Date: 7/30/17 6:09 pm
From: Larry McQueen <larmcqueen...>
Subject: [obol] butterflies
Ok, this is not about birds, but something to behold in the Cascades right now. Nymphalis californica, the California Tortoiseshell, is now doing a mass movement. I have been on a family trip this past week, staying at Sunriver. We encountered thousands of these butterflies, first near the top of the McKenzie Pass and again on the Cascades Lakes Highway, south of the 3 Sisters. We found them in great numbers everywhere, all seemingly flying in the same direction, maybe down slope. This had to be a movement of the entire population (at least local), not millions, but billions of this species. Pyle describes this phenomenon in “The Butterflies of Cascadia”, as a release caused by a build-up of numbers over years, and then followed by scarcity for years. I don’t know how well studied this migration is, or where the butterflies end up.

This was not a birding trip, but I always love watching the Pygmy Nuthatches. Crossbills were common around Sunriver. There was a single Nighthawk on the entire trip, where there ought to have been many.

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