Sighting for May 8, 2022

Brian McGurgan

Baxter Bog Park, Anchorage (61.18489° N, 149.75657° W)
Anchorage Municipality, AK

Clear skies and very sunny with a light breeze and temperature at about 53° from 1:10 to 4pm. When I arrived at the park I found a very cooperative Milbert’s Tortoiseshell sunning itself on the grassy path leading into the bog. It was especially vibrant considering how faded some of the Tortoiseshells are at this time of year. I returned for a second time this weekend to try and photograph the Northern Spring Azure I had views of yesterday but no chance for photos. I walked the entire loop around the bog without a sighting of the blue, then doubled back to the place I saw it yesterday along the trail through woods near a small mowed grassy area. In nearly the same exact spot, the butterfly - probably the same one - flew out of the woods and along the trail at about knee height and then bobbed back into woods on the opposite side of the trail, flying high up into the upper parts of the trees as it passed out of view. Once again I had failed to get a photo. Having seen it twice at the same spot two days in a row, I decided to wait and see if it would return. After standing around for a very long time, the male azure - or one just like it - came weaving along the edge of the trail. I hoped it would land or at least fly slowly enough that I could get a passing shot, but instead the butterfly came straight at me - flying right at the camera’s lens and then right over my head and off into the trees again, leaving me photoless. The butterfly’s timing this early in May, the wooded habitat, and its tendency to patrol while flying both low and very high, all support the Spring Azure identification despite my failure to document the sighting. It’s dorsal wing surfaces were a light cloud blue without markings or darker areas, indicating a male. Maybe there will be more of them around next weekend and a better chance for photos.

  • Spring Azure 1
  • Milbert's Tortoiseshell 4

Milbert's Tortoiseshell