Well, it’s just about the wettest summer I can ever remember here in the Albuquerque area, and the wildflowers and butterflies are loving it. So am I, for that matter! I happened upon a Wiedemeyer’s Admiral last week with its wings closed and jumped at the chance to get a photo. (The last time I had the opportunity was about six years ago.)
I was walking along yesterday, high in the Sandias, when I came to a spot where I’d once seen a Milbert’s Tortoiseshell. I was just thinking that I’d love to see another when one landed on the wildflowers right in front of me! I think it’s a beautiful butterfly.
A skipper butterfly on spike verbena high in the Sandia mountains.
And it’s a Sandia hairstreak, which I found earlier today, exactly when and where I would think I would. But today was even more special than usual because, after I’d taken a number of photos, I hiked further, to an area I’ve always thought should be a great habitat for Sandia hairstreaks but where I’ve never seen any. My plan was just to sit on a rock and soak up the sun, a bit like a lizard. Just a few minutes after I sat down though, a small flying thing came and landed right on my shirt and, lo and behold! it was a Sandia hairstreak! Later it came back and perched on my camera case for a while.
So here’s the thing: I’ve always thought it’s a huge gift when a butterfly lands on me (or anyone else), and a number of butterflies have indeed landed on me over the years. But I don’t believe any of the small butterflies (hairstreaks, blues, or coppers) have ever landed on me before today. So I understand this as a benediction of sorts — perhaps something to add to the blessing of my first COVID shot a few days ago, and/or a reminder that the world is finally, for people at least, starting to reopen, however slowly.
I saw this Arizona Sister (Adelpha eulalia) amongst some turning scrub oak in the Pecos last week. It was another Arizona Sister, way back in 2002, that got me interested in photographing butterflies. For the most part, Arizona Sisters have successfully evaded me ever since that one lucky moment.