It was the best of times! Barry Marts and I ventured back up to SW Maine and northern New Hampshire to have another go at a couple of species we struck out on last year. We timed out this trip a couple of weeks earlier than last year. The main targets were Bog Fritillary and Jutta Arctic. There is a small window of opportunity to look for both species in mid-June when Jutta’s are winding down and Bog Frit’s are ramping up. The 10 1/2 hour drive up to Colebrook, NH was on a partly cloudy, humid day as we started out from WV that became a totally sunny, very low humidity day by the time we got north of the Massachusetts Turnpike. I had allocated three days for this trip because the weather can be iffy and wet this time of year in the north country. As it turned out Thursday would be our best weather day and indeed it was. I can’t remember a more perfect day for butterflies or anything else for that matter. It was a stunning sunny day that started off at 37 degrees with temps topping out around 70. Light winds helped to mitigate the Black Flies that would annoy us from time to time. The day started off great as we entered Maine. We drove right by a young male Moose on the north side of the road. I whipped the car around and went back in time for Barry to capture a couple of shots before it headed into the woods. I’ve included his shot below in the photo section. We spent about 3 1/2 hours walking around a couple of bogs near Wilson’s Mills, ME. It was hard work as your constantly worried about your footing or getting stuck. I liken it to a cross between walking on tundra (moss covered bowling balls) and the beach. It tires you out for sure. We lucked out at the first bog for within a couple of minutes we were photographing the first of perhaps 12-15 Bog Fritillaries we saw there. Silver-bordered Fritillaries can also be seen in these habitats (we found 2) but the small ventral PM spots on Silver-bordered are black while they are white on Bog Frit (I’ve included a comparative shot below).
The bog also contained some Cotton Grass and mixed sedges which are the host for Jutta Arctic. After an extensive search we had no luck with the Arctic and decided to go to bog #2. Arriving at the second bog we each ventured in different directions. After 45 mins or so I encountered the first of 3 Jutta Actics seen for the day. I was slowly returning towards the road to get Barry when I heard him yell “I found one!”. Yea!! After getting photos these two “bog walkers” grabbed a much needed lunch break in Errol, NH at the “Northern Exposure” restaurant. After lunch we made a 1 1/2 hour drive to extreme northern NH following the Connecticut River (up to its headwaters) to Scott Bog, a place well known for Eastern, Green, Gray, and Hoary Commas in August. There wasn’t a lot a diversity yet but we still managed to see some good species such as: Canadian Tiger Swallowtail (by far the most common species seen during the trip 100+), Green Comma, Milbert’s Tortoiseshell, Arctic Skipper, and “Veined” Mustard White.
We may never see those bogs again but as for me it will be a day I’ll never forget.
Click on any image below to enlarge