Central Arizona Butterfly Association

Phoenix Chapter of the North American Butterfly Association.

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The Central Arizona Butterfly Association has a wonderful line-up of Meetings and Events for the upcoming year. Please check this page regularly for up-dates.

Note: for all field trips: Beginners are welcome on all field trips. A donation of $5 per person to benefit CAzBA will be appreciated. Leaders donate their time and expertise. High clearance vehicles may be required for some trips. Dress for the field with sturdy shoes, hat, sunscreen; bring water, snacks, lunch, close-focus binoculars, camera, and field guides. Trips usually end mid-afternoon unless noted differently above. Please remember that no collecting is allowed on CAzBA field trips."

"Gas money: It’s kind to share gas expenses. Please be generous with your contribution to the driver!"

Upcoming events


8/17/2024      Fiedl trip Pivot Rock Canyon with Ron Rutowski

On Saturday August 17 starting at 9AM, Ron Rutowski will lead a walk down Pivot Rock Canyon which is on the Mogollon Rim near the junction of Highways 260 and 87. This will be our second time visiting this location and so will be interesting to see what species are flying there. The canyon bottom is at about 6800 ft, lush, and hosts a perennial stream that, along with the vegetation it supports, attracts butterflies. We can expect the usual Rim summer butterflies, such as Silver-spotted Skipper, Atlantis Fritillary, and Queen Alexandra’s Sulphur, but there is sure to be an interesting variety of other species flying. (Silver-spotted Skipper pictured) . To get to the start point: • Drive north on 87 from the junction in Payson of 87 and 260. • After 25 miles you will come to another 87/260 junction. • Continue north on 87 another 1.7 miles and turn left onto a forest road (FR 149/616). There is a very large and fenced-in pile of gravel/cinders on the right side of this road. • Continue on Forest Road 149/616 for 0.4 miles. • Take FR 616 as it veers off to the right. A sign points the way to Pivot Rock Canyon. Forest Road 616 is dirt but well graded and easily drivable in a passenger car. • Drive 2.2 miles to a camping area in the bottom of Pivot Rock Canyon where we will park and start our walk. If you prefer not to drive dirt roads meet the group no later than 8:45AM by the large gravel pile described in (3) above. Wear sturdy footwear and dress in layers. We will not be hiking long distances, but the footing can be poor and we will be at high elevations. As always, bring a wide-brimmed hat, water, and lunch. We are into the monsoon season, so be prepared for this. If the clouds and rain come early, we may have to eat lunch in the car. A $5 donation per person to benefit CAZBA will be appreciated. If you are planning to attend this trip or have any questions about the trip, please contact Ron at 'rrutowski at cox dot net'. Thanks! read more »

9/14/2024      Annual BTA Butterfly Count

On Saturday September 14th we tackle our 18th Annual Butterfly Count. The total count circle has a 15-mile diameter, and we will conduct a one-day census of all butterflies sighted within that circle. 80 species of butterflies appear on the Arboretum's checklist, while the record for most species observed in a single day is 44 by Marceline VandeWater during the same count in 2011! Xami Hairstreak is one of the specialties that has been found in the past at the Arboretum. We will gather on the patio at the Visitor Center at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum (Superior, AZ) at 8:15 AM. If you are not a member of the Arboretum, tell the folks you are there for the butterfly count and they will allow you to enter without paying the admission fee. We will organize into three teams, each of which will be led by an experienced counter and cover a different area in the count circle. Prior experience counting and identifying butterflies is helpful but not required. All comers are welcome. Sturdy walking shoes, hats, and a full water bottle will be needed by counters in all the areas. All teams will return to the Arboretum at noon to share, review, and compile results and to eat lunch (BYO) and socialize in the picnic area. For more information contact Ron Rutowski (rrutowski(at)cox(dot) net). read more »

9/21/2024      Maricopa County Parks annual fall butterfly count

Maricopa County Parks could use your help with the fall butterfly count. Please email Juanita Armstrong (Juanita.Armstrong at Maricopa.Gov) for more information or to find the county park closest to you! (Southern Dogface pictured) read more »

10/15/2024      Summary of 2024 Butterfly Counts for Central Arizona

We are looking forward to our October meeting and hearing about the results of the recent butterfly counts in Central Arizona. At this meeting of the Central Arizona Butterfly Association led by our president, Ron Rutowski, we will review the results of the three butterfly counts that were done in Central Arizona in 2024. The results will be compared to previous years and we will explore the causes of year-to-year changes in the number of species and individuals recorded. There will be plenty of time for questions. You may even bring some identification challenges on a memory stick if you'd like. This will provide an opportunity for us to learn from each other, while taste testing Laura's homemade cookies and lemonade. read more »

10/19/2024      Field trip: Jewel of the Creek with Marceline VandeWater

This fall outing will likely go to Jewel of the Creek, but destination might get adjusted depending on butterfly abundancy found during scouting. Jewel of the Creek is one of the places in Maricopa Co. where Wright's Metalmark can be found (pictured). Details to be added. read more »


Recent events

7/20/2024      Field trip Aspen Corner with Gail Morris and Marianne Jensen.

