California/Tennessee Week 23

After adding two wood-nymphs - Common and Great-basin - on the last two Monterey butterfly counts, it was off to Tennessee.  The best part of this week would be the camaraderie of reunion with Jeff Basham and Tommie Rogers, two locals who guided me to many eastern species this past April.  Are we too late for Baltimore checkerspot, too early for Diana?

The absence of Baltimores at a small wet marsh was softened somewhat by Jeff’s sighting of a few Dion Skippers.  The Baltimore was to remain elusive through the week.  After lunch, one sparkling male Diana (photo below) raised our spirits as it mingled with numbers of Great Spangled and at least one Aphrodite Fritillary.  The day ended with a puzzling dark skipper which, after study, we concluded must be a Yehl, missing a few spots on the HW below (see photo).

The next day Jeff took us to a backwater of the Tennessee River where, in water up to our knees, we watched Broad-winged skippers fluttering slowly among the grassy reeds along the water’s edge.  Jeff speculates their low flight enables them to evade the grasp of roving dragonflies.  This bug was an unexpected surprise, its occurrence here beyond the published range of the species.

On Wednesday Tommie and I, with her two grandsons, Joshua and Matthew, crossed the border into Georgia, following Tommie’s butterfly count route with a short list of a few potential new species.  But butterflies were scarce, as they have been these past few days (despite the respectable list of new species), possibly due to heavy rainfall in recent weeks.  So tomorrow we head south into Alabama, on a quest for Mitchell’s Satyr . . .

New Species:  Coral Hairstreak Satyrium titus, Banded Hairstreak Satyrium calanus, Summer Azure Celastrina neglecta, Appalachian Azure Celastrina neglectamajor, Diana Fritillary Speyeria diana, Great Spangled Fritillary Speyeria cybele, Aphrodite Fritillary Speyeris aphrodite, Northern Pearly-eye Enodia anthedon, Appalachian Brown Satyrodes appalachia, Common Wood-Nymph Cercyonis pegala, Great Basin Wood-Nymph Cercyonis sthenele, Hoary Edge Achalarus lyciades, Crossline Skipper Polites origenes, Little Glassywing Pompeius verna, Yehl Skipper Poanes yehl, Broad-winged Skipper Poanes viator, Dion Skipper Euphyes dion

New Species:  17    Total trip species:  301   Species Photographed:  290

Speyeria diana 

Diana Fritillary, male, Bakewell Mtn., Chattanooga, TN

Papilio glaucus

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, female, Chattanooga, TN

Poanes viator

Broad-winged Skipper, ovipositing female, Chattanooga, TN

Poanes yehl

Yehl Skipper, Bakewell Mtn., Chattanooga, TN

© Chris Tenney 2014