How much is too much? It’s been quite a long time since I spotted this skipper butterfly in a dry arroyo in the White Tank Mountains Regional Park, west of Phoenix, Arizona. There weren’t many butterflies there at any given time, but I came to realize that almost any butterfly you saw in that other-worldly habitat . . . might be new and exhilarating!
Almost all I saw there, on many trips to that surreal arid region, refused to tolerate close approach. This view shall have to suffice, though it’s pretty good, and the Fuji Velvia 50 slide film I used is always color true.
So much time has gone by, and now I am determined to take a stab at it. Eufala Skipper (Lerodea eufala)? Ken? Jeffrey? The NABA cognoscenti? Curt?
Where you are “standing” in this photograph, is in an Arroyo in White Mountains Regional Park. Phoenix is just east of this site. Thirty years ago, the drive from Sun City west to this arroyo, passed 25 homes. Make this drive now, some 30 minutes, and you pass thousands of homes, and the pressure on this lovely park’s existence is very challenging.
We see here a thriving xeric upgrade that forms the wall of the Arroyo. December, January and February have been very wet. The bounty of that moisture is this great show of wildflowers. They in turn were responsible for large numbers of butterflies.
I keep my eyes peeled for repeat wet winters in Arizona. There are so many Arizona butterflies that I haven’t yet introduced myself to, and these are Xeric butterflies that fly in that unique super dry habitat. It’s the same habitat where my earlier post warned, “Arroyo Spells Caution.” This is an environment where water is more valuable than gold or diamonds, and it’s where the same sun that soothed you in Pennsylvania might be much too hot in the arroyo.