Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sachem or Fiery Skipper? at Estero, 10/31/13

This afternoon I ran over to Estero Llano Grande State Park in Weslaco to check out the crucita.  There I ran into another butterflier who will remain nameless except to say that he hails from a far northern friendly land and we had a disagreement as to the ID of the following butterflies.  One of us said Fiery Skipper while the other argued that they were Sachems.  What's your call?

Meanwhile there was a nice Purple-washed Skipper that distacted us and interrupted the impending fisitcuffs.

Yesterday I ran over to the National Butterfly Center south of Mission hoping to find some good stuff.  It was a bit disappointing.  The best thing I saw was this Statira Sulphur.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

National Butterfly Center, 10/26/13

With the south winds cranking up I thought it would be worthwhile to the check out the National Butterfly Center this morning.  Nothing exciting.  Best was this Violet-banded Skipper.

And a cooperative Coyote Cloudywing.

How about some hairstreaks?  Here's a nice Dusky-blue Groundstreak.

And a cute Clytie Ministreak.

And a common Gray Hairstreak.

And his equally common Strymon cogener (is that a word?) Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak.

Over at Frontera Audubon Thicket in Weslaco, Mike Rickard found me another Strymon, this Red-crescent Scrub-Hairstreak.

We found this really neat caterpillar at NBC.  Right now I have no clue as to whether it's a butterfly or moth, but I'm starting to lean towards moth.  It was 2-2.5 inches long.

Yesterday I ran up to Sal del Rey unit of the Lower Rio Grande NWR to check out the birds.  On the walk out I was surprised to find this Potrillo Skipper.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Erichson's White-Skipper at NBC, 10/24/13

This morning Buck and Linda Cooper found this smart Erichson's White-Skipper at the National Butterfly Center.  It was a first for me.  The identification of this butterfly was a lot more straightforward than I was thinking.

Overall the number of butterflies was down a bit and the main fall push seems to be dwindling.  Ruddy Daggerwings continue to dazzle.

This is one sharp Zebra Heliconian.

This was my first Orange Sulphur for the fall.

We've had lots of Crimson Patches this fall and looks like more is on the way.

A very common butterfly that deserves more respect.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Weslaco Stuff, 10/23/13

Late this afternoon I ran over to Estero Llano Grande State Park here in Weslaco to check out the blooming crucita.  Nothing super rare but lots of butterflies around.  Check out the variation in these two Brown-banded Skippers.  Is this gender related?

Also had a nice Zilpa Longtail which I don't see too often.

Black Swallowtails are always a treat in the RGV.

Earlier in the day I had this Giant Swallowtail in my yard.

And one of the few Monarchs I've seen this fall.

Yesterday I ran over to Santa Ana NWR to look for the Hermit Skipper that Mike Rickard had found the day before.  As usual I was a day late and a dollar short.  But I did find my first Purple-washed Skipper for the fall.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Great day at NBC, 10/21/13

Today was another of those warm, humid prefrontal days when lots of butterflies are often found.  So I drove over to the National Butterfly Center to see what was about and to hopefully find the Acacia Skipper that was found yesterday.  It took a while but the Cogia hippalus appeared where it had been seen previously and posed nicely.  There are few records for this desert loving species for the Valley.

Earlier I found only the second Falcate Skipper I have ever seen.  This is one sharp looking butterfly.  I like those muscular looking legs.

This Violet-banded Skipper was also the only the second I have ever seen.  It was in the gardens out front.

Other good stuff like Gray Cracker, Ruddy Daggerwing, Texas Powdered Skipper and Red-bordered Pixie have become expected at NBC.  Here's one of the toy butterflies.

I was going to try to not post a photo of a Mexican Bluewing but I can't help myself.

Ocola Skippers are starting to appear in the Valley.

Gee, I almost forgot the Malachite.

John Rosford found this Twelve-spotted Skimmer at the little pond out in front.  Common in much of the country, it's pretty rare down here.

Well it turned out to be a great day.  I saw 71 species and know I missed some pretty easy ones.  And look what was waiting in my backyard in Weslaco when I got home.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Ornythion Swallowtail at Frontera, 10/20/13

This morning I found my first male Ornythion Swallowtail this at Frontera Audubon thicket.  It was nectaring on crucita in the sw corner of the Thicket near the gate to the orange grove.

Nearby was this Giant White who hopefully has seen better days.

One of the first butterflies I saw in the orange grove this morning was this worn skipper that got me all excited.  It was about the size of a Mimosa Skipper and heavily worn.  I thought I had found something pretty good but couldn't think of any species that matched.  After getting home and checking the books,  it looks like it has to be a small, worn Dorantes Longtail.

Theona Checkerspots have invaded the Weslaco area.  I had three at Frontera and one in my yard.

Not your everyday view of a White-striped Longtail.

Another butterfly not usually seen in Weslaco is Nysa Roadside-Skipper.  I found this one in my yard a couple of days ago and Mike Rickard had one at Frontera yesterday.