Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Desert Marbles!

This past weekend I had the opportunity to visit my old stomping grounds in central Washington, between Kittitas and Vantage. It was gorgeous weather and the spring flowers were in full display tucked among the sagebrush. Between the two days, I recorded the following species:

Anise Swallowtail Papilio zelicaon, 1
Becker's White Pontia beckerii, 5+
Spring White Pontia sisymbrii, 7+
Large Marble Euchloe ausonides, 3
Desert Marble Euchloe lotta, 100+
Sara's Orangetip Anthocharis sara, 15+ males, 4 females
Clouded Sulphur Colias philodice, 1 female
Sheridan's Green Hairstreak Callophrys sheridanii, 10
Western Pine Elfin Callophrys eryphon, 2
Gray Hairstreak Strymon melinus, 3
Silvery Blue Glaucopsyche lygdamus, 2 males
Gray/Zephyr Anglewing Polygonia gracilis, 1 female, possibly saw 2 others

This is the first time I've seen and collected Desert Marbles, so it was quite exciting! I also had the opportunity to watch a pair of Desert Marbles courting, flying around the sagebrush for about a minute before settling to mate, which allowed me the only opportunity to photograph this species without capturing it, as they seem to fly continuously, only stopping for a few seconds to nectar, never long enough to focus a camera!

My very first Desert Marble (Euchloe lotta)!
Mating pair of Desert Marbles (Euchloe lotta), female is larger, on left, male is on right.
Mating pair of Desert Marbles (Euchloe lotta), female is larger, on left, male is on right.

Also, here is a selection of the wildflowers that were blooming...

Sagebrush violets Viola trinervata
Sagebrush violets and cushion phlox (Phlox hoodii)
Cushion phlox (Phlox hoodii)
Dry-ground lupine (Lupinus aridus) (maybe, not sure)
Woolly-pod locoweed (Astragalus purshii)
As near as I can tell, this is either hanging-pod locoweed (Astragalus arrectus) or thread-stalk locoweed (A. filipes)
Some kind of green paintbrush
Hooker's Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza hookeri)
Assortment of shrub-steppe spring flowers in Kittitas County
Buckwheat (Eriogonum sp.)
A half-grown Pygmy Short-horned Lizard, it was barely an inch long snout to vent.
Catching butterflies (dad) and photographing flowers (mom) in the Whiskey Dick Wildlife Area

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