Saturday 26 December 2020

Boreal Butterflies and Woodpeckers in Fraserdale

The morning of June 20 dawned cool with a completely overcast sky, a moderate breeze and the threat of rain. These conditions were not great since I had planned to spend the morning looking for several species of butterflies. Butterflies seem to be solar-powered and the day's lack of sun meant that most would stay out of sight. 

Fraserdale, Cochrane District

Fraserdale is surrounded by vast, boggy taiga, where the dominant trees are stunted Black Spruces and the dominant animal species seem to be the blackfly and mosquito. My main interest this day lied in seeking out a few species of butterflies - species which are tied to these northern forest types and which fly during June. As I mentioned before, searching for butterflies is all about habitat and seasonal timing, since many species are "on the wing" for only a few weeks each year. The habitat was excellent for Taiga Alpine in particular, but I was also hoping to come across Grizzled Skipper, Frigga Fritillary, and Greenish Blue. These species have all been found in the area but some are more common than others. It may have been just a touch too early in the year for Greenish Blue as well. 

I cooked breakfast while wearing my bug jacket - the blackflies were ferocious, even with the breeze - geared up, and headed out to see what I could find. I began by walking down the dirt road pictured above. It cut through the boggy landscape, eventually crossing the railway tracks and continuing to the west.  

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