The rare Hermes Copper, Lycaena hermes, taking nectar at California Buckwheat near Descanso in San Diego County. June 9, 2013. This was the first butterfly I saw just after getting out of my car: fresh with very yellow wings.
Another Hermes Copper on the same day. These are really spectacular butterflies, and it was thrilling to see them in person. I'd looked for them several times in past years with no success; today would be different.
A female showing the dorsal side.
Hermes Copper. Thanks to a tip from Mark Walker, I found them mostly around buckwheat plants between 1 and 2 p.m. at a spot near Descanso in San Diego County's back country. A female was taking nectar, and a few males patrolled pathways. The host Redberry is throughout this area but they come to nectar for a little while just after mid-day.
One last shot from a memorable day.
This is an early description (1935) of this butterfly's life cycle by John Comstock and Charles Dammers, published in the Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Sciences ("Notes on the Early Stages of Three Butterflies and Six Moths from California," v.34, pp.124ff.).