California/Utah week 26

My first foray into mountainous northeast CA figured to significantly bump my species list, especially with three NABA counts scheduled - Lava Beds, Warner Mtns., and Yuba Pass, each followed by an open day to pursue species missed on count day.  In addition to numerous common species were several specialty targets, like Sierra Blue, Great Arctic, and W. Sooty Hairstreak.  Leona’s Little blue, limited to a small area in Klamath Co., flies near the Oregon border.  And at week’s end I pushed hard across Nevada into Utah for Rockslide Checkerspot and Magdalena Alpine, on the upland talus slopes of Mt. Murdock.

The confusing Speyeria (aren’t they always!?) fritillaries of the Warner Mtns. gave us many maddening moments, both in the field and during heated evening discussions as we sorted through photos and vouchers.  Zerene, Great Basin, Northwestern, Hydaspe, Coronis, and Callippe fritillaries zipped past in meadows and along trails, challenging us to identify by size, color, and flight behavior, rarely stopping to nectar.  Added to this bounty were blues (6 species), whites, skippers, checkerspots, and the occasional copper or hairstreak, for a count total of a staggering 89 species!

Special thanks to count organizers Joe Smith and Jennifer Tiehm (Lava Beds and the Warners) and Paul Opler and Evi Buckner (Yuba Pass) for both their coordination skills and assistance with difficult IDs.  Thanks also to the many field companions - Paul J., Dave, Lori, Laura, Candice, Margot, and others - who helped both locate and identify new Big Year species.  

New Species:  Clodius Parnassian Parnassius clodius, Stella Orangetip Anthocharis stella, Queen Alexandra's Sulphur Colias alexandra, Edith's Copper Lycaena editha, Ruddy Copper Lycaena rubidus, Behr's Hairstreak Satyrium behrii, Sagebrush Sooty Hairstreak Satyrium semiluna, Western Sooty Hairstreak Satyrium fuliginosa, Nelson's Hairstreak Callophrys nelsoni, Glaucon Blue Euphilotes glaucon, Leona’s Little Blue Philotiella leona, Anna’s Blue Plebejus anna, Shasta Blue Plebejus shasta, Sierra Blue Plebejus podarce, Zerene Fritillary Speyeria zerene, Great Basin Fritillary Speyeria egleis, Northwestern Fritillary Speyeria hesperis, Hydaspe Fritillary Speyeria hydaspe, Purplish Fritillary Boloria montinus, Rockslide Checkerspot Chlosyne whitneyi, Pale Crescent Phyciodes pallida, Edith's Checkerspot Euphydryas editha, Hoary Comma Polygonia gracilis, California Tortoiseshell Nymphalis californica, Weidemeyer's Admiral Limenitis weidemeyerii, Small Wood-Nymph Cercyonis oetus, Magdalena Alpine Erebia magdalena, Great Arctic Oeneis nevadensis, Mexican Cloudywing Thorybes mexicana, Russet Skipperling Piruna pirus, Garita Skipperling Oarisma garita, European Skipper Thymelicus lineola, Western Branded Skipper Hesperia colorado, Sandhill Skipper Polites sabuleti 

New Species:  34    Total trip species:  383   Species Photographed:  370


Leona’s Little Blue, Klamath Co., Oregon


Weidemeyer’s Admiral, Lamb’s Cyn. Rd., near Park City, UT


Great Arctic, Warner Mtns, NE California


Edith’s Copper, Warner Mtns., NE California

© Chris Tenney 2014