Friday, April 24, 2015

Chestnut Crescent at National Butterfly Center, 4/24/15

With a warm, humid, windy day I decided to take a day off from spring bird migration and check out the butterflies at the National Butterfly Center south of Mission.  There were plenty of Texan Crescents out and I almost passed this bug off as another till I noticed the gray underside of the forewing.  Chestnut Cresent!  I had seen Phyciodes argentea only once before so this was a treat.

Here's the common Texan Crescent for comparison, Phyciodes texana.

With the southerly winds, Pierids were on the move, including my first Florida Whites for the year.  

Is this another?  Nope.  the blue antenna knobs say it's a Great Southern White.

Here's my list of 44 species for the day.

  • Black Swallowtail 1
  • Giant Swallowtail 1
  • Florida White 4
  • Checkered White 15
  • Great Southern White 5
  • Cloudless Sulphur 3
  • Large Orange Sulphur 6
  • Lyside Sulphur 6
  • Little Yellow 4
  • Sleepy Orange 1
  • Dainty Sulphur 3
  • Gray Hairstreak 3
  • Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak 4
  • Western Pygmy-Blue 1
  • Reakirt's Blue 3
  • Fatal Metalmark 1
  • American Snout 2
  • Gulf Fritillary 2
  • Zebra Heliconian 1
  • Texan Crescent 10
  • Chestnut Crescent 1
  • Vesta Crescent 1
  • Phaon Crescent 80
  • Pearl Crescent 8
  • American Lady 1
  • Red Admiral 6
  • Tawny Emperor 25
  • Monarch 3
  • Queen 6
  • Guava Skipper 1
  • Brown Longtail 1
  • Funereal Duskywing 1
  • White Checkered-Skipper 15
  • Tropical Checkered-Skipper 8
  • Laviana White-Skipper 6
  • Common Sootywing 5
  • Julia's Skipper 1
  • Fawn-spotted Skipper 1
  • Clouded Skipper 4
  • Southern Skipperling 4
  • Fiery Skipper 3
  • Common Mellana 1
  • Celia's Roadside-Skipper 3
  • Eufala Skipper 6

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Lower Pine Canyon, Big Bend NP, 4/7/15

Spent the day in Big Bend National Park walking the trail to the pour off in lower Pine Canyon.  Butterflies picked up as the day warmed and I ended up seeing some really good stuff.  Walking up the trail I passed through some bear grass and found my primary target for the day, Sandia Hairstreak.  A couple were chasing each other for several minutes till one landed on  a blade of bear grass.

A nice surprise at the end of the trail at the pour off was my first Chisos Skipperling.  It was sitting on a wet rock in the splash zone from the water pouring over the cliff from over a hundred feet above.  The slippery rocks and occasion pelting of water from above made getting a good photo of this rare butterfly difficult.  It looks like it's ovipositing on the rock.  What's up with that?

Additional butterflies in the dappled sunlight under the maples and oaks were Two-tailed Swallowtails, California Sister, Common Streaky-Skipper and Golden Banded-Skipper.

Walking back down the canyon, I saw several brown duskywings.  As I've never walked this canyon in the spring this was my first Sleepy Duskywing Erynnis brizo.

I'm not so sure about this one but with the white spots on the forewing and the two spots on the under side of the hind wing I think it's a Rocky Mountain Duskywing Erynnis telemachus.

Saw this Rawson's Metalmark as I approached my car.

As I was driving about a half mile away from the trailhead I saw this little hairstreak flying around a big yucca.  I got some photos and the best I could make of it was Red-lined Scrub-Hairstreak.  But after posting the photos on Facebook both Martin Reid and Chris Durden (who co-authored the paper describing the species) say its the Big Bend Scrub-Hairstreak Strymon solitario.  This local species uses the ground bromeliad Hectia texensis as a host plant and it was previously know as Bromiliad Scrub-Hairstreak which is a different species Strymon serapio.  I hope I have this right.

Quite a day!

  • Two-tailed Swallowtail 5
  • Checkered White 20
  • Southern Dogface 5
  • Mexican Yellow 12
  • Dainty Sulphur 3
  • Great Purple Hairstreak 1
  • Sandia Hairstreak 2
  • Gray Hairstreak 1
  • Reakirt's Blue 1
  • Rawson's Metalmark 1
  • Variegated Fritillary 5
  • Bordered Patch 3
  • Texan Crescent 3
  • Vesta Crescent 5
  • Red Admiral 1
  • California Sister 1
  • Golden Banded-Skipper 6
  • Sleepy Duskywing 2
  • Rocky Mountain Duskywing 1
  • Funereal Duskywing 1
  • Desert Checkered-Skipper 10
  • Common Sootywing 10
  • Chisos Skipperling 1
  • Orange Skipperling 15

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Pinto Canyon Road, Presidio County, 4/6/15

With a break between storm systems I decided to make a run out to Big Bend to check out the birds and butterflies.  After a late start and spending the night in Sanderson I decided to detour to Marfa to look for Baird's Sparrow which was found without much effort so I decided to continue on south along RR 2810 and Pinto Canyon Road to see what I might find.  There was a spectacular display of flowers all across west Texas but finding butterflies took some work.  As the day warmed up I started to find some butterflies along Pinto Canyon Road.  Best was this Acacia Skipper, only the second I've ever seen.  This was my only shot. It was attracted to salts leaching out on the damp sand.

Another interesting butterfly at this site was this southwestern Bordered Patch.

A great Purple Hairstreak was also enjoying the salty road.

A butterfly was trapped in my car and I was surprised to see it was a powdered-skipper.  Turns out it was my first ever Arizona Powdered Skipper.

Other butterflies in this area were Pipevine Swallowtail, Sleepy Orange and Desert Checkered-Skipper. Despite a fantastic bloom of wild flowers I saw not additional interesting butterflies as I drove the Camino del Rio to Big Bend.