Sunday, November 16, 2014

Violet-patched Skipper, Hecebolus Skipper at NBC, 11/16/14

This morning was kind of cool and drippy but Honey and I decided to head over to the National Butterfly Center anyway.  Glad we did as we had a heck of a day.  Best butterfly goes to my first Violet-patched Skipper.  When I saw this tiny skipper with bold wing markings I first thought Nysa Roadside-Skipper.  But when I got my camera on it and saw the red coloration and two toned body I knew I had something good. This is a butterfly I've wanted to see for a long time.

An equally good butterfly was my first Hecebolus Skipper found by my guru Mike Rickard.  Mike and Ginny had found another in the same area recently.  The spot above and anterior to the big arrow on the dorsal surface is the key field mark.

Mike and I spent quite a while searching the blooming chomonque before I pulled out this sharp Marius Hairstreak.

Even without the stellar three butterflies above it was still a pretty good day.  We got the two Chioides longtails, White-striped and Zilpa.

A couple of Purple-washed Skippers were nice.  Everyone was having a difficult time today keeping the names Violet-banded, Violet-patched and Purple-washed straight.

A nice Texas Powdered-Skipper

A swell Silver-banded Hairstreak.

And a bucket of Red-bordered Pixies.

And I almost forgot the Great Purple Hairstreak.

Here's our list of 60 species for today at the NBC.
  • Checkered White 1
  • Southern Dogface 4
  • Cloudless Sulphur 3
  • Large Orange Sulphur 2
  • Little Yellow 6
  • Sleepy Orange 3
  • Dainty Sulphur 3
  • Great Purple Hairstreak 1
  • Marius Hairstreak 1
  • Silver-banded Hairstreak 1
  • Gray Hairstreak 6
  • Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak 12
  • Dusky-blue Groundstreak 10
  • Western Pygmy-Blue 2
  • Ceraunus Blue 10
  • Reakirt's Blue 1
  • Fatal Metalmark 5
  • Red-bordered Pixie 10
  • American Snout 50
  • Gulf Fritillary 10
  • Zebra Heliconian 4
  • Variegated Fritillary 2
  • Bordered Patch 4
  • Elada Crescent 1
  • Vesta Crescent 3
  • Phaon Crescent 8
  • Pearl Crescent 1
  • American Lady 1
  • Painted Lady 3
  • Red Admiral 8
  • Common Buckeye 3
  • White Peacock 6
  • Tropical Leafwing 1
  • Tawny Emperor 50
  • Monarch 5
  • Queen 500
  • Soldier 10
  • White-striped Longtail 1
  • Zilpa Longtail 1
  • Long-tailed Skipper 1
  • Brown Longtail 5
  • Texas Powdered-Skipper 1
  • Sickle-winged Skipper 2
  • White-patched Skipper 2
  • Funereal Duskywing 5
  • White Checkered-Skipper 20
  • Tropical Checkered-Skipper 5
  • Laviana White-Skipper 6
  • Violet-patched Skipper 1
  • Julia's Skipper 5
  • Fawn-spotted Skipper 3
  • Clouded Skipper 40
  • Southern Skipperling 6
  • Fiery Skipper 15
  • Southern Broken-Dash 3
  • Sachem 10
  • Common Mellana 1
  • Eufala Skipper 8
  • Hecebolus Skipper 1
  • Purple-washed Skipper 2

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Before the storm, 11/11/14

Our first strong cold front of the season is barreling in as I write this post.  Which means today was one of those warm breezy prefrontal days when good butterflies from Mexico can blow up our way.  I started the morning at Estero Llano Grande State Park where the Common Bluevent again pleased onlookers.

After things started to warm up, I decided to run over to the Curve-winged Metalmark spot on the Rio Grande off Rio Rico Road.  As many as a hundred Curve-winged Metalmarks have been reported at this location and I was happy to count forty of them prior to the on coming cold front.  They were also putting on quite a show.  Some king of weird interspecific orgy is going on in this first photo.  Hope that Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak knows what it's doing.

Also at this spot were several Red-bordered Pixies and a couple of stunning White-striped Longtails.

From there I ran over to Santa Ana NWR where Robin Zurovec was celebrating her first Evan's Skipper.  It was only my second.  She later found two more which was pretty unusual for a bug this rare.

A Panoquina congener, Purple-washed Skipper, was nearby.  Notice the long hind wing and prominant wing veins characteristic of this genus.

Robin and Troy also found a Violet-banded Skipper and I later found a second.

Troy told me about a huge Guava Skipper he saw on the trails.  I may have found it as this one had to have a wingspan of at least three inches.  What a beauty!

Another beauty was this smart Soldier.

Yesterday Honey and I ran out to Starr County to look for stuff.  Mike Rickard, Ginny Musgrave and John Rosford found a White Scrub-Hairstreak which I missed but I did get to see their nice Red-crescent Scrub-Hairstreak at Falcon State Park.

Other interesting stuff included Coyotoe Cloudywing, Mexican Yellow and Olive-clouded Skipper.


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Common Bluevent, Ruddy Hairstreak, 11/9/14

As I mentioned in my last post, a Common Bluevent Anastrus sempiternus was photgraphed yesterday and misidentified as a Brown-banded Skipper.  But sharp eyed Mark Salvato thought something was wrong and refound the bug and properly identified it.  It was gone by the time I got there yesterday.  But as I was sitting at the computer  this morning, waiting for things to warm up after a cool night, I got the call from Holly that the Common Bluevent had reappeared.  And this time I got there in time to see the bug.  Wow!  It has a blue vent!

Afterwards I ran over to the National Butterfly Center to see what might be flying and I got my second life butterfly of the day, a Ruddy Hairstreak Electrostrymon hugon.  This is one I had been wanting for a long time and luckily I got a male.  The orange upper surface of the wing is visible though some of the tears and this separates it form some other similar species.

Other good stuff included the first Mexican Fritillary I've in months,a Two-barred Flasher and a Malachite..

Here's today's list from the NBC.

  • Pipevine Swallowtail 1
  • Checkered White 1
  • Southern Dogface 5
  • Cloudless Sulphur 3
  • Large Orange Sulphur 1
  • Lyside Sulphur 8
  • Tailed Orange 2
  • Little Yellow lots
  • Silver-banded Hairstreak 1
  • Gray Hairstreak 5
  • Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak 15
  • Ruddy Hairstreak 1
  • Dusky-blue Groundstreak 4
  • Western Pygmy-Blue lots
  • Ceraunus Blue lots
  • Fatal Metalmark 1
  • Red-bordered Pixie 15
  • American Snout lots
  • Gulf Fritillary 12
  • Zebra Heliconian 6
  • Mexican Fritillary 1
  • Bordered Patch 5
  • Phaon Crescent lots
  • Pearl Crescent 5
  • Question Mark 1
  • Painted Lady 1
  • Red Admiral 5
  • Common Buckeye 1
  • White Peacock 10
  • Malachite 1
  • Common Mestra 1
  • Empress Leilia 2
  • Tawny Emperor lots
  • Monarch 1
  • Queen lots
  • Soldier 3
  • Long-tailed Skipper 1
  • Brown Longtail 6
  • Two-barred Flasher 1
  • Sickle-winged Skipper 3
  • White-patched Skipper 1
  • White Checkered-Skipper lots
  • Tropical Checkered-Skipper 2
  • Laviana White-Skipper 10
  • Julia's Skipper 5
  • Fawn-spotted Skipper lots
  • Clouded Skipper lots
  • Southern Skipperling 5
  • Fiery Skipper lots
  • Whirlabout 3
  • Sachem 8