C is for Comma

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A short pause is in order today to just soak in the beauty of the Comma, butterfly, that is.  One of the earlier butterfly species to grace the skies in our area each summer many of the earlier arrivals we observed actually overwintered as adults. Some finding refuge from the winters freeze deep in crevices of a trees bark.

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Some we found warming themselves collecting minerals from the moist soil on the forest floor.

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Whereas others were often found feeding on the new growth of the trees and shrubs.

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Yes, C is for Comma.

Juniper Hairstreak

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One of the most interesting butterflies found in our area is the beautiful and fancy in a non-fancy sort of way Juniper Hairstreak.  Widely distributed across the United States this butterfly is often seen in old fields, bluffs, barrens, juniper and pinyon-juniper woodlands, and cedar breaks. This one was photographed feeding on biscuit root along the base of a cliff that had several areas of Juniper growing. The male will sit all day upon the ends of juniper branches to attract a female.

The Assassin

While checking out the Coneflowers the other day we came across this really cool insect called an Assassin bug.


At one point we found them stalking prey in their world of flowers. The other insect noticed the Assassin on their trail and quickly hopped away avoiding becoming a meal.

Assassin Bugs are ambush hunters that use their long rostrum to inject digestive enzymes into their prey. Their bite is said to be quite painful yet without long term consequences.

So from now on I will be keeping my eyes open and hands a safe distance from this guys home in the coneflowers as summer carries on.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reduviidae

Glacier Lillies

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Our annual photographic homage to one of our favorite spring flowers the Glacier Lilly.

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We follow their progressive blooming form the edge of the foothills up high in the mountains seemingly ushering in spring in each progressive life zone.

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Beautiful from afar…

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as well as up close.

Hidden gems

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On a recent walk through sagebrush scrub and grassland we were treated to numerous hidden gems along the way. Lupines flowering amongst the grasses still mainly brown after a winters sleep.

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Shooting stars in clusters were dispersed along the way. Never a thick carpet, just a sprinkling, every now and then.

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Bluebells dangled in little clumps…

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and Penstemon light the way.

Hidden gems indeed.

An unassuming walk

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Just the grass greening up in a landscape filled with sage and juniper. Quiet, perhaps the sounds of Meadowlarks and Sparrows singing, an unassuming landscape in a quiet place.

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Yet upon closer inspection we were provided with quite a treat. Chocolate Lily – Fritillaria atropurpurea were hidden in theses still greening grasses.