Monday, September 30, 2013

Frontera Audubon Thicket, 9/30/13

Frontera Audubon Thicket in Weslaco is looking green and lush after this months rains.  Lots of stuff is blooming and crucita should be in bloom in a couple of weeks.  No fantastic butterflies today.  My best was a worn Brown-banded Skipper which was my first at Frontera.

I saw several other things I have not seen in a while, like this Silver-banded Hairstreak.

And this Dusky-blue Groundstreak.

And this Sickle-winged Skipper.

This Mazan's Scallopwing has a white spot which I guess is just a worn area.

Dorantes Longtail is also something that I don't see every time out.

But I do see Gulf Fritillary every time I go out and I never get tired of them.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Giant White at NBC, 9/24/13

Today I found this beautiful Giant White at the National Butterfly Center.  I don't see very many of these and this is the first to allow me some decent photos.  I like the pale blue reflection from the sky.  This may become one of my favorites butterflies.

Unknown Skipper at NBC, 9/24/13

I found this worn skipper at the National Butterfly Center today.  It's probably something common but I don't see the costal dashes of a Clouded Skipper.  Seems to have a greenish cast but maybe this is a reflection.  Other possibilities are Fawn-spotted Skipper and Olive-clouded Skipper.  Seems funny shaped to me.  Any comments?  My guess is Fawn-spotted because of the pale square.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Our yard, 9/22/13

I've been working on a butterfly garden in our yard after the drought killed all the grass.  I've got quite a bit done but the recent wet weather has slowed things down.  However I am starting to pick up a few butterflies.  They just happen to be all the common tiny stuff so far.  And here's the smallest, a Western Pygmy-Blue on my Scorpion's Tail.

A couple more on the Scorpion's Tail were these two common hairstreaks, Gray Hairstreak.

And Mallow-scrub Hairstreak.  I like the little bee cruising by.

Here's a bright Southern Broken-Dash.

Every one likes the Zexmenia which is now considered a Wedelia including this Little Yellow.

And this Elada Checkerspot.

And this Vesta Crescent.

The bigger butterflies just fly on by.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

East-Mexican White-Skipper at Santa Ana NWR, 9/14/13

This morning I decided to go birding along the tour road at Santa Ana NWR as everywhere else is pretty muddy due to the recent rains.  Birds were a bit disappointing but I could could tell it might be good for butterflies as many of the native plants were in bloom.  As it warmed up I found some blooming Tenaza with a Ruddy Daggerwing and a Sickle-winged Skipper among the hundreds of American Snouts.  Then about 100 yards past Bobcat Trail I found what I was hoping for...East-Mexican White-Skipper Heliopetes sublinea.  A few weeks ago Mike Rickard found one on the Bobcat Trail and has seen more since then.

And then the rains came.  This was a new bug for me.  I had always expected the ID to be a bit difficult but it's pretty straight forward.  Look for the two white fingers on the middle part of the forewing.

National Butterfly Center, 9/13/13

A low pressure system in the Gulf was sending northeast winds and clouds to the National Butterfly Center resulting in a bit less activity than my last visit, but there was still stuff to see.  It had been months since my last Lantana Scrub-Hairstreak.  This one was in the garden behind the visitors center.

In the same garden was an Urbanus that proved to be the expected Long-tailed Skipper.

Caterpillars have been hard to find in the RGV during our prolonged drought.  Here's a Tropical Leafwing larva feeding on Croton.

I wrestled with this white skipper trying to turn it into a non-Laviana/Turk's Cap but I lost.  It's just a Laviana White-Skipper.

The Brush Holley is in bloom again and I checked it out for daggerwings.  Sure enough there was a worn Ruddy Daggerwing hiding inside.

Last time I posted a photo of a very colorful White Peacock.  Here is the dorsal view of the same individual.

A Mexican Fritillary was trying to mate with this Variegated Fritillary.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

National Butterfly Center, 9/10/13

Things are greening up at the National Butterfly Center south of Mission and it's looking like it may be a great fall for butterflies.  Though there was nothing fantastic around, there was plenty of interesting things to see.  At the top of the list was this bizarre White Peacock.  What a pretty butterfly!

I finally got photos of Yellow Angled-Sulphur though not great ones.

There were at least a dozen Crimson Patches not counting larvae and pupae.

This Pale-banded Crescent had me excited for a bit, but I got over it.

Southern Broken-dash on runway A, ready for take off.

Here's a Whirlabout.

Intermittent sun, clouds and rain had some of the Tropical Leafwings spreading their ... uhm... leafwings.

This White-striped Longtail really has a long tail.

God save the Queen!  Woops, too late.

A little research on Bug Guide turned up the identity for this weird bug.  It's a fly, Lepidophora vetusta.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Santa Ana NWR, 9/5/13

Yesterday I made a run over to Santa Ana NWR to look for migrants warblers.  Didn't see too many and as usual was distracted by butterflies.  Santa Ana is one of the best places in the Valley for Mimosa Skipper but this one was not too photogenic.

I saw a few skippers on a little sunflower and was hoping for something interesting but the costal dashes say Clouded Skipper.

I don't know why but I like Celia's Roadside-Skippers.  Maybe because they're out early for bird watchers to see.

Another one that comes out early is Empress Leilia.  There are always a few warming up on the tour road as I walk in.

Things were starting to fly when it clouded up and a much needed cloud burst drove me out of the refuge.