Santa Clarita and Northern Los Angeles County Area
Butterfly and Moth Site

Sawmill Campground, June 2005

This year I made several trips to Sawmill Mt. and campground in the Angeles National Forest. Late June through Early August are peak times for leps at this site. The first trip was exploratory to see how the season was progressing. It turned-out to be a bit early, but things were looking pretty good for the upcoming weeks.

View of the Antelope Valley from Sawmill Ridge on 6-8-2005...

A bit more than a week later on 6-17-2005, another trip to Sawmill was hampered by fog, low clouds, high winds and low temperatures. Oddly, the clouds were flying by so low overhead that the tree tops were "scraping" them and causing condensation to form on the branches which resulted in raindrops falling only under the trees! Open areas around the trees were dry.

Normally the weather would be sunny and 80 to 90 degrees with light winds. S. callippe macaria and Colias eurydice would be fresh and starting to fly in numbers. In spite of the weather, a few spots on the mountain were sheltered from the wind and subject to short periods of sunny breaks in the cloud cover long enough to allow leps to fly every now and then. Male Macaria Frits were fresh. Lindsay's skippers and Lupine Blues were still flying too.

While waiting for the sky to clear, I searched some low-growing mistletoe in hopes of finding Great Purple Hairstreak larvae, and instead found a bird dropping that provided a classic example of cryptic larval mimicry coloration. For comparison, the 1st instar larva of Papilio eurymedon.

On 6-24-2005, things were looking a lot better. It was warm and sunny, and the purple mint flowers were at 90% bloom. Yellow flower patches also common, but frits and dogface really go for the mint. Macaria Frits were common, but already worn. Females were more common (60% vs. 40% males). As is typical for this and other Fritillary species, males emerge first, followed by the females about 1-2 weeks later. Timing is everything because a Fritillary's flight habits take them into the brush where contact with the plants tatters their wings quickly.

This little Lupine (or perhaps Acmon) Blue sought shelter in a large blossom, and would not budge even as I picked the flower and brought it into macro focal range. A larger version of this shot made nice desktop wallpaper. :-)

These species were also found on the same day...

05 P. eurymedon (very common)
01 P. rutulus (rare)
01 P. zelicaon (rare)
25 S. callippe macaria (common)
01 V. cardui (common)
00 V. virginiensis (rare)
03 C. harfordi (semi-common)
00 P. rapae (semi-common)
01 C. eurytheme (semi-common)
01 C. eurydice (common)
20 P. acmon (rare)
02 Nymphalis californica (very common)
05 Hesperia lindseyi (semi-common)
02 C. sthenele silvestris (rare)
01 unid hairstreak (rare)
00 I. augustinus iroides (rare)

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