I was visiting my mother-in-law in Sun City West, on the outskirts of Phoenix, Arizona. The sun rises there at about 6 A.M. and I myself must leave the arroyos by 10 A.M. If I linger past 10 A.M., I risk a repeat of the morning that I almost didn’t make it out.
This is my usual destination, White Tank Mountains Regional Park, some 35 minutes from her house. Since my first trip to there, many sizable developments have been built, adding thousands of homes to this desert. As I drive through, I often puzzle at where they are drawing their water from, and where they will in the future?
The arroyos are bone-dry creek beds, that are wet briefly during the year. You must always be aware, should an instantaneous downpour send water crashing down the arroyo.
Blooms are sparse in the arroyo, but there are some, and there are a surprising number of butterflies that come to sip whatever sugary nectar they can locate. This dusky colored skipper has done well, scoring what must be a nourishing supply of rich carbohydrates.
A morning in the arroyo, and then back to swap family news.
That expansive meadow at the Jamestown Audubon Center‘s Reserve was jam-packed with blooms and fliers. This Orange Hawkweed flowerhead caught my eye. Lush in color, Hieracium Aurantiacum could have had a tiny sign posted on it, “Super healthy bloom ready for nectarers!”
Decided to pause there awhile, and see if it’s aromatic teasers brought in any action. Bingo! This sweet as sugar skipper zoomed in, and stayed. My instincts must have been good, sweet nectar ready at the pump, so to speak.
The eye candy that it was challenged me to capture a suitable image, and I shot away. A comely bloom with a sucre-sweet little skipper, on a fine morning in Jamestown, New York. ID? A Least Skipper is my vote. Good, very good.
Oh, if I could do as some of you do, block out the nonsense of this nutty political world, and focus on the gravitas of this eye-popping world that we share.
This one was so pert, so distinctly marked and so willing to pose for me. The image I captured here, good enough to share, does though reveal my limited knowledge of the numerous species of Skippers that make Raccoon Creek State Park their home. September 5, 2014, and we’ve not been formally introduced.
We now know that she is a Peck’s Skipper (Polites Peckius). Skippers keep me company on the trails that we share. Their mixes of browns, tans, creams and white just tantalize my eyes. That, somehow lessens the isolation felt by those of us who search for common and very uncommon butterflies. I also devote good thinking time to trying to understand how these tiny fliers survive weeks in the wild, especially during the nights, when they remain hidden in foliage, at the mercy of the legions of creepy crawlies that spend the dark hours, hunting for prey. Scary business that, when there is no front door to lock out the beasts of prey.
She was not easy to overlook. Most of the grass skippers are very difficult to approach and don’t bedazzle your eyes. As soon as I spotted her, my ‘got to get a picture of this one’ mechanism was sprung. A looker, she.
We were in Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania, and we met in May. My field guides confirm that though very difficult to approach, this species of skipper is less anxious when they are nectaring. Hesperia sassacus is reported as often uncommon, generally overlooked and surprise, surprise . . . though it is now 2014, little is known of them and their behavior.
Satisfying whole careers await the young readers of wingedbeauty.com who choose to pursue their interest in butterflies through university and beyond. There is so much that remains unknown, butterflies are so well regarded by the majority of folks, and I say that observing, tracking, witnessing them can supply a lifetime of contentment. Pyle, Remington, Comstock, Muir, Nabokov, to just name a few.