Chasing the Common Checkered Skipper

Butterflies tend to hang out in the sandy area on the edge of a gravel road near our house.  Even though you can’t see water, they are mudding–obtaining water and minerals from the moisture they are able to pull up through the sand.

This is a common checkered skipper, Pyrgus communis.  I have a number of pictures of this butterfly showing the upper surface of its wings.  I did not have pictures of its under surface, which looks quite a bit different.

So I chased it around on the gravel road.  I tried to get between it and the sun so that the sun would be reflected off its wings instead of through them.  But I did not want my shadow to spook the butterfly.  I spent a lot of time walking up to the butterfly, and slowly crouching, then crawling to get closer, only to have the butterfly spook and fly off a short distance.  It did not travel far, but it was easy to lose sight of it when it flew.

Suddenly there were two of them.  That was a bonus. 

They are probably both males, since about 90% of the butterflies that engage in mudding behavior are males.  I can’t tell from this angle.

One of the butterflies disappeared and I followed the other, attempting to get its picture.

I did get a number of photos of the undersurface of the wings, which was my goal.  I like the pictures, but I still did not get the definitive shot that I had hoped for.

So I brushed the sand from my knees and my forearms.  I will try again another day.


About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
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