California Week 22

While enroute to the White Mtns. in the AZ highlands, all the colds, flu-bugs, and other ailments I’ve avoided this year apparently conspired to clobber me simultaneously.  Survival instinct thus drove me downslope for refuge at my sister Lynn’s place near Phoenix, despite the likely loss of some 5-10 target species.  I returned to CA the next day.  

Strategically, I should be back east now, chasing species like Baltimore checkerspot, but four Monterey butterfly counts are scheduled this first week of June.  The first of these at Pinnacles NP count gave me Anise swallowtail, and pre-count scouting efforts added Coronis fritillary, Pacuvius duskywing, Smith’s dotted-blue, and Oreas comma.

Unexpectedly missed was the Unsilvered fritillary (Speyeria adiaste).  For the past four years I’ve monitored one of the few remaining colonies of this rarity, now a virtual endemic to upper pine-grasslands in Monterey County, CA.  This species flies late May-Aug, but cool weather this May likely has delayed its flight.  I will certainly add this species on a later June survey, but with growning concern over a 4-year dramatic decline in numbers (coincident with the drought) and reduction in length of flight season.

Sunday, June 7th I leave for Tennessee and hopefully some 20+ new eastern species . . .

New Species:  Anise Swallowtail Papilio zelicaon, Pacific Dotted Blue Euphilotes enoptes smithi, Coronis Fritillary Speyeria coronis, Oreas Comma Polygonia oreas, Pacuvius Duskywing Erynnis pacuvius

New Species:  5    Total trip species:  284   Species Photographed:  272


Smith’s dotted-blue, on Eriogonum fasciculatum, Malpaso Canyon, Carmel, CA


Coronis fritillary, Chews Ridge, Monterey county, CA


Mylitta crescent, female, Hatton Canyon, Carmel, CA

© Chris Tenney 2014