Thursday, December 24, 2015

National Butterfly Center, 12/24/15

Over the past four warm breezy days, fifteen species of hairstreaks have been photographed at the National Butterfly Center.  One new one today was the rare Pearly-gray Hairstreak.  There was two present on Christmas of 2012.

Also new for this week was Lacey's Scrub-Hairstreak.  Several have been seen during the fall after being absent for a couple of years.

While yesterday, this cute White Scrub-Hairstreak was added to the list.

My first Guatemalan Cracker for the year was a nice one.  Mike found it yesterday.

Silver Emperor is no longer a surprise.  Lots have been seen this year.

Purple-washed Skippers have been absent for a few weeks.

And two nice spreadwing Skippers, Brown-banded and White-patched.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Wild Day Part II, Hairstreak-o-mania! 12/22/15

After Mark's call, I walked back to the car and proceeded to race the 19 miles to the National Butterfly Center hoping to see the Vicroy's Ministreak.  When I reached Hidalgo, I got another call.  Telea Hairstreak!!!  I had just missed one last week in the crotons at the NBC and had missed the one last year at Barry Nall's place that everyone else had seen and had missed the one at the Tanglewood coma a few weeks ago.  I was due!

When I arrived I was happy to find my butterfly friends guarding crotons and keeping an eye on the hairstreaks so picking up my life butterflies was a piece of cake.  First came the Telea Hairstreak.  What a tiny beautiful emerald!

And then it was the Vicroy's Ministreak.  This was previously thought of as a green eyed Gray Minstreak but was recently described as a new species.  Another tiny gem!

A Ruddy type hairstreak had also been found.  This one did not flash orange so we can't be sure if it's a female Ruddy (most likely) or a Muted (very rare).

And then another Strophius Hairstreak.  We had one just last month.

So that makes four pretty rare hairstreaks.  And then there were the more common ones, like this fabulous Great Purple Hairstreak.

And another green one, Silver-banded Hairstreak.

And the not-so-striking Lantana Scrub-Hairstreak.

And a sharp winter form Clytie Ministreak.

The very common Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak in its winter form.

And two for the price of one, Gray Hairstreak and Dusky-blue Groundstreak.

Yesterday's Gray Ministreak could not be found but we still finished with an amazing eleven species of hairstreaks.  That will be a tough record to break.  But it will be fun trying.

Wild Day Part I, Santa Ana NWR, 12/22/15

I haven't posted in awhile.  There's been lots of hairstreaks around but not a lot else and I've missed the rare ones.  Nymphallids are almost nonexistant and not very many pierids either.  After spending yesterday afternoon scouring the chomonque at Bentsen and the crotons at the National Butterfly Center for hairstreaks, I decided I needed to get out and walk and stretch my legs this warm windy morning.   So I headed over to Santa Ana NWR.  I was hoping to see the jacana but it wasn't cooperating so I continued on the Willow Lakes trail.  Then this gorgeous Red Rim stopped me in my tracks.  I wish I could get the red to be as vibrant as it was in real life.

Well, that was nice.  Maybe some of its cousins like Blue-eyed Sailor are around also.  So I backtracked to the tour road and decided to walk it knowing that Blue-eyed Sailors are sometimes attracted to the animal scat on the pavement.  I walked down past Bobcat Trail to the leaky pipe and saw nothing but a couple of armadillos so I decided to give up and head back.

When I got back to the old manager's residence area I decided to walk the old sidewalk which was grown over with crucita and grass.  Immediately I small dark butterfly with a bold white white band flutters by and lands in front of me.  I recognized it as something good and fired some shots with the camera.  After looking at the photos I was pleased to have found my first Blue-eyed Sailor.  Mission accomplished!

A few minutes later I get a call from Mark and Holley that they had refound the Vicroy's Ministreak in the chomonque at Bentsen.  Dang!  I wanted to see it but was worn out from my hike so I decided not to make the run over.  Then I saw this Tailed Orange nearby.

And a Common Mestra.

And a sharp looking Soldier.

Then I get another call from Mark.  They have a second Vicroy's Ministreak in the crotons at the National Butterfly Center.  Damn.  Well, this time I decided I'd better go for it.