A Checkerspot Butterfly in Marin — And Other Insects I Have Known and (Tried to) Love

a checkerspot butterfly lights on a blue dick blossom, CA. Photo by BF newhall

A checkerspot butterfly lights on a blue dick blossom. Photo by BF Newhall

I spotted this checkerspot butterfly while hiking the Big Rock trail in Lucas Valley, Marin county, with my friend Jean in May. A few days later I spotted another — just like it? — outside my kitchen window, but it disappeared before I could grab the camera. There are several kinds of checkerspots in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’m thinking this one is the bay checkerspot, which is listed as endangered.

And . . . that’s a blue dick serving up nectar to the butterfly.

Pacific spiketail dragonfly, oakland CA. Photo by BF Newhall

Pacific spiketail dragonfly-- three and a half inches long. Wow. Photo by BF Newhall

As long as I’m posting insect pictures, how about this humongous dragonfly, spotted in my front yard. It was about 3 1/2 inches long, feasting on lavender. Note the bee in the corner of the picture.

Below is one of two houseflies that got caught between the screen and window in my kitchen.

I know, I know. These photos are all a bit soft. But not bad for our little Canon point-and-shoot.

For another nature story, go to “The Trouble With Daffodils.”

Doomed housefly caught between screen and window. Photo by BF Newhall

Nasty housefly trapped between window and screen in my kitchen. He's going to die in there, cuz I'm not letting him out. Or am I? Photo by BF Newhall















White matilija poppy with two small insects, CA.  Photo by BF Newhall

How many times have I taken what I'd hoped would be a beautiful shot of a perfect flower, only to realize when I see it magnified on my monitor at home that there are a couple of interloper insects spoiling all that pristine beauty? This one is a matilija poppy; it's big and blowsy and native to SoCal. Are those fruit flies? Photo by BF Newhall






















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