On Saturday July 20th starting at 9AM, Gail Morris and Marianne Jensen will lead a walk at Aspen Corner off Snowbowl Road in Flagstaff. This is always a rewarding place to look for butterflies as you have a few environments including, Aspen stands, meadows and a tank. If you like to photograph other arthropods, there are always lots of interesting species. *Butterflies: we will look for higher elevation species like Northwestern (Atlantis) Fritillary, Western Tiger Swallowtail, Pine White (pictured), Boisduval's Blue, Melissa Blue, Arachne Checkerspot, Weidemeyer's Admiral, Hoary Comma, Garita Skipperling, Taxiles Skipper, Snow's Skipper... *Beautiful Day flying Moths: Police Car Moth (Gnophaela vermiculata), Ctenucha Moth (Ctenucha virginica), and Red Lichen Moth (Lycomorpha fulgens) *Interesting Flies: Robber Fly, Orange Tachinid Fly and Yellow-belted Tachinid Fly. To get to Aspen Corner, take Highway 180 northwest from Flagstaff (toward the Grand Canyon) about 6-7 miles to the Snowbowl Road. The Aspen Corner trailhead and parking area is just a little over 5 miles up the Snowbowl Road. That is where we will gather at 9AM. Wear sturdy footwear and dress in layers. We will not be hiking long distances, but the footing can be poor and we will be at high elevations. As always, bring a wide-brimmed hat, water, and lunch. We are into the start of the monsoon season, so be prepared for this. If the clouds and rain come early, we may have to eat lunch in the car. A $5 donation per person to benefit CAzBA will be appreciated. read more »

6/15/2024      Field trip Boyce Thompson Arboretum with Laura Miller.

We will host a trip to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum on Saturday, June 15, to see what is flying about. A recent trip found many queens and swallowtails around the blooming tenaza trees. Some skippers, sulphurs, blues, and other species were found, as well as some nice dragonflies at the lake. We will begin our walk at 7:30 AM at the visitor center. It will be getting warm quickly, so we want to head out early and promptly. Knowing our group, we'll probably stop for anything that flies, crawls, slithers, hops, or runs across our path. BTA is always a great place to see birds, insects, amphibians, and reptiles. We invite anyone who visits BTA that morning to join us -- so we may have some newbies with questions. That's the way most of us began! Please advised that admission to BTA is $24.95 for non-members. We will not ask for a donation to CAZBA this time. read more »

5/18/2024      Field trip: Colonel Devin Trail with Marceline VandeWater

On Saturday May 18th, we will hike a part of the AZ Highline trail in pursuit of colorful butterflies. As the temperature rises, the flowers start to bloom higher and higher in elevation. Butterflies follow this nectar flow “up the trail” and May is a great time to check it out. Nectar plants like Penstemon, Kaibab Pussytoes, Canada Violets, Fleabane and Dandelion are blooming. Other species of butterflies like to mud puddle at one of the three seeps we will visit. Yet others, like Arizona Sister and Satyr Comma, are mostly found perched on trees. (Moon-marked Skipper pictured) Meeting place is Denny’s on Shea Blvd in Fountain Hills at 6:30am or at the Washington Park trailhead at 8:15am. Details to get to the trailhead: Drive to Payson, go straight at the hwy 260 intersection. After 3/4 mile turn right onto Houston Mesa Road. Cross all 3 "water crossings", and after about 8 miles turn left at the stop sign. The road now turns into a dirt road. After about 1 miles turn right towards Shadow Rim Camp and Washington Park Trailhead. Follow this road up for about 5.5 miles until the right turn-off to the Washington Park Trailhead (marked). Turn right here, and instantly turn left (signs again) and you will find the trailhead well marked after 0.5 mile. Please contact trip leader Marceline VandeWater to let her know where you will meet: marceline at ermaroni.net We ask for a $5 donation per person. Wear sturdy shoes and a hat, bring water, snacks and a sack lunch. A pair of binoculars will be handy too. The trail is moderately steep in places, but we will take our time. Limit 15 participants A donation of $5 per person to benefit CAzBA will be appreciated. read more »

4/20/2024      Field trip: Rackensack Canyon with Adriane Grimaldi

On a butterfly trip to this area in the same month 7 years ago, we recorded 28 species of butterflies, including the amazing Yucca Giant-Skipper (pictured). We will also pay attention to the wildflowers, with checklist provided. We will meet at the southwest corner of Cave Creek Rd and Bartlett Dam Rd (turn off to Bartlett Lake) at 8:30 am. Difficulty: moderate (no real trails, rocky creek bed). As usual wear good hiking shoes and a hat and bring binoculars, water and snacks/lunch. A donation of $5 per person to benefit CAzBA will be appreciated. read more »

3/23/2024      Maricopa County Parks annual spring butterfly count

Maricopa County Parks could use your help with the spring and/or fall butterfly counts. The Maricopa County Parks will be running their 2024 spring butterfly counts on Saturday, March 23. Counts will be held at five of their parks around the valley: Estrella Mountain, White Tanks, Usery Mountain, Hassyampa River, and Spur Cross. Counters at all levels of experience are welcome to join in, but you need to sign up for the count and for the workshop the Tuesday before the count. You can learn more about the count and how to sign up here: https://www.maricopacountyparks.net/about-us/butterfly-monitoring-program/ read more »