Dear Field Guided,
We followed this skipper around the zinnias a few days ago- an intimate look into the world of the nectar sippers. I consulted with my Kaufman Field Guide to Butterflies of North America, and my best guess is that she might be a Fiery Skipper. Kaufman and Brock say of the skippers that "they make up a very large worldwide group of mostly small and confusing creatures."
The authors continue:
Beginners are often driven to despair by the skippers, because there are so many of them and because they are so subtle, so challenging to identify.
On second thought, perhaps it is a Rural Skipper, or a Whirlabout. Or maybe a Sachem. Or a Juba. It could be an Alkali Skipper. No, I bet it's the Sandhill Skipper.
I may have mentioned my interest in collecting field guides? I have many of them for birds, of course, and wildflowers, but also shells, eggs, nests, rocks, trees, snakes, insects, mammals, holes and scat. There is a lot of pleasure in perusing field guides. Have I mentioned also that writer Terry Tempest Williams is a great one for field guides? If you don't feel like looking at the images in guidebooks, you could read her fine books on place, nature, and the search for truth.