Big Year Update #15: Two Safeties and a Field Goal

My butterfly big year is not over yet, but it will be sometime soon. I may or may not do another trip–I haven’t decided yet. My big year is starting to feel in some ways like Saturday’s football game between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the South Dakota State Jackrabbits, at least from the perspective of an Iowa fan. Scoring two safeties in a game is really unusual and special. But they flailed around on offense and did so poorly that the fans booed them even though they won the game.

I have had some success so far–I got nice photos of butterflies out of state, including Olympia marble and swamp metalmark. I also found some butterflies in state that are rare for Iowa: Henry’s elfin, southern dogface, marine blue, Melissa blue, and two-spotted skipper. My list has 65 species so far-respectable, but lower than I thought I would have by now.

Where I have failed is with some of the normally easy, slam-dunk species. I have yet to document red admiral, black swallowtail, giant swallowtail, dainty sulfur, and question mark butterflies. Those should all be fairly easy. Maybe I will get them yet this year, I don’t know. I have seen several of them but failed to get recognizable photos. Success mixed with failure.

Yesterday I went to Marietta Sand Prairie State Preserve in Marshall County. I was hoping to find American Copper, which I have seen there in the past. I thought it was possible but not likely. I did not find it.

It was cool and cloudy when I got there, but warmed up enough for butterflies like this orange sulfur.

This eastern-tailed blue is hanging on, but has seen better days.

This bottle gentian was hiding below the rest of the prairie vegetation.

Wind turbines have become a part of Iowa’s landscape.


About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
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