Thursday, October 30, 2014

Green Flasher Astraptes talus at Dauphins, First US record, 10/30/14

After a pretty good day of looking at butterflies, I had just left the National Butterfly Center when I got a call From Jan Dauphin that they had found a strange looking green spread wing skipper in their yard.  She said it looked just like an Emerald Aguna but without the white wing stripe.  Since I was only a few miles away I raced right over only to find the bug had been present just a couple of minutes and had not been seen again. David showed me the photos and I didn't know what to make of it.  We searched a while and I was about to give up and go home when the beautiful large green skipper was relocated on the same blooming crucita where it was fist found.  I got a few photos and it disappeared again.

Wow!  What the heck was that?  Then it came back again and Dave Hansen and Bill and Dottie were there just in time to get some more photos.  This time is was very cooperative and everyone had great photo ops.

We talked about it a bit and all anyone could come up with was an aberrant Emerald Aguna.  After a while I left for home and on the way Bill called and told me they had come of with an ID of Green Flasher Astraptes talus.  At home I checked out Butterflies of America on line and sure enough the photos of Green Flasher looked just like our butterfly.  There was even a photo from Ocampo in southern Tamualipas about 250 Miles to the south.  For David and Jan Dauphin this was just another first US record found in their yard and yard butterfly #157. Pretty impressive!

I had started the morning over at John Rosford's house photographing the beautiful Ruby-spotted Swallowtails he had found the evening before.  What wonderful creatures!  John had seen four the night before and thought they may have hatched from his own yard where he has their host plant, lime prickly-ash.

At the National Butterfly Center interesting stuff included the continuing two Glazed Pellicias, Giant White, Purple-washed Skipper and Potrillo Skipper.  A pretty darn good day!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

East Mexican White-Skipper at Santa Ana NWR, 10/29/14

Yesterday someone found an Emerald Aguna at Santa Ana NWR so I headed out that way late this morning.  Didn't have any luck finding it but still saw some good bugs.  I walked the tour road to check the area past Bobcat Trail where I had seen East-Mexican White-Skipper last year.  It took a bit of searching but I eventually found one a bit farther down the road.

Earlier in the morning I found this Violet-banded Skipper in the blooming crucita near the trail head.  This is the first time I've ever seen one with its wings open.

Even though it doesn't look like one, all the marks point toward Pearl Crescent.

And then there were several Long-tailed Skippers.  This first one looks pretty normal.

But this one I'm not so sure about.  It looks a lot like esmeraldus but when I really find one that's not proteus I think I'll know it.

Saw a couple of Mimosa Yellows today.

Mike Rickard found this Great Southern White, the first I've seen in Hidalgo County in quite a while.  I have a difficult time saying "Great Southern White" with using my Foghorn Leghorn voice.  Love those blue knobs.

I don't feel like doing a list so here's an American Snout for consolation.  A real teat!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Evan's Skipper at NBC, 10/28/14

It was a great day to look for butterflies at the National Butterfly Center south of Mission.  Best in show goes to this sharp Evan's Skipper.  It looks like a whole different bug in flight.

Most popular butterfly goes to this stunning Two-barred Flasher that spent the day by the bathroom. Hmmm....I've done that before.

Judging by wear on the wings, the two Glazed Pellicias seem to be the same ones that have been present the past two weeks.

Olive-clouded Skipper is not reported very often.  I saw one last week in Roma.

It's been quite a while since I've seen a White-patched Skipper.

For some reason we are getting Hackberry Emperors at the NBC this fall.  Usually you have to leave the Valley to see them.

  • Pipevine Swallowtail 3
  • Clouded Sulphur 2
  • Large Orange Sulphur 3
  • Lyside Sulphur 5
  • Tailed Orange 2
  • Little Yellow 15
  • Sleepy Orange 1
  • Dainty Sulphur 1
  • Gray Hairstreak 10
  • Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak 8
  • Western Pygmy-Blue 25
  • Cassius Blue 1
  • Ceraunus Blue 10
  • Fatal Metalmark 5
  • Rounded Metalmark 1
  • Red-bordered Pixie 1
  • American Snout 10
  • Gulf Fritillary 8
  • Zebra Heliconian 2
  • Variegated Fritillary 3
  • Vesta Crescent 5
  • Phaon Crescent 30
  • Pearl Crescent 10
  • American Lady 1
  • Painted Lady 5
  • Red Admiral 1
  • White Peacock 10
  • Tropical Leafwing 1
  • Hackberry Emperor 1
  • Empress Leilia 2
  • Tawny Emperor 70
  • Monarch 5
  • Queen 800
  • Soldier 3
  • Guava Skipper 6
  • Brown Longtail 6
  • Two-barred Flasher 1
  • Glazed Pellicia 2
  • Texas Powdered-Skipper 1
  • Sickle-winged Skipper 3
  • White-patched Skipper 1
  • Funereal Duskywing 1
  • White Checkered-Skipper 20
  • Tropical Checkered-Skipper 5
  • Laviana White-Skipper 6
  • Julia's Skipper 3
  • Fawn-spotted Skipper 8
  • Southern Skipperling 6
  • Fiery Skipper 50
  • Whirlabout 5
  • Southern Broken-Dash 5
  • Sachem 8
  • Common Mellana 2
  • Celia's Roadside-Skipper 3
  • Eufala Skipper 15
  • Olive-clouded Skipper 1
  • Evans' Skipper 1

