Saturday, June 18, 2011

Lesser Mountains

As I complete my monotonous tasks in the air-conditioned comfort of the Color Lab throughout the week, I wistfully remember last summer and the excessive time I spent in various mountain ranges. Hikes were had, scrambles up rocky slopes were not uncommon, and plunges into icy mountain streams and lakes provided welcome diversions from birding. I decided that I would have to get into some mountains this weekend, even if they were just the lowly Santa Ana Mountains. I was decidedly unenthusiastic about this decision when I arose at four-thirty this morning, but I dragged myself to the Trabuco Canyon Trail and began hiking before six. After six hours and thirteen miles, I had seen a nice selection of montane birds, including Mountain Quail, Olive-sided Flycathcer, Hairy Woodpecker, Black-throated Gray Warbler, and this Western Wood-Pewee.

The primary motive fueling this hike, however, was not birds--it was other forms of life. These other forms of life--especially butterflies--abounded, much to my joy.

Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon)

Acmon Blue (Plebejus acmon)

Tailed Copper (Lycaena arota)

Dotted Blue (Euphilotes enoptes)

Juniper Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus)

Gabb's Checkerspot (Chlosyne gabbii)

Leanira Checkerspot (Thessalia leanira)

Red Rock Skimmer (Paltothemis lineatipes)

Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer)

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