|Note the habitat in which the butterfly occurs. Is it darting between branches along a shady and moist woodland path? Perched on the top of a grass blade in a saltwater marsh? Bobbing among low grasses in a wet prairie? Fluttering from one flower to the next in a fallow agricultural field? Many butterflies have strong habitat preferences. Some are restricted to a single particular habitat while others may occur in a wide range of habitats.
Sometimes even the date can offer a useful hint. Many hairstreaks, for instance, are univoltine, meaning they produce just one generation. As a result, the adults occur only during a narrow window of time each spring. Similarly, several butterflies overwinter as adults. They may be active at times when few other species are around.
Butterfly observation and identification are skills, and it takes time and practice to master them. To speed up the learning curve, you may also wish to join a local butterfly gardening or watching club or society. The members can help give advice, accompany you in the field, or share directions to great butterfly watching spots.