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


4/6/2019      McDowell Sonoran Conservancy's third Spring Butterfly Count and training session

The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy will be conducting its third Spring Butterfly Count on Saturday April 6, and is looking for volunteers. (A complementary training session will be held at the Mustang Library in Scottsdale on Monday April 1st, 6 pm-7:30 pm). Please save these dates and email us at the Preserve for more information: plantmonitor@mcdowellsonoran.org read more »

4/13/2019      NOTE DATE CHANGE!! Field trip: Rackensack Canyon with Marceline VandeWater and Janet Witzeman

NOTE DATE CHANGE!! Meet at 8:30 A.M. at the southeast corner of the junction of the Cave Creek Road and the road turning off to Bartlett Dam (about 8 miles East of Carefree). Bring a lunch, water, and close focus binoculars. On a butterfly trip to this area in the same month 4 years ago, we recorded 28 species of butterflies, including the amazing Yucca Giant-Skipper. We will also pay attention to the wildflowers, with checklist provided...Difficulty: moderate (no real trails, rocky creek bed). For questions, please email Janet Witzeman at jlwitzeman@aol.com We ask for a $5 donation. read more »

5/4/2019      Members Garden Tour 2019

Before it really gets too hot, we are visiting Marianne's Desert Garden up in Northeast Scottsdale, to learn about different ways to make your yard attractive to butterflies, birds, and other desert critters. Please email Marianne Jensen at ezpixels@gmail.com for more information and directions. read more »

5/25/2019      Dragonfly walk at Papago Park

Learn to identify some cool colorful dragonflies and damselflies such as Blue Dasher, Flame Skimmer, Red-tailed Pennant, Mexican Amberwing and Familiar Bluet. Easy 2 hour stroll around the lakes. Children welcome. Bring binoculars (close-focus preferred), water, and hat. Meet 10:00 am (yes: it might already be hot by then, but that's when there is the most dragonfly activity) at the bathroom building in the middle of the park. No reservations needed. Leader: Justin Jones read more »

6/8/2019      Field trip: Tonto Creek with Laura Miller

In June, butterflying should be good along Tonto Creek, elevation 6000’ – 6500’, in the Mongollon Rim area northeast of Payson, and it doesn’t require a high-clearance vehicle. There are several places to stop along the 3 mile road up to the Tonto Fish Hatchery. The temperatures (high 70’s) beat the Valley’s. Important nectar plants are: AZ Thistle, Butterfly Weed, Buckbrush, Watercress, Bergamot. Please wear sturdy shoes and a hat, bring water, snacks and a sacklunch. A pair of binoculars will be handy too. Email trip leader Laura Miller with questions at lmiller133@cox.net. Meeting place: Denny’s on Shea Blvd in Fountain Hills at 6:30 am. We ask for a $5 donation per person. read more »


Recent events

3/23/2019      Field trip: Butterflies along the Beeline Highway with Ron Rutowski

Spring starts early in the Upper Sonoran Desert. By March many wildflowers are in bloom and on warm days the spring butterflies – Orangetips, Marbles, Spring Azures, Variable Checkerspots, etc. - are out in force. This month the CAzBA field trip is to Round Valley in the Mazatzal Mountains, just at the upper elevational limit of the Sonoran Desert. Here, there is stream-side riparian vegetation, stands of mesquite on the flood plain, and hillsides dotted with cacti and annual wildflowers, all of which makes for a rich and accessible butterfly community. This area is about 50 miles from Phoenix where the Beeline highway crosses Sycamore Creek, right before the road climbs to Sunflower Valley. We will explore a side drainage of Sycamore Creek where Variable Checkerspots and Empress Leilia will be common. After that, we will drive up to Sunflower and walk on the "old" Beeline to the ranger station. At the ranger station, we will sit down at the picnic tables for lunch. Sagebrush Checkerspot (pictured) and Zela Metalmark are some of the regulars there. Please gather at the Denny's on Shea Blvd. in Fountain Hills at 8:30AM. Wear sturdy shoes, bring water, snacks/lunch and close focus binoculars. For questions, please email Ron Rutowski at rrutowski@cox.net. We ask for a $5 donation. read more »

2/19/2019      Meeting: Prof. Ron Rutowski: Dry Season tour of African Savannah: Landscapes, Organisms, and Questions.

In May to June of 2018 I had the opportunity to tour the wildlands and parks of northern southern Africa. Most time was spent in savannah environments in Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa. However, we also visited the coast, desert, and highland areas in Namibia. In my presentation I hope to give you a quick overview of what we saw and learned on this month-long trip. We encountered and photographed many of the iconic mammals and birds of the region, but saw butterflies as well. Still, much of what we saw was puzzling. Why are there so many large animals in the African savannah? Why is the Namib desert where it is? How and why is the butterfly diversity different from that of savannah areas in North America? I will present the observations that stimulated these questions and discuss the potential answers to them. ~Ron Rutowski read more »

1/15/2019      Annual Membership Meeting with guest speaker Jim Brock

Join the Central Arizona Butterfly Association (CAzBA) Tuesday, Jan 15th, from 7 pm to 9 pm for a presentation by our Arizona butterfly guru Jim Brock! He has been an active lepidopterist for more than 45 years, published several field guides, and has led tours throughout North America and also to parts of South America. He will talk about "Butterflies of the Cosnipata Valley".The Cosnipata Valley is on the east slope of the Andes in the Southeastern Peru and borders Manu National Park. Elevations range from 11,000' to 1,300'. Diversity of butterflies may be the highest known in the world with over 2,400 species recorded and another 600 species expected. There are approximately 200 undescribed butterflies and skippers! This is CAzBA's annual Membership Meeting where we will approve the 2019 board, have the treasurer go over the treasurer's report and talk about our plans for the upcoming year. Location is Papago Buttes Church of the Brethren, 2450 N. 64th Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85257 (On the NW corner of Oak and 64th St. (about a mile north of the Desert Botanical Garden). read more »

11/17/2018      End-of-the Year Party

At this meeting we will evaluate our efforts, fieldtrips and meetings of the past year. We also will talk about the upcoming election of the board and membership related issues. Members and non-members will be able to show-off their most beautiful, interesting, cutest photos of butterflies, moths or caterpillars in a photo presentation. This year we also would like to add an opportunity to share short videos. More details to come! We will be selling field guides, jewelry and some butterfly related art on our "book table". We will also trade host plant cuttings and seeds, and do our yearly raffle. There will definitely be time to socialize with drinks and munchies provided. Meeting will be held 2-4 pm, at Papago Buttes Church of the Brethren, 2450 N. 64th Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85257 (On the NW corner of Oak and 64th St. (This is about a mile north of the Desert Botanical Garden) read more »

10/16/2018      Meeting: Evaluation of the BTA and McDowell Sonoran Preserve (MSP) Count and some difficult butterfly ID's

Today, Dr. Ron Rutowski will present the results of the BTA and the McDowell Sonoran Preserve Annual Butterfly Counts and the trend over the years, along with pictures of all species seen. In a fun and informal way, he will compare similar species and species groups. 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 savory homemade cookies and lemonade. read more »