Monday, July 16, 2012

On a Mission...

Maclay Flat, USFS property along Bitterroot River in Missoula, Montana, has a wet meadow that is attractive to the Red-veined Meadowhawk (Sympetrum madidum) and perhaps the Bronze Copper butterfly (Lycaena hyllus). I don't have a real good photo of a male red-veined and I have never seen the copper species...hey, let's go for it. Of course did some homework beforehand. This species of copper is found on wetland edges that have 'dock' plant species (genus is Rumex) growing.
Arrived at the site about 2 pm, ~85F, WNW wind >10 mph at times. Right off found Melissa Blue butterflies (Plebejus melissa) along moist spots on trail.

Many meadowhawks were also seen the trail that borders an irrigation ditch, here's a Cherry-faced Meadowhawk (Sympetrum internum).
Cherry-faced Meadowhawk

A robust stand of sweet clover is growing along the trail in places...attractive for bees and...one Edith's Copper (Lycaena editha) butterfly.
Edith's Copper

Got to the wet meadow and found 'dock' growing, however found zero Bronze Copper and zero Red-veined Meadowhawk, hmmmmm. Called it a day and headed home. Decided to water some flowers around the yard and what do I find in the process...a Red-veined Meadowhawk 'hawking' insects from my garden.
Red-veined Meadowhawk
The nearest wetland is a mile away (riparian forest of the Bitterroot River)! It's funny that both butterflies and dragonflies aren't always found where they should be. Need to review the literature more for added understanding...or maybe not. Take home message, finding something great may just be out your back door.