Johnsondale, CA 5/27/00

Mark Walker MWalker at
Sat Jun 3 04:21:23 EDT 2000

Camping and Whitewater rafting on the Kern River with my family this past
holiday weekend.  My littlest couldn't ride the whitewater, so I had the
pleasure of escorting her all around the Kern River Valley looking for Leps.
What a little trooper she is!

We drove all around - including up and over Sherman Pass - which has still
got a good amount of snow on it.  Lots of Leps all over the place - as you
would expect for this time of the year.  Up high we saw mostly Nymphalis
californica - but boy is it having a banner year.  I must have seen 150 fly
across the road on my way up the pass.  Many appear to be freshly emerged,
too.  Other high altitude bugs flying include Euchloe hyantis (California
Marble) - which was also fairly common.  In the meadows on the east side you
can find Plebejus saepiolus flying.  One female for every 20 males.  I have
a bizarro anecdote - while netting a few of these pretty little blues, I
decided to put one in a jar for inspection.  Like always, I tossed the lid
to the ground while getting the Lep out of the net.  When I went to put the
lid back on the jar, I couldn't find the lid anywhere.  I looked and looked
- combing through the grass, looking under logs, looking in my pockets, and
just about going crazy.  Little Gabrielle suggested that perhaps the lid
went down one of the small rodent holes that were in the vicinity.  I
laughed and said "no, that couldn't be", and continued to drive myself mad
looking for the missing lid.  Finally, with no other ideas - I squinted my
eyes and attempted to peer into the 3" diameter hole.  As my eyes adjusted
slowly, I began to see something reflecting light way down deep in the hole.
I couldn't believe it!  There was my jar lid!

What was I to do?  What was any good father of a petite little girl to do?
"Gabrielle, do you think you can slip your little hand down that there hole
and grab my jar lid?", I asked in dismay.  Without hesitation, the fearless
girl that I call "Chilly" had her arm down the hole nearly to her armpit.
Out she came with the lid.

"Do you think there are any snakes in that hole, Dad?", she asked about 10
minutes later.  "Perhaps", I said with a slight flinch.  I left it at that.
I found a nice little pool in the creek where my little girl decided to take
a swim.  "Maybe a mouse came out and pulled your lid down that hole, Dad",
she retorted.

"Perhaps", said Dad.

I think she was starting to really ponder the possibility that her hand was
not alone in that hole.  Well, you can imagine what Mom had to say when she
found out that Dad encouraged his daughter to stick her hand down some
unknown animal dwelling.  But I got my lid!  For awhile there I thought I
was going to have to start taking photos instead!

(By the way - Nice pictures of that Gold Banded Skipper, Emmitt.  I was
looking for the pin through the thorax, but couldn't find it anywhere ]:>)

Down at lower elevations there were Euphydryas chalcedona, Chlosyne palla,
Glaucopsyche lygdamus, Plebejus icarioides, Plebejus lupini, Speyeria
callippe, and many others.  Here's a complete list from 3000 ft. - 8000 ft.

Papilio zelicaon (Anise Swallowtail)
Papilio rutulus (Western Tiger Swallowtail)
Papilio eurymedon (Pale Swallowtail)

Pontia protodice (Checkered White)
Euchloe hyantis (California Marble)
Anthocharis sara (Sara Orangetip)

Colias eurytheme (Orange Sulpher)

Lycaena gorgon (Gorgon Copper)
Satyrium californica (California Hairstreak)
Satyrium sylvinus (Sylvan Hairstreak)
Satyrium tetra (Mountain Mahogany Hairstreak)
Callophrys augustinus (Brown Elfin)
Brephidium exile (Western Pygmy Blue)
Leptotes marina (Marine Blue)
Celastrina ladon (Spring Azure)
Glaucopsyche lygdamus (Silvery Blue)
Plebejus saepiolus (Greenish Blue)
Plebejus icarioides (Boisduval's Blue)
Plebejus acmon (Acmon Blue)
Plebejus lupini (Lupine Blue)

Apodemia mormo (Mormon Metalmark)

Speyeria callippe (Callippe Fritillary)
Chlosyne palla (Northern Checkerspot)
Phyciodes mylitta (Mylitta Crescentspot)
Phyciodes campestris (Field Crescentspot)
Euphydryas chalcedona (Variable Checkerspot)
Nymphalis californica (California Tortoiseshell)
Vanessa virginiensis (American Painted Lady)
Vanessa atalanta (Red Admiral)
Adepha bredowii (California Sister)
Coenonympha tullia (California Ringlet)

Mark Walker
Mission Viejo, CA

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