Date: 8/2/17 1:58 pm
From: Laura Paulson <laura...>
Subject: [obol] Re: butterflies
Just had one at Beaver Creek State Natural Area south of Newport as well.
Looks like a bird had taken a bite out of it (just keeping this

Laura Paulson
Seal Rock, OR (for the summer)

On Wed, Aug 2, 2017 at 12:39 PM, Karen Saxton <kcsaxton...> wrote:

> walked out with my dogs and saw one flittering about my lawn. I'm between
> Coquille and the coast!
> On Mon, Jul 31, 2017 at 9:15 AM, Wayne Hoffman <whoffman...> wrote:
>> It is my understanding that California Tortoiseshells and several
>> relatives are in fact migratory, but the current movements are probably not
>> migration. These swarms are presumably local production from the abundant
>> Ceanothus in these areas of the Cascades. Later in fall survivors will be
>> moving south into
>> California (and elsewhere?) for winter, and in spring a much smaller
>> migration of survivors will come back north. Just as with birds, during
>> the migration periods, these butterflies will be seen scattered more widely
>> across the state. Civen the numbers currently in the Cascades, I expect
>> them to be common on the coast this year, where few if any breed, on the
>> fall east wind days that bring us big dragonfly migrations.
>> The occasional boom year like this are likely the result of the
>> co-occurrence of several things - weather conditions that favor lush growth
>> of Ceanothus foliage, a substantial initial population (good overwinter
>> survival south of us) and perhaps most importantly, lower than usual
>> populations of their parasitic wasps. I think we do not generally realize
>> how important these wasps are in butterfly and moth population dynamics.
>> Wayne
>> On 7/30/2017 9:23:45 PM, Jim Anderson <jimnaturalist...> wrote:
>> Howdy OBLrs
>> The movement of the California Tortoiseshell butterflies is not (in my
>> opinion) a "migration" as such, but an "outbreak." I believe it's linked to
>> population dynamics of some kind, but not thoroughly understood. It
>> happened in Bend about 30-years ago, and unless research is carried
>> out annually within the tortoiseshell populations, it's probably difficult
>> to really put your finger on this or that cause.
>> Saying that, I also believe it's tied to nature's way of insuring
>> survival of a species. When weather and food plants are in balance, the
>> butterfly's larvae get what they need to develop the necessary chemicals
>> to metamorphose into adults successfully and then lay uncountable millions
>> of eggs; which in turn hatch and defoliate their food plants--which I
>> have a hunch is even good for the plants in some way. ,
>> In addition, while this is going on, the butterfly parasites also go into
>> supercharge mode and somehow have the ability to lay eggs on the jillions
>> of caterpillars. During the similar event some 30-years ago west of Bend,
>> we could actually hear the larvae munching on ceanothus leaves as they
>> defoliated all the bushes.
>> What was also unbelievable were the millions of chrysalis hanging on the
>> bare branches of the ceanothus. If you got close to them and stomped
>> your foot they would all begin to shake and clang like tiny bells. What a
>> show!
>> We took 20 chrysalides home with us to photograph emerging butterflies.
>> However, if my memory serves me correctly, of the 20 chrysalides, 8 or 9
>> developed butterflies, but bright green adult wasps emerged from all
>> the others.
>> Another facet of an outbreak provides the species enough adults insects
>> in summer to go far from the "breeding territory" and pioneer new habitat,
>> further increasing the chances of the species to succeed even further.
>> During the outbreak some 30-years back I can recall the CA highway
>> department installing special truck washing equipment near Redding that
>> was used to wash smashed butterflies out of the radiators to keep
>> the trucks from overheating.
>> But now as I ponder on this magnificent phenomenon, on second thought,
>> perhaps the butterflies are just attempting to beat the hundreds
>> of thousands of humans predicted to be in Madras for the eclipse of the
>> Sun...
>> Jim Anderson
>> Sisters
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> -----------------------------------------------------------
>> On Sun, Jul 30, 2017 at 7:56 PM, Nicholas Mrvelj <nickmrvelj...>
>> wrote:
>>> I spent some time in the greater Sunriver area myself this weekend. I
>>> can confirm seeing extraordinary numbers of California Tortoiseshells.
>>> During a hike around the Todd Lake area, we counted about 5-8 per second on
>>> average. All were heading in the same direction, often seeming to be at
>>> the mercy of the wind. Many perished on the roadways.
>>> Just south of Sunriver proper I saw 4-5 Common Nighthawks in flight each
>>> evening.
>>> Good birding,
>>> -Nick Mrvelj
>>> On Sun, Jul 30, 2017 at 6:09 PM Larry McQueen <larmcqueen...>
>>> wrote:
>>>> 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.
>>>> Larry
>> --
>> Jim
>> Please note my new email address: <jimnaturalist...>

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