Before he took me back to the train station in Fitchburg, I dragged Monty outside to look for birds and bugs with me. We found some ski slopes, which we climbed amid clouds of grasshoppers.
At the top, we found an excellent bird watching spot. We saw a number of as-yet unidentified sparrows, a towhee and a phoebe (all hunting insects in the grass). In the trees there seemed to be woodpeckers that we never got a good look at, and also a white-breasted nuthatch.
The little butterflies that seemed common high up I never got a sufficient picture of to identify, since I fumbled the camera settings. There were also bigger dark butterflies with a splash of orange at the underside tip of the forewing, which we saw (with binoculars) at the edges of the woods, sometimes perched vertically on tree trunks. I can't find an exact match, but the Common Wood-Nymph (Cercyonis pegala) seems possible.
On our way down, I did get close to a Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos), shown here.
Butterflies often look much brighter and crisper on the wing; I played with the colors a little to try to bring out what I think I saw, but for reference, the original colors are here. (Decide for yourself whether I overdid it.)
I do plan to try with a much smaller aperture next time this comes up; my default for small things is as big an aperture as I can get (which did do nicely at blurring a distracting blade of grass here) but the messy background problem always seems to be there for butterflies regardless.