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Colonel Devin Butterflies

Washington Park - Colonel Devin Trail

Washington Park – Colonel Devin Trail

Even though we ended up spotting 21 species of Butterflies, our return trip to Colonel Devin was a little disappointing. Wildflowers were still few and far between; it was windy and the butterflies rarely stopped moving.

Here’s what we saw: Red Admiral, Red Spotted Purple, Black Swallowtail, Two-Tailed Swallowtail, Silver Spotted Skipper, Golden Banded Skipper, Bramble Hairstreak, Acmon Blue, Melissa Blue, Spring Azure, Common Checkered Skipper, Common Buckeye, Southern Dogface, Mylitta Crescent, Dainty Sulphur, Zela Metalmark, Northwestern Fritillary, Variegated Fritillary, Queen Alexander Sulphur, California Tortoiseshell , Northern Duskywing

Much as I hate to admit it, the conditions made me wish I had my SLR that day! On windy days when plants and butterflies are swaying back and forth, you really need to be able to focus manually. I really LOVE the Canon SX50 BUT it’s almost impossible to lock focus on a tiny subject against a busy background. Next time, I’ve decided to bring along my Canon 180mm macro (next week!). It will probably only be good for butterflies that are fairly close but that actually was the case with many of the butterflies this past trip. I’m going to try my best not to curse the weight of the camera and lens while hiking 🙂

CLICK HERE for a slideshow of images but here are a few of my favorites:

Northern Cloudywing on Arizona Thistle

Northern Cloudywing on Arizona Thistle (Cirsium arizonicum)

Red Lichen Moth

Red Lichen Moth (Lycomorpha fulgens)

Mexican Cancer Root (orobanche)

Mexican Cancer Root (Conopholis alpina var. mexicana)

Antelope Horns Milkweed

Antelope Horns Milkweed (Asclepias asperula)


  1. You did extremely well given windy conditions! I’m still so envious of all the species that you see there, although I’ve had some Painted Ladies visiting my flower in my ‘pollinators’ meadow’ that seems to be attracting the butterflies. I got some OK images using the SX50 in very windy conditions and don’t think a macro lens would have been much use, as the flowers are very tall and they were really blowing about! Have found a few interesting looking caterpillars now too.

    In your slideshow I do recognise Columbines and you have yellow Salsify which is just like my purple one! 🙂

    By the way we never did get to sell the SX40 so my OH has decided that it will be his camera as I hog all the other ones – he’s happy with it and has got some great bird shots already. 🙂

    June 11, 2013
  2. Thanks for commenting, Mandy. I loved your purple Salsify, by the way! As for windy conditions…..with my SLR, I could at least focus on a particular area and shoot like crazy and might get something 🙂 The SX50 has manual focus but it’s not great.

    Happy to know your SX40 found a good home. It’s still a great camera!

    June 11, 2013
  3. We’ve got similar moths here in Scotland called Red and Black Burnet Moths … so far I’ve never managed to photograph them. It’s been weeks since I last saw 1 butterfly!

    June 12, 2013
    • Your moth is a beauty! Very few butterflies in my yard at the momenttoo as it is too hot. They’ll start showing up again in September. In the meantime, I drive an hour or two north by car to find them. Wildflower season will begin at 8000 ft (2438m) in mid July. I’ll be camping up there for two weeks in July and August to explore for flowers, butterflies and Mushrooms! Always a fun time of year 🙂

      June 12, 2013
  4. Shows how (un)observant I am… I just noticed you describing yourself as a “conservation photographer.” BRILLIANT! Absolutely perfect description. May you (and your attendant butterflies) continue to thrive.

    June 15, 2013
    • Thanks, Carol! It sounded better than Nature Nerd 🙂

      June 15, 2013

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