LOOKING FOR SATYRS
Similar to birds, many butterflies have imaginative names. These can be useful if you have friends who may tease you for sneaking around in the woods looking for butterflies. Just tell them you are looking for satyrs. According to Greek Mythology, satyrs were half-man/half-beast creatures that loved wine and women and were always ready for physical pleasure. So, why not add to your outdoor enjoyment by going out and trying to find one. Sadly, you won’t find the satyr of mythology but you might find a Satyr Comma as in the photo below.
Looking for and identifying butterflies is great fun. What do you need? Well, just like birding, you need a pair of binoculars and a field guide. A pair of close-focusing birding binoculars, something like 8 x 42 will work well. Many birders use 10x rather than 7 or 8. Because butterflies are small and close, the lower power is a bit easier to use.
I would also add, “Take your camera.” Butterflies often permit a close approach. That way, when you arrive at home, you can compare your photos to those in the field guide. Because I’m such an amateur and often, in the field, cannot tell a fritillary from a checkerspot; the photos give me time to look for field marks and figure out what I’ve seen.
For a field guide, I like Butterflies Through Binoculars: The West by Jeffery Glassberg. The introduction to this book answers the question “Why take up butterflying?” It will “…increase the time you spend in mountain meadows filled with flowers and encourage you to hike in breathtaking desert canyons in the springtime.” “Well,” I thought, “I really don’t need more encouragement to spend time in the outdoors.” For me, it is the added enjoyment of understanding more about nature with the added bonus that butterflies, unlike birds, are often most active at mid-day when birds are sleeping off their early morning activity.
In a previous blog (http://www.gjsentinel.com/blogs/birds_and_more/entry/swallow-tales-tailsa-lesson-in-jizz), I included a photo of a pale swallowtail, probably the most abundant, large butterfly in our area—easy to see in your backyard—so that’s a good one to know. Once you know one or two, your eyes will adjust to picking up those fluttering flights and you may see a Red Admiral.
My last photo is of a Gorgone Checkerspot.
These three species were all found in Mesa County. Seeing them, photographing them, and, finally, identifying them added to the enjoyment of some recent mountain hikes. This post provided by Nic Korte, Grand Valley Audubon Society. Send questions/comments to firstname.lastname@example.org]To learn more and to participate in the activities of Grand Valley Audubon, please see our website at audubongv.org and “like” us on Facebook!]