Towards Sally Lightfoot

The Thicket Hairstreak ( Callophrys spinetorum ) has bullied me for years. Taunting me with emailings from people seasonally "Are you kidding? They were everywhere!" and "Go to this tree on this date in this month and they are there!" OK, the butterfly hasn't sent those emails, but No, they weren't there and, No, I haven't seen it yet...for twenty years. (I'm not quite sure the butterfly Hasn't been in on this.) I've been at this long enough to know all of us Naturalists have a Thicket Hairstreak in our lives and, no doubt, somewhere some pathetic soul longs to see...a Cabbage White...before they leave the Earth. If only someone would help them.
I'm annually reminded of this Missing Stamp in the Scott's Albums of my Natural Experiences in or around the Mount Diablo Butterfly Count. Paul Johnson or Kevin Hintsa would inevitably bring back a photograph of this quarter-size, chocolate brown Lycaenid with the white, postmedian zig-zag band above it's false eye. "Hmmm, still haven't seen that." One fact might be because I don't normally volunteer to go to it's habitat on these Count Days. The Thicket is a strong hill-topper that sits high up in trees near it's parasitic host: Western Dwarf Mistletoe ( Arceuthobium campylopodium). Males dart about on summits in a pheromone exchange of looking-for-babes. These "summits" ( at least on the Pinnacles Count and the Mount Diablo Count) are slight...death marches?...for this fair-skinned, Irish lepidopterist. So, in full disclosure, that might have something to do with...never seeing it. Or... perhaps...everything to do with it. ( See last Journal entry to see just how far I've overcome this barrier)
In Paul Shephard's book "The Tender Carnivore" he breaks the hunt - something he refers to as 'the venatic art'- into four parts: scanning (the knowledge of the animals habitats), stalking, immobilization and retrieval. Since I don't really collect anymore ( nothing against it, just sort of has been replaced by "iNaturalistmania") immobilization has become "please-for-the-love-of-Jesus-stay-still-for-one-shot" and retrieval is "don't let-me-have-come-all-the-friggin-way-up-here-for-Nothing-and-have-enough-water-and-Skittles-to-make-it-back" The retrieval...of me.
Shephard continues: " In all cases, however, men are engaged in more than a merely physical food-getting activity, for in hunting they are immersed in their most deeply held spiritual and aesthetic conceptions."
Yesterday, after years of this...knowledge gathering...I saw my first Thicket Hairstreak.
Up in a canopy of an Oak tree, below the radio towers, a lone one darted about with a flock of Gray Hairstreaks, hope springing eternal at each rendezvous the other would be a female. I stayed still and...it stayed still. Then, blink, it was gone.
I high-fived my hiking partner. Joy. Happiness. Staring down at the picture in my Powershot. Chug-a-lugged the Gatorade. Watched a haunting squadron of thousands
of dragonflies floating silently up and over this moment, making my victory seem small.
In " The Logbook of the Sea of Cortez", John Steinbeck wrote of the Sally Lightfoot crab ( Grapsus grapsus): "they seem to be able to run in all four directions at once; but more than this, perhaps because of their rapid reaction time, they appear to read the mind of their hunter. If you walk slowly, they move slowly. If you hurry, they hurry"

Anotado por robberfly robberfly, 17 de agosto de 2014 a las 10:38 PM

Observaciones

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Autor

robberfly

Fecha

Agosto 16, 2014 01:19 PM PDT

Descripción

I thought I'd missed the big showing of rare "fire" wildflowers that emerged here. A few still in bloom.

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Autor

robberfly

Fecha

Agosto 17, 2014 03:13 PM PDT

Descripción

Relict population up here not seen by many. I've seen it now at Antioch Dunes and here.

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Qué

Lagartija Lagarto Meridional (Elgaria multicarinata)

Autor

robberfly

Fecha

Agosto 16, 2014 12:51 PM PDT

Descripción

Exciting find cuz I need to paint this species. Still not quite sure of differences between species. Better it was biting Ken-ichi than me as I got the shots I needed.

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Qué

Mariposa Blanca con Parches Negros (Pontia protodice)

Autor

robberfly

Fecha

Agosto 16, 2014 01:16 PM PDT

Descripción

Perhaps the smallest males I've seen in awhile.
Directly related to brief rains we had extending second flights palatability on host.

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Mariposa Sedosa Gris (Strymon melinus)

Autor

robberfly

Fecha

Agosto 16, 2014 03:37 PM PDT

Descripción

Out in great numbers today. Helped stir up the main target today: the Thicket Hairstreak.

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Qué

Mariposa Jaspeada (Apodemia mormo)

Autor

robberfly

Fecha

Agosto 16, 2014 03:51 PM PDT

Descripción

A strong flight of these at the summit of North Peak.

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Qué

Muérdago Enano (Arceuthobium campylopodum)

Autor

robberfly

Fecha

Agosto 16, 2014 04:41 PM PDT

Descripción

Host for the Thicket Hairstreak

Fotos / Sonidos

Autor

robberfly

Fecha

Agosto 16, 2014

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Mariposa Monjita de California (Adelpha californica)

Autor

robberfly

Fecha

Agosto 16, 2014

Descripción

Lots of these out today. mainly small males.

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Rayadora Abigarrada (Sympetrum corruptum)

Autor

robberfly

Fecha

Agosto 16, 2014

Descripción

The most incredible part of the day ( aside from finally seeing the Thicket Hairstreak...) was the jaw-dropping movement over the saddle between the Peaks of "thousands" of dragonflies. Most larger than this. Probably Darners?

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Mariposa Jaspeada (Apodemia mormo)

Autor

robberfly

Fecha

Agosto 16, 2014

Descripción

Perhaps the most abundant lep out today. Prominent on the North Peak Summit.

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Saltarina de Alas Oscuras Triste (Erynnis tristis)

Autor

robberfly

Fecha

Agosto 16, 2014

Descripción

As well approached the North Peak, the expected Erynnis sps. in full hill-topping mode. 13 species seen today. Had one lone P. eurymedon at the radio tower North Peak summit.

Fotos / Sonidos

Autor

robberfly

Fecha

Agosto 16, 2014

Descripción

The Target Species for the day. A lifer for me. Wouldn't have been possible w/out "kevinhintsa" here on iNat. A big thank you, Kevin.
We study a creature's life cycle, we hunt it's location. Season's go by. It's enter' s a...mythology...then...at last!
Cool to share this with Ken-ichi.
Ummm...now what do I do with my life?

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Autor

robberfly

Fecha

Agosto 16, 2014 02:45 PM PDT

Fotos / Sonidos

Autor

robberfly

Fecha

Agosto 16, 2014 02:34 PM PDT

Descripción

I.D.ed by Dr. Kathy Schick...

Fotos / Sonidos

Autor

robberfly

Fecha

Agosto 16, 2014 01:45 PM PDT

Descripción

Dr. Kathy Schick, a pal in the Lep Society and a gall expert, helped me with this i.d...

Comentarios

Great commentary Liam! Congrats!

Anotado por greglasley hace mas de 7 años (Advertencia)

Love this robberfly !! congrats on your beautiful find - and sharing it with all of us iNaturalized geeks.

Anotado por metsa hace mas de 7 años (Advertencia)

Enjoyed the post. Way to go.

Anotado por sekihiker hace mas de 7 años (Advertencia)

Loved your post. Congratulations on your Hairstreak! However, now you need a new nemesis butterfly. What will it be?

Anotado por dpom hace mas de 7 años (Advertencia)

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