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Warming Days of July
Swede Park, Gray’s River
It’s delicious to be home for a bit between the High Sierra / High Rockies and the Olympics / North Cascades. True, there’s not much flying here compared to those butterfly-rich ranges, where I hugely enjoyed high times, among montane specialties such as Behr’s Sulphurs, Magdalena Alpines, and Melissa Arctics. Still, it was fine today to walk in our hills of home with Thea, recovered from a tough bout of chemotherapy, watching big cherry-spotted Clodius Parnassians.
I’ve been especially grateful lately for our public lands — BLM, NPS, USFWS, and especially USFS, which welcome butterfly nets. There’s nothing less helpful to the peripatetic naturalist than a barbed-wire fence with a big “NO TRESPASSING” sign. I prefer Woody Guthrie’s little-known verse: “But on the other side, it didn’t say nothin’, that side was meant for you and me.” Traveling this land as I am, I become more appreciative than ever of those lands held in trust — and in access — for us all.
Thea just came in with a big bowl of raspberries — I’ve got to go.
My visit to Colorado’s eastern slope was hosted and facilitated by dear friends Jan and Amy Chu of Boulder, whose good photos grace this entry. We prowled the Gambel’s Oak Country to see the extraordinary, amethyst-purple Colorado Hairstreak, the State Butterfly.
A few places I’ve been hanging out lately, along the butterfly highway.
[bottom] — And a good laugh! Well, they can’t always get these right.
And a few artifacts from the road —
Baltimore Pin, Illinois
Leaves from the Thunder Tree, Highline Canal, Colorado
[left feather] — from a Rocky Mountain Goshawk
[right feather] Steller’s Jay feather, and a Florida pea
Photos below by Janet Chu
Magdalena Alpine butterfly on the nose of Amy Chu
“Reserved for Bob,” Idaho Springs
Edwards’ Fritillary female, about to be released
RMP & Janet Chu at the Thunder Tree, High Line Canal, 33 years after first butterfly count there