Wednesday, May 21, 2014

National Butterfly Center, 5/20/14

With recent rain and a good south wind I decided to run over to the National Butterfly Center south of Mission to see what was flying.  I put in about three hours and saw only 28 species.  But there was lots of flowers in bloom so I'll go check it again in a few days.  Guess "bug of the day" goes to this Lantana Scrub-Hairstreak.

Cyna Blue laying eggs on its host plant.  They're common this year after being absent for a while.

My only Crimson Patch of the day.

I don't know who this spiny caterpillar is going to become.  Looks like a nymphalid of some kind.

The newly split South Texas Satyr.

Graceful Zebra Heliconians always make me wonder when I'll finally get to see an Erato.

Earlier in the morning several Epress Laelias were getting warmed up on the pavement at Anzalduas.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Kickapoo Cavern State Park, 5/17/14

This weekend Honey and I drove up to Kickapoo Cavern State Park north of Bracketville to camp and check out the park.  I was hoping for some new butterflies but not a lot was going on as the continuing drought has everything fried to a crisp.  Very little was in bloom but that doesn't seem to matter to Red Satyrs.

In the afternoon we drove up FM 674 in Edwards County and managed to find a few flowers.  Even though it's common across the entire county, this was my first Dun Skipper.  I surprised to find it such an attractive skipper.

A little patch of frog fruit attracted a Theona Checkerspot.

And an Orange Skipperling.

But other than a few Pipevine Swallowtails, Gulf Fritillaries, Reakirt's Blues, Sleepy Oranges and Lyside Sulphurs, that was it. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Definite Patch at Palo Alto, 5/9/14

I got up this warm, humid, breezy morning and headed over to Cameron County with the intent of seeing a Definite Patch.  The only site I knew for them was Palo Alto National Battlefield north of Brownsville.  I arrived about noon and saw nothing in the little garden in front of the visitors center.  So I walked down the sidewalk, checking out the Sea Ox Eye Daisies, and eventually found a patch/checkerspot back behind the building.  Sure enough, it was my first Definite Patch.  I searched a bit more but didn't see any others.  The underwing looks right but the top is colored a bit differently than the photos in Glassberg.

A very brightly colored Gray Hairstreak.

Feeling lucky I drove on down to Sabal Palm Sanctuary to look for Double-dotted Skipper.  There were a few butterflies in the new garden but nothing unusual and the old garden was extremely dry and bugless as was the palm grove.  This drought has been relentless.  I'll try again some day.

When I got home I found this really sharp Texan Crescent in our garden.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Ornytion Swallowtail, Weslaco, 5/2/14

I haven't posted anything in a while as I've been busy with spring bird migration.  But I stepped outside this afternoon to quickly check out our butterfly garden.  There was not much going on when I noticed  a Giant Swallowtail approaching our flame vine.  Woops....That's not Giant Swallowtail.  It's an Ornythion Swallowtail!  It was only the third I've ever seen but was pretty easy to recognize after seeing so many Giants.  Notice the tail is spotless on the dorsum and the yellow is paler than on Giant.  The yellow spots on the hindwing are shaped like chevrons.

So yard butterfly #83 turns out to be the best our garden has attracted so far.  I now have some faith that we can get some rare stuff.  I just need to keep it watered.