Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter


from the September 13, 2009 Newsletter, issued from the Siskiyou Mountains west of Grants Pass, Oregon:

Skippers are thick-bodied, big-headed, stubby-winged, fast-flying butterflies classified in their own family, the Skipper Family, the Hesperiidae. Usually skippers aren't as colorful as regular butterflies but so many species exist that if you keep identifying them eventually you'll run into a rare species or one with an extraordinary adaptation. A skipper with its hindwings and forewings held at different angles making it look like a split-winged F-22 Raptor jet fighter has been zipping and skipping around Anita's coreopsis this week, and you can see it above.

I'm calling this a Woodland Skipper, OCHLODES SYLVANOIDES, distributed from British Columbia south to Mexico's Baja California, and east to Alberta and Colorado. It's especially flexible in its habitat requirements, found in everything from scrub and tidewater marshes, to forest edges and gardens. Therefore, the species is neither particularly rare nor restricted in its habitats.

However, by spending a few minutes identifying it, noticing the black line on its orange wings, studying its wing venation, all the while keeping my mind down in a raspberry-red coreopsis, meeting the species turned out to be an altogether agreeable experience.