Submitted by Margaret Graham
It was another great field trip with Brady Mathes as he hunted for butterflies in the Pineview Valley Park, following the linear pathway to the ponds and wildflower meadows at the back. With a flick of the wrist, Brady expertly caught at least 12 species of butterflies, including 3 types of Swallowtails. After capturing them in the net, he carefully placed them into a special plastic bug container which allowed everyone to see the butterflies close up before Brady released them to fly away. Some of the butterflies seen included Two-Tailed Swallow Tail, Anise Swallow Tail, Oregon Swallowtail, Western Green Hairstreak, Large or Creamy Marblewing, Stella’s Orangetiip, Oeneis Chryxus, Silvery Blue, Common Alpine, Persius Duskywing, Common Sulphur,.and Juba Skipper.
As Brady led us through a meadow, he described the plants which were associated with certain species of butterflies where they laid their eggs and the caterpillars ate the foliage. We identified Death Camas, Larkspur, tiny blue Violets, lots of wild Strawberries, Rosy Pussytoes, Hillside Milk Vetch, and Small Flowered Penstemon. The grass-like leaves of Mariposa Lilies were evidence of the beautiful flowers to come in a few weeks.
As well as butterflies, we saw several birds including Calliope Hummingbirds, Red-winged Blackbirds, Yellow-headed Blackbirds, American Coots, Redheads, Ruddy Ducks, Tree Swallows, and Song Sparrows. A muskrat was seen swimming in the pond and a small Western Terrestrial Garter Snake crawled through the grass.
As per usual, everyone was amazed by Brady’s knowledge of plants and butterflies. We look forward to the next time he is willing to share his time with us.