Journal archives for June 2013

June 04, 2013

Pinnacles Butterfly Count - My 10th Year

I actually told my friend Paul Johnson a decade ago that he should start a count there with all the cool things flying there. When I first met Paul he was the on-site herpetologist working on Red-legged Frog reintroduction, and to say he was "getting into butterflies" was an understatement: he'd talked the National Monument into it's first moth inventory and he's actually discovered a new sphingid-to-science ( DNA still being worked out). Ten years later, he is THE wildlife biologist for the place and it's a National Park now. It's always VERY HOT in this zeric place, but worth it.
iNat made it difficult to just focus on butterflies, but Pinnacles always kicks off the count season ( 4 weeks prior/after 4th of July ).
Driving towards the campsite, I watched a magnificent Bobcat saunter across road: a treat to gaze on such an illusive creature.
Walked with my friend Bill Shepard and an intern working on the Condors there, Nathan Peeling. Butterflies my group saw this day -
SOUTH WILDERNESS TRAIL 9am - 2:30pm ( only got to 95 degrees...)
1) Western Tiger ( P. rutulus )
2) Checkered White ( P. protodice )
3) Orange Sulfur ( C. eurytheme )
4) California Sister ( A. californicus )
5) Lorquin's Admiral ( L. limentis )
6) Variable Checkerspot ( E. chalcedona ) - only six/ crazy low #
7) Mylitta Crescent ( P. mylitta )
8) Common Buckeye ( J. coenia )
9) Callippe Fritillary ( S. callippe ssp.maracria )
It really was a day for the Lycaenids ...
10) Hedgerow Hairstreak ( S. saepium ) - a bizillion
11) California Hairstreak ( S. californica )
12) Brown Elfin ( I. augustinus )
13) Great Gray Copper ( L. xanthoides ) - a bizillion
14) Tailed Copper ( L. arota )
15) Gorgon Copper ( L. gorgon)
16) Echo Blue ( C. ladon)
17) Acmon Blue ( P. acmon )
18) San Bernadino Blue ( E. battoides bernadino ) - a bizillion
19) California Ringlet ( C. tullia )
20) Great Basin Wood Nymph ( C. sthenele ) - two/ very cool
21) Rural Skipper ( O. agricola )
22) Large White Skipper ( H. ericetorum) Bug-of-the-Day by far. Not in number but just seeing this rare bushmallow obligate.

Posted on June 04, 2013 00:05 by robberfly robberfly | 18 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

June 12, 2013

19th Annual San Francisco Butterfly Count

Greetings Butterfly Lovers -

The Meteorologists came through for us; Sunday, June 8th was indeed a warm one. Such a relief for me walking up that hill to the Randall Museum with actual butterfly weather over my head. But where they got it wrong was the Marine Layer, predicted to return the next day, came roaring back like a freight train around noon and skunked out the East Side/Presidio groups. Those of us combing the west of the county did well and those of us who got to the two northeastern islands in the count - Angel and Yerba Buena - did exceptionally well.

16 people in 9 parties spread throughout the 15-mile-across count circle, with Mount Olympus as the geographic center.
The Results of the 19th Annual San Francisco Butterfly Count,
(sponsored by the North American Butterfly Association) were:

Western Tiger Swallowtail (P. rutulus) -- 31, Anise Swallowtail (P. zelicaon) --32, Pipevine Swallowtail (B. philenor) - 155 ( That was a Record High for this species for this count- thanks Al DeMartini out on Angel Island - 140 alone!), Cabbage White (Pieris rapae) -120 , Gray Hairstreak (S. melinus)-- 4, Spring Azure/Echo Blue (C. ladon echo) - 82, Acmon Blue (P. acmon) --7, Gulf Fritillary( A. vanillae) -- 8 (dependable population at Alemany Farm) , Field Crescent (P. puchella) - 13 , Mylitta Crescent (P. mylitta) - 10, California Sister (A. bredowii) - 18 ( *Angel Island - rare in our city proper), American Painted Lady (V. virginiensis) --2, Painted Lady (V. cardui) -4 , West Coast Painted Lady (V. annabella) -- 8, Red Admiral (V. atalanta)--30 , Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia) --66 , ' California' Common Ringlet (C. tullia californica) --8 , *Common Wood Nymph (C. pegala) -- 21, *Mournful Duskywing (E. tristis) -- 1, Common Checkered-Skipper (P. communis)--29 , Fiery Skipper (H. phyleus) -- 7, Sandhill Skipper( P. sabuleti) - 17, Umber Skipper (P. melane) -29 , Rural Skipper (O. agricola) (First time to Count. I actually discovered this species breeding in our county a few years back while surveying Coast Guard property on Yerba Buena Island) - 1
Unidentified Papilionidae: 0, Unid Ladies: 2 , Unid. Nymphalidae: 7,Unid. Hesperiidae: 21, Unid. Lycaenidae: 5
Total species: 24 (last year- 26), Total individuals: 773 (last year - 916) .
Observations: 1)The season was advanced out there, more like mid-summer. Many butterflies came and went quickly because of the low rain we had in the spring. Holding the count this early in the Count Season ( June 1st - July 31st), I thought we might get the jump on the last of the spring fliers: Large Marbles, Mission Blues ( I still dream of bringing a Green Hairstreak to this count...), but California has a way of doing anything it wants when it comes to "spring". 2) I also thought it was interesting that Al did not see any Cabbage Whites out on Angel Island. Might be an reflection of weed control and restoration? 3) No Orange Sulfurs this year - the guaranteed population on Lobos Dunes in the Presidio remained hunkered down in the inclement weather. 4) Didn't have enough parties to get to Heron's Head for Pygmy Blues.
A big thanks to all involved.
Mark your calendars - next year is the Count's 20th Anniversary. Wanna do something big to celebrate

Posted on June 12, 2013 01:56 by robberfly robberfly | 11 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment