Bugshot Montana

Montana is outside of the range for my butterfly big year, so any butterflies I found at Bugshot Montana don’t count. Bugshot workshops are conducted at different venues–they have one or two domestic and one international workshop per year. There is a pool of highly qualified and internationally known macro and close-up nature photographers and they teach and mentor the participants in the many techniques used to take photos of tiny creatures. This was the second time I went to a Bugshot workshop, and many of the other participants have attended multiple times.

The venue was the Yellowstone Bighorn Research Association, which was constructed in the 1930s and has a series of log cabin bunkhouses. The restrooms are separate from the bunkhouses, and were about 150-200 feet horizontally and maybe 40 feet vertically from each other. The fields where we did our workshops were full of mountain wildflowers that were quite spectacular, but the fields were also steeply sloped. The event was physically challenging, but it was still fun.

The habitat was different from what I am used to. Not as weedy as prairies, and I did not end up with ticks or chiggers, but there was the issue of horseflies.

Most of my butterfly chasing has been solitary. It was so much fun to be able to interact with other people who were doing similar things. Some were quite knowledgeable on butterflies as well. It was also cool to see a snakefly, then by the end of the day see a photo of a snakefly in flight, taken by one of the participants.

Hayden’s ringlets were fairly common there.

This white butterfly is more closely related to swallowtails than it is to the whites and sulfurs that it resembles. This is the Rocky Mountain parnassius.

This is a thicket hairstreak.

I took this photo of the lichens growing on the roof of my bunkhouse cabin.

I am not sure that I have everything identified correctly, but I ended up with 14 species, all first of the year sightings. Twelve of those species were lifers–the first time I have photographed them.

I post my photos on iNaturalist under the username oarisma. Search that name, and you should be able to find them.

About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
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