I spent a week in mid-August birding and botanizing in the Rockies and nearby Pawnee Grasslands; not such a good year or time of year for butterflies, but I still managed to pick up a few life leps. Birding was better, with some super looks at American Three-toed Woodpecker in Rocky Mountains National Park and Chestnut-collared and McCown’s Longspurs, Swainson’s Hawk and Lark Buntings in the grasslands.
But probably my best sighting was of Audubon Naturalist Society senior naturalist Stephanie Mason, who I ran into at the trailhead for the Cache la Poudre trail (about 10,000 feet just before timberline) What were the chances? At least I can assure the staff at ANS that she really was doing her volunteer work at RMNP and not engaged in a month of debauchery at Las Vegas!
She did point me to some nice leps she’d seen along the trail, including Purplish Fritillary, Purplish Copper, and Mead’s Sulphur. Other lep highlights included Ruddy Copper and Field Crescent in the town of Estes Park, and Uncas Skipper in the Pawnee.