamy Duskywing
  3. Arctic Skipper
  4. Least Skipper
  5. Peck’s Skipper
  6. Tawny-edged Skipper
  7. Crossline Skipper
  8. Long Dash Skipper
  9. Hobomok Skipper
  10. Two-spotted Skipper
  11. Dun Skipper
  12. Common Roadside Skipper

Although I don’t imagine I can add too many more species to this list, I am looking forward to returning in the spring when early-flying species such as Canadian Tiger Swallowtail, Henry’s Elfin, Eastern Pine Elfin, Compton’s Tortoiseshell, and Juvenal’s Duskywing will be flying. Other species I should be able to find over the summer include Bronze Copper, Banded Hairstreak, Common Ringlet, Monarch, Red Admiral, and perhaps Painted or American Lady depending on whether good numbers of migrants arrive in the spring. And, with luck, perhaps I can even find some of the less common sedge skippers or gossamer-winged butterflies!

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