As with other species of skippers, there can be a lot of variation in pattern and coloration. Once considered a subspecies of the common branded skipper (Hesperia comma), most resources now consider the western branded its own species. It is difficult to differentiate between the two, but based on the time of year we are leaning toward the western, as the common is usually gone by August. Look for the western branded from mid-July to late September in sunny, open areas — forest openings, meadows, fields, roadsides, and alpine habitats.
Photo by Kristi DuBois on 7/29/20 near Tarkio, MT