This July’s eButterflyer of the month is Alberta’s own Gary Anweiler. Gary has been associated with the Strickland Entomological Museum for 25 years now and wrote many of the lepidoptera species pages for the Virtual Museum site and is co-author of the annotated list of the Lepidoptera of Alberta, Canada published in 2010 and updated in 2014. He has has been one of our top contributors from Alberta since our humble beginnings in 2012 and has already contributed 46 checklists in 2014.
1) Why butterflies and how long have you been at it?
“I started at age 3 or 4 when a Banded purple landed on the wooden blocks of the pedals of my tricycle when the sun came out after a rain shower. Then a grandmother who sent me a Cecropia cocoon from Toronto which emerged. The magic had begun! My father also arranged to get some Riker Mounts or the 1940’s equivalent from the local Agriculture agent. We had no spreading boards for butterflies so my mother and I pressed the butterflies in a book the same as was done for flowers. Wax paper was used to keep them from sticking to the paper”.
2) What do you like about eButterfly?
“It provides a focus for a daily excursion. Another way to put it is that it is something one can do until hunting season opens in the fall. I have loved hunting as long as I can remember. It gives me a chance to use my expertise to provide data for a valuable environmental project. And it is a great incentive for an old guy (now 70) to get up and out there … much more enticing than a gym.”
3) What is your trick to taking such sharp and detailed beautiful photos?
It is a mix of things. Digital camera’s have freed us all… All the cost is up front and you can shoot forever for no additional cost. I take on average 50 shots of a single butterfly… Sometimes a hundred or more. Nearly always at least a few good shots therein. I frequently catch the butterfly and cool it in the fridge or in a picnic cooler for a bit and then turn it loose in a photogenic site or otherwise suitable habitat and then I Photoshop them as needed, crop, color balance etc, etc.
4) What is your favorite Alberta butterfly and your Alberta butterfly grail, the one you dream of seeing/catching/photographing?
….. hmmm. That is a tough one. Just about anything that I have never photographed before. I am rather fond of the skippers as they are very diverse and there are a lot of species and they have big eyes and “character”. Maybe an eastern Comma, or something never found in Alberta before. In light of recent observations from nearby Saskatchewan, we can wish a Least Skipper to Gary as it keeps rapidly expanding it’s range further north and west!
Gary also post fun fact interesting butterfly of the day posts on the Alberta Lepidopterist Guild email list. Here is a recent one we added to our new butterfly of the day section.
Happy eButterflyin everyone!