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    The Big Oak Flat Road between Crane Flat and the El Portal Road is temporarily closed. There is no access to Yosemite Valley via the Big Oak Flat Road or Highway 120. Tioga Road is open and accessible via Big Oak Flat and Tioga Pass Entrances. More »

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    Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point, and Wawona/Mariposa Grove areas are open and accessible via Highways 140 and 41. Tioga Road is not accessible via Highways 140 and 41 due to a fire.

Wildlife and Other Sightings: Butterflies & Moths, and Yellow-rumped Warbler

August 11, 2012 Posted by: AH - Mather District Interpretive Ranger

Butterflies and Moths on Pennyroyal and Groundsel
Mondardella odoratissima and Senecio triangularis
Fritillaries On Pennyroyal  Hesperia Skipper

Sierra Pericopid Moth  Fritillary on Senecio

August 5, 2012
Trail from White Wolf to Harden Lake and a bit beyond

There were an incredible number of butterflies and moths out today. Many of them were favoring the light purple Pennyroyal flowers. Pennyroyal is a pungent member of the mint family that is currently in full bloom.

Greater Fritillaries (Speyeria sp.) - top left and bottom right photos - are very difficult to identify to species, but I noticed a variety of different wing patterns on the abundant numbers of these that I saw along the trail.

Hesperia Skippers (Hesperia sp.) are also difficult to identify to species and though they look quite a bit like butterflies (seeming to have clubbed antennae), their bodies are a bit chunkier in relation to their wings. Skippers get their name from the way they dart quickly around and getting a photograph of one proved tricky.
Sierra Pericopid (Gnophaela latipennis)
This black and white moth with fairly showy wings has little orange tufts at the front of its thorax.

Pine White Butterfly on Goldenaster
Neophasia menapia on Aster breweri
Pine White Butterfly

August 5, 2012
Trail between Harden Lake and Pate Valley

Different species of the variety of butterflies and moths out today tended to be seen more often on some flowers over others. A few Pine White Butterflies were clustered around the composite flowers of this Goldenaster plant.

Yellow-rumped Warbler
Dendroica coronata
Yellow-rumped Warbler

August 5, 2012 - around 2:30pm
Trail to Harden Lake from White Wolf

I was very excited to catch a glimpse of a colorful male Yellow-rumped Warbler along the side of the old Tioga road (now part of the trail to Harden Lake from White Wolf). Being nearsighted and a very novice birder, such a distinctively marked bird is always a treat to see. Trying to learn more about this bird after returning home, I discovered that several different species of insect-eating warblers may live together in close proximity by looking for food in different parts of the same forest. Yellow-rumped warblers focus on the outer foliage of conifers. Sure enough, this little guy was hopping from branch to branch up in one of the many Lodgepole pine trees along the edge of this trail.


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Did You Know?

Upper Merced Watershed

The Merced River above Nevada Fall and South Fork Merced River above Wawona, numerous small meadows and adjacent riparian habitats occur. Owing their existence to the river and its annual flooding, these habitats help support eight special status animal species: harlequin ducks, black swifts, bald eagles, osprey, willow flycatchers, yellow warbler, western red bat, and Sierra Nevada mountain beaver.