Saturday, July 7, 2012

Sinlahekin Summer 2012: parade of butterflies

Now that I've built up a butterfly collection for the Sinlahekin and myself, I have been adding to my camera equipment and focusing more on photographing the butterflies I see and only collecting butterflies for new records, new locations, or to fill in other gaps in the collections.  It's difficult juggling a large camera with a heavy macro lens, external flash, a small notebook, pen, butterfly net, forceps (flat-tipped tweezers for handling butterflies), and assorted other gear!  So, sometimes I choose one over the other, and therefore may miss photographing a new species because I only have my net, or I miss collecting an important specimen because I only have my camera.  I was quite satisfied with my recent trip to the Sinlahekin though, because I only missed photographing a few of the species on my list, and I was able to collect several important specimens for the collection.  I plan to spread (pin, mount, and dry) those specimens later today, and will post photos of them once they are dry in a few days.

Below is an assortment of some of my favorite photos of live butterflies from my trip.  I have a new program (Adobe Lightroom) that I've been using to add copyright watermarks to my photos.  I noticed that it tends to make the whole picture a little more grainy (particularly in the Behr's Hairstreak photos), even when I turn off the options to convert the photo to different resolutions.  I hope it isn't too distracting, but I've been noticing my photos popping up in Google searches for these species, so I wanted to make sure they aren't being copied elsewhere without credit.  Please bear with me as I learn how to process all my photos!
Common Roadside Skipper Amblyscirtes vialis
Persius Duskywing Erynnis persius
Western Branded Skipper Hesperia colorado
Queen Alexandra's Sulphur Colias alexandra
Queen Alexandra's Sulphurs mudpuddling, Boisduval's Blue in the foreground
Behr's Hairstreak Satyrium behrii nectaring on Eriogonum heracleoides (parsley desert buckwheat)
Behr's Hairstreak Satyrium behrii nectaring on Eriogonum heracleoides (parsley desert buckwheat)
Behr's Hairstreak Satyrium behrii nectaring on Eriogonum heracleoides (parsley desert buckwheat)
Blue Copper Lycaena heteronea, male
Blue Copper Lycaena heteronea, male on Eriogonum heracleoides (parsley desert buckwheat)
Lilac-bordered Copper Lycaena nivalis, male
Lilac-bordered Copper Lycaena nivalis, male
Purplish Copper Lycaena helloides, female on Eriogonum heracleoides (parsley desert buckwheat)
Western Tailed Blue Cupido comyntas, female
Western Tailed Blue (male, center), Boisduval's Blue (left and rear), Cascadia Blue (top right), Lupine Blue (bottom right)
Silvery Blue Glaucopsyche lygdamus, male
Arrowhead Blue Glaucopsyche piasus
Cascadia Blue Euphilotes sp. (new species being described), male
Cascadia Blue Euphilotes sp., mating pair on an old flowerstalk of Eriogonum heracleoides (their larval hostplant)
Boisduval's Blue Plebejus icarioides, male
Lupine Blue Plebejus lupini, male
Anicia Checkerspot Euphydryas anicia - I set my butterfly net aside while photographing dozens of mudpuddling butterflies, and when I turned around, this little guy was sipping up my sweat on the net handle, not to mention it's bright red like a flower!
Anicia Checkerspot Euphydryas anicia
Field Crescent Phyciodes pulchella
Satyr Anglewing Polygonia satyrus, this one was so interested in the weatherstripping on my car door that it flew into my car twice after I shut the door!
Chryxus Arctic Oeneis chryxus, male
Mourning Cloak Nymphalis antiopa, normally these have a yellow border, but they overwinter as adults so this one is quite faded and tattered!
Lorquin's Admiral Limenitis lorquini
Lorquin's Admiral, Blue copper (top R), Cascadia Blue (top L),  Arrowhead Blue (bottom R), and Boisduval's Blues
Common Wood Nymph Cercyonis pegala on an old culvert in a ditch.
Lilac-bordered Copper (left), Field Crescent and Anicia Checkerspot (center), assorted blues
Boisduval's Blues and assorted other species
Boisduval's Blues, Cascadia Blues, Blue Copper (center rear), Lorquin's Admiral (front)


  1. Wow, what a great selection of photos! I'm hard pressed to pick a favorite, but I really like the Behr's head-on shot and the mating Cascadia Blues. Your skills are greatly improving with each post.


    1. Thanks for the compliment Bryan! I like the head-on shot too, not the greatest for illustrating a species, but it adds character!