Sunday, May 5, 2013

Deschutes River Canyon trip report

Yesterday, May 4, I spent the day exploring the Deschutes River Canyon in the recreational area north of Sherar's Bridge (north of Maupin and south of The Dalles) in Oregon.  I arrived around 10:30am and the temperature was already up to a warm 72F.  By the time I left around 3pm, the temperature had climbed to 84F, although a few places I stopped at had registered 88F.  It was very breezy all day with frequent gusts probably up to 30mph, which made photographing very many plants and butterflies rather difficult, but I still managed to get a nice species list. The highlight was finding a Lorquin's Admiral (Limenitis lorquini) caterpillar on coyote (aka sandbar) willow (Salix exigua).  Although I see many adult Lorquin's every year, this is the first larva I've seen of that species.  Also, unless I'm much mistaken, I think I saw a Monarch go zipping by in the wind. The glimpse I had was only a second or two, but it looked as big as a swallowtail and glinted orange in the sun, so I'm not sure what else it could have been.
Update 5/6/2013 - a local butterfly expert who studies monarch migration affirmed that monarchs have been seen moving northward much more rapidly this year than in recent history, so what I saw was very likely one of the first to arrive in this area this year.
Species list for the day:
Pholisora catallus - Common Sootywing x5
Hesperia juba - Juba Skipper x7
Papilio zelicaon - Anise Swallowtail x1
Papilio indra - Indra Swallowtail x3
Papilio rutulus - Western Tiger Swallowtail x1
Papilio multicaudata - Two-tailed Swallowtail x1
Colias sp. - unidentified sulphur (flew by in the wind)
Pontia beckerii - Becker's White x8
Plebejus melissa - Melissa Blue x1 slightly-worn male
Plebejus lupini/acmon - Lupine/Acmon Blue x9 (fresh males, all associated with Eriogonum compositum)
Plebejus icarioides - Boisduval's Blue x4 (all fresh males)
Nymphalis antiopa - Mourning Cloak x1
Limenitis lorquini - Lorquin's Admiral, 1 larva
Coenonympha tullia - Ochre Ringlet 10+
Danaus plexippus - Monarch x1

For reference, the Lorquin's Admiral caterpillar is a little over an inch long, and yes, it is supposed to look like a bird dropping!
Lorquin's Admiral Limenitis lorquini larva on Coyote Willow Salix exigua
Lorquin's Admiral Limenitis lorquini larva 
Lorquin's Admiral Limenitis lorquini larva 
Lorquin's Admiral Limenitis lorquini larva 
Lorquin's Admiral pre-pupal larva
Lorquin's Admiral pre-pupal larva
Indra Swallowtail Papilio indra on the shore of the Deschutes River north of Maupin, Oregon
Boisduval's Blue Plebejus icarioides (left) and Lupine/Acmon Blue P. lupini/acmon, both males
Lupine/Acmon Blue P. lupini/acmon male
Becker's White Pontia beckerii male
Juba Skipper Hesperia juba male
Ochre Ringlet Coenonympha tullia on lance-leaved stonecrop Sedum lanceolatum
Some kind of spider, hanging out with the tiger beetles
Twelve-spotted Tiger Beetle Cicindela doudecimguttata - the body of this little guy is only a half-inch long!
Northern buckwheat Eriogonum compositum
Lance-leaved stonecrop Sedum lanceolatum


  1. Nice photos, Caitlin! I'm glad it looks like you had a fun and successful day.

  2. Did you grab an underside view of that Pierid? It is a Euchloe species rather than Pontia beckerii but I don't want to guess from just the upperside view.

    1. I can see how you think that, but it is Becker's. If you look carefully at the hindwing you can kind of make out the ventral lines, rather than marbling. Also the gray markings on the wing tip are separated, not completely connected like Euchloe. See Butterflies of America to compare the two: