Late Report - 5/30-31

Mark Walker MWalker at
Tue Jun 8 02:38:39 EDT 1999

The family spent the long weekend (U.S. holiday) up in Independence, CA on
the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountains.  We were camping, trying to
spend a little time together after my long trip east.  As usual, I did
manage to spend a little time looking for flying insects.  Not a lot of Lep
activity on the eastern side (still a little early).  I drove up to Whitney
Portal, and saw Celastrina ladon (Spring Azure) drinking from spring fed
mud.  They were sharing the good water and minerals with an unidentified
Erynnis.  Mount Whitney is a stunning sight from the road to the trailhead -
worth the trip even if you don't get out of the car.  Plenty of snow above
9000 ft.

Driving back down to Lone Pine, I took a detour behind the back side of the
Alabama Hills.  Here, tucked in a wet canyon, I found plenty of fresh
Phyciodes campestris (Field Crescent) and Limenitis lorquini (Lorquiin's

Just above Grays Meadow, on the road to Onion Valley, my children and I
enjoyed more Erynnis, Celastrina, and Plebejus (including acmon).  Pretty
windy here, and hard to identify anything.

In the Owen's Valley, the most common butterflies were Papilio rutulus
(Western Tiger Swallowtail) and Leptotes marina (Marine Blue).   

On Monday, May 31, we drove to Lake Isabella and south to Tehachapi.  We
were pleased to run into many different butterflies over on the southwestern
side of the mountains.  The highlights here were:

Lycaena arota (Tailed Copper) - suprisingly common
Lycaena gorgon (Gorgon Copper)
Satyrium californica (California Hairstreak)
Satyrium tetra (Mahogany Hairstreak)
Euphydryas chalcedona (Variable Checkerspot)
Chlosyne palla (Northern Checkerspot)
Chlosyne gabbi (Gabb's Checkerspot)
Thassalia leanira wrightii (Leanira {Wright's?} Checkerspot)
Limenitis lorquini (Lorquin's Admiral)
Adelpha bredowii (California Sister)
Coenonympha tullia california (California Ringlet)
Vanessa atalanta (Red Admiral)
Danaus plexippus (Monarch)
Plebejus acmon (Acmon Blue)
Plebejus marina (Marine Blue)

Too bad I'm spending so little time in California these days.  The summer
Leps are warming up nicely.

Mark Walker
presently in Atlanta, GA.

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