Basking in the Sun With the Butterflies

By Larry Rea –

Robert Pyle, in his book on “The Butterflies of Cascadia” describes the
California Tortoiseshell butterfly as “rich russet over most of the
upperside with yellow highlights” . . .  a very apt description. The one you see in the photo is
basking on a rock, no doubt seeking warmth by soaking up some sunshine.

We are in the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness area of Grant County enjoying
a late summer season field trip . . .  temperature of 69 degrees at mid-day,
a little cool-down occuring from summer heat . . .  wild flowers mostly
gone except for rabbitbrush.

Notice the shadows of the butterfly’s antennae . . .  it aligns itself to catch the full power of the sun. According to my GPS, our elevation is 5,279 feet . . . one more foot and we would be a mile high . . .

Photo by Larry Rea taken 17 Sept, 2017. More about Larry at

Strawberry Mountain Wilderness is a wilderness area of the Strawberry Mountain Range, within Malheur National Forest in the Blue Mountains of east Oregon. The area comprises 69,350 acres (28,060 ha), including mountain peaks and several lakes, and contains more than 125 miles (201 km) of hiking trails. Strawberry Mountain was designated wilderness under the Wilderness Act of 1964, and in 1984 more than doubled in size with the passage of the Oregon Wilderness Act.[1] It is managed by the United States Forest Service.[2][3]

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