I’ve only hiked Gwin Canyon in the East Bay one time. That’s because on my way down, like a knucklehead, I was so enamored with the scene — the aromas of fennel, the calls of wild turkeys (or were they peacocks? I could swear) — the butterflies and bumble bees swarming wildflowers — that I neglected to log just how far down I’d descended into the canyon. It was supposed to be a casual stroll on a path I’d found after accidentally reaching a dead end road. It turned into an unnecessarily sweaty slog.
At least I managed this capture of a Chalcedon checkerspot (Euphydryas chalcedona), the best Chalcedona checkerspot photo I’ve ever taken. Well, I’ve only taken one. This one. And it was only through a few fortunate strokes of a Google search that I positively identified my friend.
This page suggests numerous color variations, shows the butterfly’s distribution, and lists its favorite food as “flower nectar.”
This particular checkerspot endured as much of a photo op as it could before taking the first breeze up and out.