Sunday, July 20, 2014

Erato Heliconian at NBC, 7/20/14

Lately I haven't got out much as I've been undergoing some chemotherapy for a precancerous skin condition that has left my face looking as if I had contracted smallpox. But I had promised to help out with the NABA butterfly count today so I ran over to the National Butterfly Center hoping to see the Red Rim and White Scrub-Hairstreak that were seen yesterday. They were both seen today, but not by me. But I saw enough other interesting stuff to make for one heck of a day. Leading the way was this very cooperative Erato Heliconian that spent several hours just hanging around. It gets my vote for "most tropical looking butterfly." This is the first I've seen north of the border.

Several of the Erato's more common cousin, the Zebra Heliconian, fluttered in the shady understory.

And another slightly more distant cousin, the Julia Heliconian, was ovipositing on the Corky-stemmed Passionvine.

After seeing a female Silver Emperor a few weeks ago, a colorful male showed up today. Too bad someone had bitten a chunk out of his wings.

The first good bug of the day was this Potrillo Skipper that hung around for just a few seconds.

And then there was my first Malachite of the summer.

Yesterday I saw my first Soldier of the summer in our yard. There were at least ten of them today at the NBC. It seems strange how these things show up all at once.

I almost forgot about seeing my first Banded Peacock of the year.

So just as I was leaving after enjoying a really good day, Mike Rickard catches me to tell me that John and Audrey have a White-crescent Longtail in their yard over in Retama Village. We raced the two miles over there and find the gang (Dot, Bill, Robin and Troy included) leisurely enjoying a lifer butterfly. It was one for me also.

Here's my list from the NBC.

Pipevine Swallowtail 1
Giant Swallowtail 3
Cloudless Sulphur 1
Large Orange Sulphur 3
Lyside Sulphur 10
Little Yellow 3
Gray Hairstreak 2
Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak 2
Ceraunus Blue 1
Reakirt's Blue 2
Fatal Metalmark 1
Rounded Metalmark 1
Gulf Fritillary 3
Julia Heliconian 1
Zebra Heliconian 4
Crimson Patch 6
Elada Crescent 2
Texan Crescent 2
Vesta Crescent 2
Phaon Crescent 20
Pearl Crescent 1
White Peacock 1
Banded Peacock 1
Malachite 1
Tropical Leafwing 1
Empress Leilia 1
Tawny Emperor 35
Silver Emperor 1
Queen 80
Soldier 10
Brown Longtail 5
Potrillo Skipper 1
Sickle-winged Skipper 1
White Checkered-Skipper 15
Tropical Checkered-Skipper 3
Desert Checkered-Skipper 1
Laviana White-Skipper 6
Clouded Skipper 15
Southern Skipperling 1
Fiery Skipper 1
Whirlabout 3
Southern Broken-Dash 6
Eufala Skipper 5

Thursday, July 10, 2014

National Butterfly Center, 7/10/14

Yesterday I ran over to the National Butterfly Center to look for Mike Rickard's Liris Skipper. When I arrived Louie showed me a sharp looking Ruddy Daggerwing, the first I've seen in a while. We had quite a few last year. It spent the day in a Cortez Croton.

Out in the front garden a male Florida White was nectaring on the Flame Vine.

This is the first White Peacock I've seen at the NBC this year.

There were a few lantana in bloom, a favorite of the Zebra Heliconian..

As I earlier stated my goal was to find the Liris Skipper. With the cloudy weather there seemed to be more grass skippers out than usual. I scrutinized every dark skipper. The coastal dashes say Clouded Skipper on most of them.

The smaller dark ones with the gray square and lacking the coastal dashes are Fawn-spotted Skippers. They like the shady ditch.

Here's a good looking Julia's Skipper (at least I'm pretty sure.)

I think this may be one too but I'm not so sure. But it's none of the other common species.

So I left without a Liris Skipper. During the evening I watered our butterfly garden at home. I found this Guava Skipper caterpillar out in the open wandering around on a guava leaf. As most of my Guava Skipper larvae succomb to parasitic wasps, I decided to rescue this one. It's in the house now with a clump of guava leaves. We'll see how it does.

Giant Swallowtail 3
Florida White 1
Large Orange Sulphur 3
Lyside Sulphur 30
Little Yellow 3
Gray Hairstreak 5
Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak 10
Dusky-blue Groundstreak 1
Ceraunus Blue 1
Reakirt's Blue 5
Fatal Metalmark 1
American Snout 2
Gulf Fritillary 5
Zebra Heliconian 3
Bordered Patch 2
Crimson Patch 5
Texan Crescent 1
Phaon Crescent 25
White Peacock 1
Ruddy Daggerwing 1
Tropical Leafwing 1
Tawny Emperor 40
Queen 40
Brown Longtail 5
White Checkered-Skipper 12
Tropical Checkered-Skipper 3
Laviana White-Skipper 5
Turk's-cap White-Skipper 2
Common Sootywing 2
Julia's Skipper 2
Fawn-spotted Skipper 2
Clouded Skipper 15
Fiery Skipper 1
Southern Broken-Dash 7
Celia's Roadside-Skipper 6
Eufala Skipper 4

Friday, July 4, 2014

Yturria Brush, 7/4/14

After dropping off Honey for work (double time on July 4!) I decided to drive out west to Yturria Brush tract of the Lower Rio Grande NWR to see what was flying. The first half mile in was pretty depressing as the near 100 degree temps of the past couple of weeks have really dried things out. But as I approached the low brushy area I could see butterflies in the distance. Here things were lush with lots of blooming lantana and other stuff. I saw several species that have been missing or very uncommon this year. Best were two Brown-banded Skippers.

This Coyote Cloudywing was my first for the year.

I've seen very few White-patched Skippers this year.

Here's another Two-barred Flasher. They're showing up all over the place after being absent last year.

This small checkerspot got me excited but it's just a beat up Theona.

All the checkered-skippers today were Desert Checkered-Skipper. I saw at least six.

Here's a Sickle-winged Skipper. There's been few of them in the Valley this year.

There were more Texas Powdered Skippers today.

Giant Swallowtail 8
Southern Dogface 3
Large Orange Sulphur 3
Lyside Sulphur 50
Tailed Orange 5
Dainty Sulphur 1
Gray Hairstreak 3
Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak 1
Western Pygmy-Blue 2
Reakirt's Blue 1
American Snout 1
Gulf Fritillary 5
Theona Checkerspot 1
Vesta Crescent 8
Common Mestra 5
Empress Leilia 15
Queen 2
Two-barred Flasher 1
Coyote Cloudywing 1
Texas Powdered-Skipper 3
Sickle-winged Skipper 2
Brown-banded Skipper 2
White-patched Skipper 1
Desert Checkered-Skipper 6
Laviana White-Skipper 1
Turk's-cap White-Skipper 1
Clouded Skipper 1