Artful Butterflies and Moths by Goly Ostovar

Polyphemus by GO

I look forward to the Butterflies of the Siskiyou Region workshop each year, It is a fun way to learn about butterflies and moths at a comfortable pace, and spend time with friends and people who appreciate nature and enjoy learning.
In this three-day course we started with an overview of butterfly-moth life cycles,
saw some slides and then went out into the field with nets and viewing jars and identified the butterflies and moths with the help of our instructor Dana Ross who maintains his enthusiasm and encourages participants and patiently identifies the species over and over. It takes a while to learn butterfly species because they look so similar. That’s why I keep taking the class.
Butterflying at Day Gulch by GO      Lorian and Dana  Journal by GO
Day one we went up to 8 Dollar Mountain, Day two we chased butterflies on the Bolan Lake road but couldn’t reach the lake because of snow. On Day 3 we visited the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.
Polyphemus antennae by GO
Polyphemus antennae under the microscope. Note the feathery structure of moth antennae compared to butterflies. Photo by Goly Ostovar.
The most exciting part of this year’s class was the first day. I woke up early
to enjoy sunrise and have some quiet time and work in my journal. I walked into the
kitchen and there was Dana, ready to go out and get the moth traps he set up the
previous evening. I volunteered to go with him; it was quite interesting to see how the traps work and how each one had collected different species depending on the habitat. I was amazed to see how many species were in the trap just on one night and was very excited to learn about the Polyphemus Moth. Even though it is a common species, it is beautiful, I was fascinated by close-up views of the antennae. I learned that they use them to orient and balance in space. while flying. Polyphemus Moths don’t eat as adults and only live a maximum of only 4 days. Their entire life cycle averages about 3 months. Moths often elude us because they fly at night and they are harder to learn about. But now I am more curious to learn more! Hopefully next year.
Goly Ostovar