Beginning Jan 1, 2015, I will travel the U.S. in my Sportsmobile camper-van on a butterfly Big Year, photo-documenting butterfly diversity from coast-to-coast in the continental U.S. (lower 48). Starting and ending in butterfly-rich s. Texas, my journey will take me into southwestern deserts and canyons, up the spine of all major mountain ranges, and through the southeast to the Florida Keys. My original plan to include Alaska was discarded due to time constraints.

Equally inspired by Bob Pyle's published 2008 Big Year and a taste of south Texas butterflies in the winters of 2013-14, on New Year’s Day my quest begins. Much of the country's butterfly fauna is still unknown to me, especially in the north and east, where seemingly-exotic species like Hessel's Hairstreak, Mitchell's Satyr, and Frosted Elfin await my eager eyes.

My goal is to capture digital images of 600 or more species. This may seem daunting, but a 10-day trip to s. Texas in 2013 produced photos of 110 species, so I am optimistic.

For a journey like this to be successful, one must avoid obsession with species- count, and savor each new species as a special individual. To this end, a "species- of-the-week" will highlight each blog.

I’ve been engaged with butterflies for about 8 years now, since crossing over to the "dark side” from birding. Twenty-five years of birding was great fun, with special memories of South American antbirds and New Guinea birds of paradise, but it’s time to return to the butterflies that I discovered as a teenager.

- Chris Tenney 

© Chris Tenney 2014