Saturday, September 9, 2017

Kittitas County - July 14-15, 2017


A few photos from near Haney Meadows and Reecer Creek Canyon in Kittitas County during the Washington Butterfly Association annual conference earlier this year.
Field Crescent (Phyciodes pulchella) male at a small meadow northeast of Haney Meadow, Kittitas County, WA.
Hoffman's Checkerspot (Chlosyne hoffmanni) at a small meadow northeast of Haney Meadow, Kittitas County, WA.
Field Crescents (Phyciodes pulchella) female (left) and male (right) at a small meadow northeast of Haney Meadow.
Rocky meadow northeast of Haney Meadow, perfect habitat for fritillaries, sulphurs and parnassians.
Moist meadows along the forest road between Haney Meadow (north) and Reecer Creek Canyon (south).
This area was part of the Table Mountain Fire a few years ago. This spot is good for a variety of butterflies,
especially Mormon Fritillaries (Speyeria mormonia).
California Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis californica) caterpillars on snowbrush (Ceanothus velutinus) in Reecer Creek Canyon.
California Tortoiseshell (N. californica) caterpillars on snowbrush (Ceanothus velutinus) in Reecer Creek Canyon.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Skamania County - July 4, 2017

Skamania County has become of particular interest to me in recent years. It seems to be relatively unexplored by Lepidopterists (except for the area close to the Columbia River), so offers the opportunity for new discoveries, and it is an easy day trip for me. In 2015, I found an Acmon Blue (Icaricia acmon), which turned out to be a new Skamania County record. Since then, I have found several more Acmon Blues in at least two locations. This summer I found another new county record, a Northern Checkerspot (Chlosyne palla). Here are a few photos from my drive on the 4th of July.

Lorquin's Admirals (Limenitis lorquini) on dogbane along Forest Road 68.
There were at least a dozen here but all moving too quick for me to get any sharp images.
Barred or Spotted owl, one of five I saw at different spots along Forest Road 68 on my way to the Grassy Knoll trail head.
Snowberry Checkerspot (Euphydryas colon) female on Globe Gilia.
Snowberry Checkerspot (Euphydryas colon) male (right) harassing a female (left) on Globe Gilia.
Two-tailed Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio multicaudata) on Globe Gilia along Forest Road 68.
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) on northern or arrowleaf buckwheat (Eriogonum compositum) at the Grassy Knoll trail head.
Mount Adams, view from the east side of the Indian Heaven Wilderness, southwest of Mount Adams.
Newly-emerged Anna's Blue (Plebejus anna) at Peterson Prairie.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Steens Mountain and Catlow Valley

The deserts of southeastern Oregon inspire a sense of awe and wonder in their remoteness and rugged beauty. I spent several days at the foothills of Steens Mountain over Memorial Day weekend earlier this year. Due to the heavy snowfall this winter, the Steens Mountain Loop Road was still partly closed, but my parents and I explored the southern segment and saw many butterflies, wild horses, birds and a few pronghorn antelope. The majority of butterflies we saw were Boisduval's Blues (Icaricia icarioides), Queen Alexandra's Sulphurs (Colias alexandra) and Juniper Hairstreaks (Callophrys gryneus). Because this was a new area for me, I concentrated more on collecting butterflies rather than photography (nearly everything were new subspecies to me and one new species, the Bauer's Blue!) so most of these photos are iPhone pics I managed to snap between running around with a net.

Boisduval's Blues (Icaricia icarioides) puddling on mud around a seasonal pool southwest of Steens Mountain.
Seasonal pool southwest of Steens Mountain; a herd of wild horses came through here earlier in the morning.
Boisduval's Blues (Icaricia icarioides) puddling on mud around a seasonal pool southwest of Steens Mountain.
Boisduval's Blues (Icaricia icarioides) puddling on mud around a seasonal pool southwest of Steens Mountain.
Phlox and other wildflowers southwest of Steens Mountain, looking east.
Phlox and other wildflowers southwest of Steens Mountain, looking west towards Catlow Valley.
Two wild horses near a large pond south of Steens Mountain.
Bull snake on the Steens Mountain Loop Road.
South end of Steens Mountain, looking east.
South end of Steens Mountain, looking east.
Juba Skipper (Hesperia juba) on phlox at Steens Mountain.
Steens Mountain, looking northeast. 
Large valley southwest of Steens Mountain, looking north/northwest.
Steens Mountain (left) and landscape to the southeast.


Another day we explored the Catlow Valley, a large basin west of Steens Mountain and east of Hart Mountain Wildlife Refuge. The majority of butterflies in this area were Desert Marbles (Euchloe lotta), Queen Alexandra's Sulphurs (Colias alexandra), Bauer's Blues (Euphilotes baueri) and Common Checkered Skippers (Pyrgus communis).
Bull and Yellow-headed Blackbird on a ranch in the Catlow Valley.
Rock Creek Reservoir on the western edge of Catlow Valley, where I saw thousands of Bauer's Blues.
Mom photographing swallows nesting in the large culvert at Rock Creek Reservoir.
Cushion Buckwheat (Eriogonum ovalifolium), host plant of Bauer's Blue.
Bauer's Blues (Euphilotes baueri) at Rock Creek Reservoir.
Bauer's Blues (Euphilotes baueri) at Rock Creek Reservoir.
Bauer's Blues (Euphilotes baueri) at Rock Creek Reservoir.
Bauer's Blues (Euphilotes baueri) at Rock Creek Reservoir.
Bauer's Blues (Euphilotes baueri) at Rock Creek Reservoir.
Bauer's Blues (Euphilotes baueri) at Rock Creek Reservoir.
Bauer's Blues (Euphilotes baueri) at Rock Creek Reservoir.
Hart Mountain in the distance, from the eastern edge of Hart Mountain National Wildlife Refuge.
Panorama of Warner Lakes on the western edge of Hart Mountain National Wildlife Refuge, looking west.
Anicia Checkerspot (Euphydryas anicia) at Hart Mountain National Wildlife Refuge.
Pronghorn antelope at Hart Mountain National Wildlife Refuge.
Pronghorn antelope with two babies (center right) at Hart Mountain National Wildlife Refuge


On our way home we took a slight detour to the Painted Hills, my first time there and the first time my parents had been since they were kids!
Sheep Rock (pointed mountain) and John Day Fossil Beds visitor center (left).
John Day Fossil Beds National Monument visitor center.
Entrance to the Painted Hills.
Painted Hills! 
Painted Hills 
Painted Hills
Painted Hills
Painted Hills