Scientific and administrative advisor to eButterfly
One of the most difficult groups of butterflies to identify, particularly in western North America, is that of the greater fritillaries. On a recent camping trip to Alberta and Montana, the butterflies in this large group were high among the list of butterfly target species I had set for myself. Many would be lifers – if I could find and identify them.
Ten Steps to Better Butterfly Photography (new camera optional)
Summer is here and many of us are eager to get out butterflying with our cameras to bring images home to share with our butterflying buddies. While I don’t fancy myself as an expert photographer, I sure love to photograph butterflies and other insects. I realized over time that many tricks I took for granted to approach butterflies were foreign to many naturalists especially those new to it. After sharing some tips on how to approach butterflies and better photograph them with friends and colleagues and seeing them come back with much improved results and more species than they use to find, I thought this might be helpful to share.
Here are my 10 steps to better butterfly photography. Note these tips apply to any kind of camera from a smartphone to a professional DSLR with a macro lens. It isn’t always about the camera!
Super Bloom and Super Butterflies in Southern California
By Peter Hall, scientific and administrative advisor to eButterfly, Ottawa, Ontario
Following a wet and cool winter in Southern California, this spring created a ‘super bloom’ of flowering plants and a visit there also produced a super butterfly crop of observations. For three weeks, from March 14 to April 3, my wife Judy and I travelled around San Diego and Riverside Counties staying in the Colorado Desert, the Laguna Mountains and on the La Jolla coastline.
The number and diversity of flowering plants was astounding with valleys and canyons completely carpeted in flowers of more than a hundred varieties, including chuparosa, wild heliotrope, desert dandelion and a variety of poppies, sunflowers and lupines – and that’s not even to mention the large variety of cacti just starting to flower.
Painted Lady butterflies by the thousands are pushing northward in southern California. Like Monarch butterflies, with which they are sometimes confused, Painted Ladies are now heading northward to breed. But they’re not as predictable as Monarchs. Where exactly are they going? With a massive effort by volunteer citizen scientists, we can begin to piece together this migratory puzzle with butterfly checklisting. (more…)
Butterfly Records for South Carolina: 1 June – 30 November 2018
By Dennis M Forsythe, Emeritus Professor of Biology, The Citadel, Charleston, SC
Other than a successful Carolina Butterfly Society sponsored weekend 2-3 June to the Francis Marion National Forest, butterfly numbers and diversity were very low across all of South Carolina during June-August. A Midlands Chapter CBS field trip scheduled for 25 June to the Enoree District, Sumter NF, was canceled because of the lack of butterflies. Things did not improve until late August. As Harry LeGrande commented elsewhere the 2nd brood of butterflies seemed to be 2-3 weeks early this fall. So my 4 September visit to the Carolina Sand Hills NWR failed to locate any of the expected Dotted Skipper but instead found a Meske’s Skipper, a species which is more usual in late September-early October.
On June 19, 2015, five intrepid lepidopterists – Jacques Larrivée, Chris Schmidt, Rick Cavasin, Peter Hall and Max Larrivée – set out to explore the east side of James Bay in Quebec and identify the bogs to be monitored along a 10 degree latitudinal transect. Fast-forward to 2018 and this time, as a pre-trip to the LepSoc meeting in Ottawa, a new team of entomologists with a varied range of expertise, skill, and interests was put together to follow on the steps of that first 2015 expedition. Maxim Larivée, Rick Cavasin, Pierre de Tonnancour, Steven Daniel, Mark Walker, Toomas Tammaru, Patricia Barcellos, and Rodrigo Solis-Sosa met in Ottawa on July 3rd, 2018 and set out for an unforgettable experience. (more…)