Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Red-lined Scrub Hairstreak at OHP, 7/30/13

This morning I decided to check out the Old Hidalgo Pumphouse while on my way over the National Butterfly Center.  There were still plenty of Clytie Ministreaks but I couldn't find a Gray Ministreak.  I did find this nice Gray Hairstreak.

I had pretty much given up hope of seeing the Red-lined Scrub-Hairstreak that Troy and Robin had seen five days ago.  In fact I wasn't even thinking about it.  While I was talking with three teachers from the Donna School District about some common acquaintances, I looked up and there was a Red-lined Scrub Hairstreak, right in the bush where Troy had originally found it.  It's better to be lucky than good!

Bill and Dottie came over to see the hairstreak and Bill let me borrow his 100mm macro.  I can see I'm going to need some practice.  Here's my only shot of the Red-lined Hairstreak before we flushed it.

And a close up of a Clytie.

And a Eufala Skipper.

With the heat building and a good butterfly for the day I changed my mind about going over to the butterfly park, so I thought I would sit in the car and eat my lunch before heading on back.  I looked up and there in the Tecoma in front of me was this Brazilian Skipper begging to have its picture taken.  I see very few butterflies nectaring on Tecoma stans.  This is with my 300mm back on.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Old Hidalgo Pumphouse, 7/26/13

Yesterday Robin and Troy fround a couple of Gray Ministreaks along with lots of Clytie Ministreaks at the Old Hildalgo Pumphouse.  So I ran over today there hoping to see them.  However I got distracted by this little brown skipper with a couple of white dots on the underside of its hindwing.  I had it for just a few seconds but manged to fire off some shots.  Wow!  my first Double-dotted Skipper.  Well, not so fast.  After I got home, I looked at the pictures and noticed the white costal dashes of a Clouded Skipper.  Upon close examination it appears the double dots are actually on the underside of the forewing and are showing though a tear in the underwing.  At least that's the way I interpret it.  So it's just a Clouded Skipper?

There were literally dozens of tiny Clytie Ministreaks to pick through.  Some were quite guadily marked.

After a while Robin and Troy showed up along with Bill and Dottie and Robin had me on a Gray Ministreak in not time at all.

Then Troy got us all excited with this mystery hairstreak.  It was up in the sun and acting very un-Clytie-like.  But I think it was just another Clytie.  At that point I decided it was too hot and headed for home.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Boca Chica area, 7/23/13

Yesterday Mike Rickard and I took my truck over to the mangroves of Boca Chica near the mouth of the Rio Grande in search of Mangrove Buckeyes.  We found a large patch along the river and sure enough Mike dug out a pink Mangrove Buckeye but wasn't able to get a photo and I didn't see one at all.  So in consolation here's a photo from the same spot from 8/30/11 which may or may not be a Mangrove.

We did see Obscure Skippers but they were unusually uncooperative.

Due to excessive mud I wasn't able to get further down the river so we checked out the mangroves just before the dunes on TX 4.  A couple of buckeyes teased us but turned out to be dark Tropical Buckeyes.

On the way back we checked out "the smiley face" for Pale-rayed Skippers and Saltbush Sootywings.  We struck out.  But a bit bit down the road Mike saw some likely looking saltbush plants and expertly flushed out a Saltbush Sootywing.

A couple of days earlier I helped out with the National Butterfly Center's butterfly count.  I heard we finished with 65 species which isn't bad for late July.  Best were the several Ornythion Swallowtails and a Dark Kite-Swallowtail.  Unfortunately I left too early.  But I did get to see several Dingy Purplewings.

This ovipositing Brown-banded Skipper was a treat.

Friday, July 19, 2013

National Butterfly Center, 7/18/13

Checked out the NBC today to see if any of the recently reported good stuff was still around.  Dot immediately put me onto the brush holly that has been hosting a number of daggerwings.  As the day progressed the count increased to three Ruddy Daggerwings and three Many-banded Daggerwings.

This beat up Zilpa Longtail went misidentified (thanks to me) during the day but Dot got us straightened out.  It's been a couple of years since I've seen one.

This Gray Cracker has been hanging around for a while.

With it's wings up, I did not recognize this White-patched Skipper.

A pretty nice Giant Swallowtail.

And a Whirlabout.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Davis Mountains 7/9/13

Earlier this week I jumped at the opportunity to run up to Bosque del Apache NWR to see the first US occurrence of Rufous-necked Wood-Rail.  So on the way back I wandered through the Davis Mountains and managed to find some new (for me) butterflies.  With the recent rains there were lots of wildfloweres and butterflies were easy to find.  These were photographed near or at the Lawence E. Wood picnic area.

Here's a Canyonland Satyr, Cyllopsis pertepida.

This is the white-edged race of the Northern Cloudywing, Thorybes pylades albosuffusa.

Orange Skipperlings Copaeodes aurantiacus are hard to find in the RGV.

I guess this is a Cassus Roadside-Skipper Amblyscirtes cassus.

South of El Paso at the rest area on I-10, just before the highway ascends towards Sierra Blanca, I found my first Tiny Checkerspot Dymasia dymas.

And here is the purpose of my trip.  The tropical mangrove-loving Rufous-necked Wood-Rail.  What it's doing up at Bosque del Apache is anyone's guess.