Seen Fluttering By Part 1

Pat Jaquith
pat@westvalleynaturalists.org
Skip Via
skip@westvalleynaturalists.org

As much as we enjoy the beauty and variety of northwestern Montana winters, we do sometimes find ourselves thinking about the colorful visual landscapes of summer. And few elements accentuate that beauty as elegantly as our local butterfly population does.

This page is Part 1 of a series of three pages:
Seen Fluttering By 1 (Fritillaries, Tortoiseshells, Checkerspots, Commas and Swallowtails)
Seen Fluttering By 2 (Skippers, Sulphurs, Julias, Admirals, Crescents and Blues)
Seen Fluttering By 3 (Miscellaneous)

Montana is home to nearly 200 butterfly species, most of which are present to some degree here in the northwest part of the state. The butterflies in this post were photographed in the Flathead Valley at various times over the past few years by Pat Jaquith and Skip Via (as noted). This is not a complete list of local species. Rather, it’s a simple photo essay that will hopefully enhance our appreciation of what’s available to us if we’re patient and observant.

About photographing butterflies: Be patient and be still. Try to use a camera with a good zoom lens as the insects will spook easily if you get too close. Photographing in cool weather or in early morning hours will sometimes be more successful as butterflies, like bees, move around more as their body temperatures rise to greater than 60˚F.

These images are in no particular order and grouping them together does not imply some sort of ubiquity or morphological relationship. We just had to make them fit…

Fritillaries

Tortoiseshells and Checkerspots

Commas and Swallowtails

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