Monday, September 15, 2014

Butterfly Watching...Pick the Right Habitat for the Season

Bass Creek National Recreation Area (mature Ponderosa Pine habitat) is a premier butterfly watching late winter, spring and summer. Not so much late summer, early fall. Found only four species (9-15-14) of seven butterflies. Why? It might be lack of flowers (nectar) and moist soil (for uptake of minerals).

The grassland/Ponderosa Pine habitat immediate to my yard doesn't look like much. But embedded in the brown cured grasses is rabbitbrush (expanded blog treatment -, a nectar "well" for many butterfly species. Yesterday (9-14-14), under similar weather conditions as today, found seven species of butterfly comprising 25+ individuals. The photographic opportunity was...excellent (see below).

William Leach (2013) published Butterfly People An American Encounter with the Beauty of the World and summarized the butterfly naturalists of the 1800's: "...began their careers in this way, awash in the heat and smells of the meadows and forest, sensitive to something worth losing oneself in, worth knowing, worth a lifetime of vocational loyalty and reflection." That's how I feel, for sure not with their accomplishments though :-)

Try this activity... you will find it overlaps the many themes of history, culture, biology, ecology, research, exercise, critical thinking and learning to name a few.
Purplish Copper

Hoary Comma

Milbert's Tortoiseshell

Orange Sulphur

Painted Lady