A Saturday Singsong About Butterflies, Starring the Summer Falls Butterflies

We’ll get back to Mount St. Helens soon, I absolutely promise, but after all the news this week, I figured we could use a nice sing-song about butterflies, plus some pretty butterflies, and maybe a waterfall or two. Right? I’m pretty sure I’m right. So: refill your drink, situate yourself in splendid comfort, and press play.

Then enjoy these lovely butterflies, which live at Summer Falls near Coulee City, WA.

Image shows a pair of blue butterflies milling on the damp, pebbly ground at Summer Falls.
Blue Butterflies.

Alas, we had not achieved Peak Butterfly when B and I visited. There are times when you can go to Summer Falls and be mobbed by the gorgeous little things. This time, there were only a few clusters hanging about the damp spots by the stone-and-chain fence. We’d have to come out a bit later in the year to get clouds of them settling on ourselves every time we settled into the grass. Still. Butterflies!

Image shows a single butterfly with its wings outspread.
I feel pretty… wait, I am pretty!

This has not been my lucky year for butterflies. I keep seeing them, but the little buggers seldom land long enough for me to get the camera aimed at them. The wee blue butterflies are a different story. These little darlings are always up for a photoshoot. Apparently, from what I’m finding on the interwebs, we have about a trillion species of similar-appearing wee blue butterflies, some of which are actually endangered, and damned if I know how to tell ’em apart. If you love butterfly identifying, you are absolutely welcome to figure out what these delights are.

Several butterflies are clustered on the gravelly ground. Two are off on their own at the upper right.
An abundant gathering of wee blue butterflies.

I see about nine trillion of these every year. They’re always fluttering around seeps of water or damp patches. When Cujo and I visited Summer Falls, there was a huge crowd of them over by the bathrooms where a water pipe had sprung a leak. They couldn’t have been more happy.

Another view of the butterfly cluster.
So many little delights!

B’s and my butterflies had to make do with where the sprinklers had overshot the grass a bit, but they seemed pretty pleased.

More butterflies milling on the ground, this time closer to the edge of the bald patch, where a few blades of grass are growing.
An adorable group.

So, if a butterfly sees its shadow, does that mean we get six more weeks of summer?

A butterfly with half-closed wings faces its shadow on the ground.
Butterfly and shadow.

I love them so much. *happysigh*

Of course, I know many of you have a particular fondness for our feathered flying friends. It turns out you’re in luck! As I was perusing my Summer Falls photos looking for the perfect concluding picture for this post, I came across one where an obliging flying dinosaur flew over the lake just as I was snapping away. It’s not the most magnificent shot of a bird ever, but you’ll probably have a few seconds’ fun identifying it anyway.

Image shows the very base of Summer Falls in the background. In the foreground, a black bird is flying over the blue water.
Now THAT’S the way to see Summer Falls!

And the full shot, for your pleasure:

Full image shows the falls plunging over their basalt cliff. There's a bit of a ledge two-thirds of the way down, so they almost look like they've got their feet up, or like a big white-watery lounge chair. The bird is barely visible near the bottom.
Summer Falls with Blackbird.

Usually, when I think of immortality, I figure it would get to be a boring pain in the arse after the first million years or so. Then I see places like this, and realize how much there is to know about them, and how subtly they change throughout the seasons, and that there are millions of them all over the world, and how I feel like I could very nearly spend eternity just here, and I think I could probably find plenty of ways to occupy at least the first billion years or so. I love this planet so very much sometimes!

A Saturday Singsong About Butterflies, Starring the Summer Falls Butterflies

5 thoughts on “A Saturday Singsong About Butterflies, Starring the Summer Falls Butterflies

  1. 1

    about a trillion species of similar-appearing wee blue butterflies…I see about nine trillion of these every year

    I’ve told you a million times, don’t exaggerate!

  2. 2

    We were camping in the inland northwest with my mother once when there were thousands of swallowtails around. Puddling in groups, flying here and there. It was impossible to believe how many there were even when you had just seen them.

  3. 4

    I looked up Summer Falls when Dana mentioned it a while back and was surprised to learn it’s almost entirely artificial. Water from the Columbia River at Grand Coulee Dam is pumped up to Banks Lake, in the Grand Coulee proper. Banks lake has a dam at each end. The spillway at the south end is sent through a canal to summer falls to provide irrigation water to the central Washington desert. We need to make a trip to the falls next time we go to Ephrata to visit my wife’s kin.

  4. 5

    It isn’t widely known, but Vladimir Nabokov was an expert lepidopterist, whose special interest was Blues. He threw it all away to become a world-famous novelist…

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