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Saturday, February 14, 2015


While my family is enjoying record-breaking snow in New England (can you tell that I'm jealous?), and predictions in Boston are for a wind chill of 25 below zero tomorrow, air temperatures reached 62-64°F in Bodega Bay today.

I had 45 minutes in the afternoon for a short walk.  The conditions seemed perfect for butterfliessunny and warm, with only a slight breeze.  I thought I had a chance at finding an elfin, so I decided to check the Bodega Dunes.

Score!  One Western Pine Elfin!  I found them in March last year, but I think this is my first February sighting.  I know these pictures are horrible, but they're the only ones I got before the elfin flew off and disappeared...and I'm excited about sharing this experience with you.  For me, this is a very fun aspect of natural history having a hunch about something, going out to see if you can find it, and then being successful in your search (or even just having fun trying!).

This is a blurry picture from 14 February 2015 (below)...but you can still tell it's a pine elfin (really!).  After the image I'll share a link to a better photo taken in 2013.

I wondered what a pine elfin might use as a nectar source at this time of year.

Red-flowering Currant?

Willow?  (This one was being visited by a Painted Lady.)

I also took a quick look around for other butterflies and spotted quite a few Monarchs and a couple of Red Admirals:

Given the opportunity, I would have traded butterflies for snow today.  But since it wasn't an option, being able to predict that today could be an elfin day was also a fun game!

1 comment:

david rawlinson said...

February 14 2015 is an exuberantly early record for the Western Pine Elfin. Wow!
David Rawlinson, Novato, CA.