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Six Metalmarks and no Fatal, 10/25/14

This morning I was getting ready to run over to Resaca de la Palma State Park in Cameron County to meet Jim Burns from Phoenix to look for darners to photograph.  Just as I was getting ready to get in the car I stepped out in the alley and looked up.  There above me in a hackberry was the first Red-bordered Metalmark I've seen in our yard yard, species #89.

I made the trip over to Resaca and could see it was going to be a good butterfly day.  A bit later Jim arrived and we walked the Ebony Trail looking for hard to find dragonflies.  Some good stuff has been seen on this trail but not much lately.  We failed to find any darners but I got Jim on his first Boisduval's Yellow.  I can tell he's going to drink the Kool-Aid and seriously add butterflies to his photography subjects some day.

At the end of the boardwalk I though the habitat looked good for Rainpool Spreadwing, a damsel fly Jim wanted to photograph.  And sure enough I found some spreadwings, but they weren't Rainpools.  They were the very rare Blue-striped Spreadwing, a very pretty damselfly species I've never seen before and a first record for Cameron County.

At this point I figured I was riding a lucky streak and Jim was happy so we headed back to the butterfly garden to see what had come out after the morning had warmed some.  One of the first butterflies we saw upon entering the garden was the long-staying Two-barred Flasher who's getting a bit worn.

I soon found a Rounded Metalmark which isn't that great but was metalmark #2 for the day.

And shortly thereafter Dick Wilson arrived and quickly found us some knockout Blue Metalmarks.  This was enough to get Jim taking photos and forget about dragonflies for a while.  Metalmark #3.

And then Dick shout's out "Erichson's White-Skipper".  I didn't get a great photo but it was my first for Cameron County.

Meanwhile a Guava Skipper was putting on quite a show.

Somewhere during the morning, visiting butterfly watchers Ken Wilson and Ray Brunn, had joined the fun.  It didn't take long before I found a Walker's Metalmark (metalmark # 4) and everyone enjoyed taking photos.  Dick soon found  us a perfect one.

Then Sherry Wilson found us a very nice Curve-winged Metalmark, only the third I've ever seen and metalmark # 5 for the day.

I did a little more searching and dug up my sixth metalmark of the day, a not too rare Red-bordered Metalmark.  It's a shame I couldn't find a Fatal Metalmark for # 7.  But I'm not complaining!

At this point Jim had left to search for dragonflies at Santa Ana and Ken and Ray were talking about Xami Hairstreaks.  So we drove over to the Smiley Face on FM 4 where Bill Supulski and the gang (Dottie, John and Audrey) had found Xamis yesterday.  It didn't take long to find two of them.

The other area specialties, Pale-rayed Skipper and Saltbush Sootywing, failed to show up.  Here's the Resaca de La Palma list.

  • Pipevine Swallowtail 1
  • Giant Swallowtail 1
  • Cloudless Sulphur 20
  • Lyside Sulphur 10
  • Little Yellow 3
  • Silver-banded Hairstreak 3
  • Western Pygmy-Blue 25
  • Ceraunus Blue 5
  • Rounded Metalmark 1
  • Red-bordered Metalmark 1
  • Blue Metalmark 6
  • Curve-winged Metalmark 1
  • Walker's Metalmark 2
  • American Snout 5
  • Gulf Fritillary 4
  • Zebra Heliconian 3
  • Bordered Patch 3
  • Elada Crescent 8
  • Phaon Crescent 6
  • Pearl Crescent 1
  • Painted Lady 1
  • Red Admiral 1
  • Common Buckeye 1
  • White Peacock 5
  • Mexican Bluewing 5
  • Queen 30
  • Guava Skipper 2
  • White-striped Longtail 1
  • Long-tailed Skipper 2
  • Dorantes Longtail 1
  • Brown Longtail 4
  • Two-barred Flasher 1
  • Mimosa Skipper 3
  • Sickle-winged Skipper 20
  • White Checkered-Skipper 3
  • Tropical Checkered-Skipper 6
  • Erichson's White-Skipper 1
  • Fawn-spotted Skipper 1
  • Clouded Skipper 15
  • Fiery Skipper 10
  • Southern Broken-Dash 12
  • Sachem 1
  • Celia's Roadside-Skipper 2
  • Eufala Skipper 5
  • Ocola Skipper 1