Monterey to Arizona Week 39

Back in Monterey most of this week (family matters - wedding, etc.).  But by week’s end, Arizona beckoned yet again: a 4-day loop route north to Payson, west to Jerome and Parker, south to Yuma, then east to Sycamore and Madera canyons . . . mostly visiting sites, recommended by Jim Brock, for several target species.

A strong flight of Mormon metalmarks entertained me at several stops up the Mogollon Rim near Payson, but on Mt. Ord road, a possible Bauer’s giant-skipper disappeared upslope before I could confirm ID.  However the hoped-for Orange giant-skipper (photo 2 below) in the hills above Jerome more than compensated.  On a wind-blasted hilltop, at least two strong-flying males engaged in bouts of lively pursuit from rocky perches, while Fulvia and Theona checkerspots sheltered in clumps of grass.

A bit farther upslope from Jerome, meadows around Potato Patch campground offered my best chance for Apache skipper.  An hour of meadow-traipsing produced a dozen species, but no skippers.  Just steps from my car, I paused to put away my camera only to watch in wonder as a striking Apache (photo 3 below) landed delicately in the grass at my shoe-tops.  One of many serendipitous moments on this journey.

New Species:  Apache Skipper Hesperia woodgatei, Orange Giant-Skipper Agathymus neumoegeni 

New Species:  2    Total trip species:  485   Species Photographed:  473


Mormon metalmark, Mt. Ord road, near Payson, AZ


Orange giant-skipper, hilltopping, Jerome, AZ

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Apache skipper, Potato Patch campground, Jerome, AZ

© Chris Tenney 2014