Sunday, November 22, 2015

Nine Hairstreak day at the National Butterfly Center, 11/21/15

Today I made another prefrontal run over to the National Butterfly Center hoping to get a little warm weather before our first real cold blast of the fall.  One of my first butterflies of the day was this very pretty Common Melwhite found yesterday afternoon.

I've been seeing a lot of hairstreaks lately and over the past week and have seen seven and eight species in a single day.  But I've failed to match the nine species from Christmas Day 2012.   Once again the common species started to pile up in a hurry.  First it was the common regulars, Dusky-blue Groundstreak, Gray Hairstreak and Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak.

Then there was the not so pretty Lantana Scrub-Hairstreak.  It's been a good year for them.

And then the very flashy Silver-banded Hairstreak.

And a cute little Clytie Ministreak in a weird pebbly form.

Number seven on the day was another butterfly found the day before, a Red-crescent Scrub-Hairstreak.  
They have been common up on Brushline Road but this was my first at the NBC in a couple of years.

I wasn't finding anything else so I headed down to the old gardens when several people were looking at a Great purple Hairstreak in the jasmine tree, #8 for the day.

I wandered off a ways and heard the cry off in the distance that something good had been found.  I ran over to find a group looking at a White Scrub-Hairstreak.  I saw my first just a couple of weeks ago.

I did a lot of searching for number ten but it wasn't to be.  I did get to see this Giant White over at Bentsen.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Yellow-tipped Flasher at NBC, 11/11/15

Other than a sharp Silver Emperor, it was pretty slow for a while today at the National Butterfly Center.  But this was one of those warm windy prefrontal days and I had hopes that something good would happen.  It did.  A sharp Yellow-tipped Flasher was found up on the Hackberry Trail.  It was only the second I had ever seen.

The small group who was present when the flasher was found called others and the group grew and started finding other butterflies.  Chris Tenney working on his butterfly big year ticked another off with the flasher and shortly thereafter found a Red Rim.  We all went off the trail and into the dry ditch and up into the brush for poor views.  After risking our lives to get a glimpse, it then showed at on of the feeding stations.

Nearby a Malachite charmed the growing crowd.

Later Holly Salvato found a White Scrub-Hairstreak.  This was one I have been waiting a long time for.  Not particularly rare, it was still my first.  It was one of eight hairstreaks seen on the day.

Before all the action got going, I spent quite a bit of time trying to catch the blue on a Silver Emperor.  I got a few decent shots.

This Purple-washed Skipper had some iridescence of its own.

With all the good stuff around, a Julia Heliconian got little attention.

We tried to turn this Coyote Cloudywing into a Jalapus but failed.

Only 53 species, but there were some good ones!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Sal del Rey, 11/7/15

This week I've led two birding trips up to Sal del Rey off of Brushline Road north of TX 186.  We walked in to the salt lake along a road used by water trucks that transport brine pumped from the lake to be used in the gas well fracking.  Along the way we had some pretty good butterflies.  This was my first East Mexican White-Skipper for this year.

We actually saw all four of the south Texas white-skippers.  Here's Erichson's.

And here's Turk's-cap White-Skipper and the more common Laviana White-Skipper.

A few weeks earlier I had walked this road and had seen lots of globemallow which had been absent during our prolonged drought.  Globemallow is the host plant for Red-crescent Scrub-Hairstreak and they were out today.

I would like to have spent more time with the butterflies but this was a birding trip.  I'll have to get back up here in a few days.