Originally, these pages had photographs from a September 5-10, 2012 trip to Sierra Vista, Arizona for the Tenth Biennial Member's Meeting of the North American Butterfly Association. Such a good trip, we decided to do it again from October 16-21, 2013, and the pages have been updated by adding pictures from the latest trip (Captions for the 2013 trip are shown in yellow). The next year, we visited from April 17-21 for some spring butterflies. (2014 captions are shown in orange). Butterflies weren't all we were looking at on these trips; this page has pictures of some of the other creatures we enjoyed spending time with; page 2 some of those incredible butterflies from 2012; and page 3 butterflies from the 2013 trip.
We began our trip with a successful quest for the Nokomis Fritillary (Speyeria nokomis) in an area a friend told us about near Alpine AZ before taking the slow road (Hwy. 191) to Clifton, past the incredible open pit copper mine and eventually catching I-10. Before getting to Sierra Vista we made a butterfly stop at the I-10 rest stop in the Dragoon Mountains and saw our first horse lubber grasshopper and several good butterflies. The next morning it was off to Garden Canyon on the Fort Huachuca Army Base - easy to get on base with a driver's license but be prepared for a surprise strip search of your vehicle somewhere along the way.
From Friday to Sunday, we'd take excellent all-day field trips to Carr Canyon and Comfort Spring, the San Pedro River, and Brown Canyon, and on our own to Ramsey Canyon and a return visit to Garden Canyon, and had a great time catching up with NABA friends and a few other friends in the area. Heading back home on Monday, we stopped at the Chiricahua National Monument for a couple more butterflies - bringing our trip total to 60 butterfly species!
Returning in 2013 more than a month later in hopes of seeing Chiricahua Whites and some Giant-Skippers, conditions were a bit drier but the weather was perfect and we'd tally 50+ butterfly species including the Chiricahua Whites and 3 species of Giant-Skipper during the trip. In addition to Garden and Ramsey Canyons visited on the 2012 trip, this time we got to Coronado National Monument, Sawmill Canyon with Bob Behrstock, his incredible backyard, and Huachuca Canyon in Sierra Vista, then on to Montosa, Madera, and Box Canyons near Tucson, and several spots in the Catalina Mountains on the edge of Tucson.
A return visit over Easter weekend in April added a few new butterflies, despite a few logistical issues. The Brown Fire broke out above Garden Canyon the weekend before, which prevented access to most of the the good canyons. Some atypical rain and clouds a couple of days kept most of the butterflies hidden, but was great for helping control the fire and allowed access to Huachuca Canyon, which we visited with local expert, Bob Parks. During the trip, we stopped first in Silver City, NM. While based in Sierra Vista, we checked out the San Pedro River and Harshaw Road and the area around Patagonia. We also made a side visit to Chiricahua National Monument on the way back to Albuquerque.
Click on any of the thumbnails for the full sized image
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