Saturday, August 31, 2013

Ornythion Swallowtail, Pale-spotted Leafwing at NBC, 8/31/13

After missing the Glaucous Cracker and most recent Tailed Cecropian and then getting clobbered with rain, all on last Monday, I figured I was due something good today at the National Butterfly Center.  But things started pretty slow with only three Gray Crackers and no Guatemalans.  Things started to pick up with a couple of Florida Whites, including this immaculate male.

Then I found my best bug of the day and didn't even know it.  While photographing the Florida White, I saw a dark swallowtail which I recognized as a non-Pipevine.  Only problem was, I thought it was a Black Swallowtail.  After getting home and going through the photos I realized my Black Swallowtail had some weird spotting on the underwings.  Turns out it was a female Broad-banded Swallowtail, my first!  Um, well, wrong again.  Mike Rickard just sent me an email informing me that the tails are way to long for female Broad-banded and it is actually a female Ornythion.  Woops.  Well, it's still a new one for me.

Then I met a nice guy who showed me a Red-bordered Pixie, my first in quite a while.

After lunch I made another loop through the woods and added this Malachite, my first for the fall.

There were lots of Tropical Leafwings on the bait logs and I kept scrutinizing them, hoping to get lucky.  And I did.  This is the first Pale-spotted Leafwing I have ever found on my own.

Wow, what a day!  I almost forgot the Olive-clouded Skipper which is normally a pretty good bug for the day.

Oh yeah, there was a Zebra Heliconian also.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

National Butterfly Center, 8/22/13

It had been almost two weeks since my last visit to the NBC so I thought it was time to check things out.  Butterfly numbers were down a bit with not too much new stuff.  But there was a new species that I had not seen in a couple of years---Florida White.  There were several hanging out in the shady ditch with the Lyside Sulphurs.

Otherwise things were pretty much the same.  Still lots of Gray Crackers around with a least two Guatemalan Crackers.  How about a two-for-one shot?

And at least half a dozen Crimson Patches were still about.

I tried to turn this crescent into something rare but the orange underwing says it's just a colorful Texan Crescent.

Here's a Tropical Leafwing.

I'm sure that given the chance this fat Cane Toad could wipe out a few butterflies.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Falcon/Salineno, 8-12-13

I made a trip upriver to check out the birds and bugs.  First stop was Salineno on the Rio Grande where birds were a bit sparse.  Odes were nonexitent almost.  And I was a bit early for butterflies but I did see a Malachite and my very first Nysa Roadside-Skipper.

Gray Crackers are everywhere this summer.  This one was on the shady trail along the river.

I stopped by Barry Nall's place where his bait had attracted another Gray Cracker, a Coyote Cloudywing and a Dingy Purplewing.

The next stop was the butterfly garden at Falcon State Park.  Despite the continuing drought, park staff has done a good job of keeping the plants going and a number were in boom.  This is usually a good place for Theona Checkerspot and a number were present.

Statira Sulphurs have been reported passing through the Valley in numbers but this was my first of the summer.

This sharp looking Great Purple Hairstreak kept coming back to this same cluster of flowers of a fiddlewood.

And here's a White-striped Longtail to end things.

Friday, August 9, 2013

National Butterfly Center, 8/9/13

This morning Honey and I ran over to the National Butterfly Center hoping to get lucky and find a Rosita Patch.  Several have been reported in the Valley lately.  Well, we missed that but I did manage to find a Crimson Patch.  This beauty has been hard to find in recent years.

This Bordered Patch had me going for a bit.

In the woods it was cracker city.  I found 15 Gray Crackers and two Guatemalan Crackers.  The concentric blue rings on the ocelli make this a Guatemalan.

I tried to turn this into a Glaucous but it's just a worn Gray Cracker.

The Mexican Bluewings are not easy to get close to with their wings open.  This was a distant shot.

Another distant photo was this White Angled-Sulphur.  If you get one in focus and just keep shooting you can usually get an open winged shot.

And just for the heck of it, here's a White Peacock.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Tailed Cecropian at NBC, 8/3/13

What a day for flashy Nymphalids at the National Butterfly Center south of Mission.  I parked in my usual spot and walked over to the bird feeding station and there's a Gray Cracker on a bait log.  So I walked north, checking the bait logs, and I found more Gray Crackers.  My final count was seven.  I kept walking north and a I saw a tall, well armed photographer ahead of me and he was photographing something good.  John Rosford had just found a Tailed Ceropian Historis acheronta.  I'm sure his photos are fantastic but here we'll have to settle for mine.

The Gray Crackers may have been outclassed but they're still pretty hot.

This one really blends in with the other butterflies.

This is certainly the summer of the Dingy Purplewings.  They are common across the upper Valley.  I even got some purple on this one.

Normally a Ruddy Daggerwing is the bug of the day.  But not today and this summer they've been pretty common.

White Angled-Sulphurs often nectar in the tops of the Mexican Olives where they are tough to photograph.

A beautiful Soldier.

Gee, I almost forgot about the Band-celled Sister.

And one more rockin' Nymphalid, a Questionmark.

This Texas Spiny Lizard was positioned by one of the bait logs.  It seems to know what it's doing.

And of course Martin Reid had to contribute something great.  But not a butterfly this time.  His sharp eyes spied a young Short-tailed Hawk.  Common in Mexico, this raptor is pretty rare in Texas.