Golden Hairstreak (Habrodais grunus)
One of the most-desired species on my Oregon trip, I was very pleased to discover a good-sized colony (at least 12) of these gold-colored beauties near Santiam Pass. Spectacular!
All photos were taken on the loop road to Round Lake, Jefferson Co., OR 8/1/06.
There seemed to be a few around every Golden Chinkapin (Chrysolepis chrysophylla) tree. This one is basking on a chinkapin leaf. Another common name for this species is Chinkapin Hairstreak, which you can see is quite appropriate, at least here in Oregon. They also use oaks and Tanoak in California. Since I didn't have directions to a good spot for finding Golden Hairstreak, my strategy was to find the host plant (which is fortunately very distinctive, especially in flower) and closely inspect the shortest trees. I found hairstreaks on most trees I stopped to inspect.
The chinkapins were in full bloom, and the Golden Hairstreaks were actively nectaring on them at mid-day. Just about every individual I saw was nectaring on chinkapin flowers, which was a little surprising since I'd read that they "shun flowers" (Brock & Kaufman's Butterflies of North America) and "adults do not seek flower nectar" (butterfliesandmoths.org). Pyle (2002) says that the claim in Scott (1986) that they do not nectar is mistaken, but even Pyle only mentions late summer composites as nectar sources.
Despite their reputation for being crepuscular, I took all these photos between noon and 1 pm in full sun. (Note: the EXIF time stamp embedded in these images is 3 hours off because my camera was still set to Eastern time.)
They did a lot of disappearing and reappearing and twisting about, which made photography a challenge, but with persistence I was able to get good photos of several individuals (all 5 here are different butterflies).
Golden Chinkapin (Chrysolepis chrysophylla), also known as Giant Chinkapin.