Sunday, December 18, 2016

National Butterfly Center, 12/17/16

With the weatherman predicting hot weather with strong southerly winds followed by a strong cold front I had a feeling it would be a good day at the National Butterfly Center.  The temperature hit 90 and the butterflies were as hot as the weather.  Best was this Blomfild's Beauty found by Mike Rickard.




Also present were my first Pavon Emperors for the year with a nice male showing some color.  A little later a female was found.



More Mexican Silverspots were present including an amorous male with an almost unconscious female.  I think her batteries were getting weak.




Malachites are hard to beat.... big and colorful!




Here's some more showy nymphalids: Tropical Leafwing, Mexican Fritillary, Julia Heliconian and Mexican Bluewing.





This buckeye looks a great deal like the Mangrove Buckeye in Glassberg's guide.



Some other uncommon butterflies were Curve-winged Metalmark and Marius Hairstreak.





Cassius Blue and a photobomb bee.


So as I write this the temperature has dropped from yesterday's 90 to about 45 and going down.  No more butterflies for a few days.  But temperatures are predicted in the 70's late next week so who knows what we may find.

  • Pipevine Swallowtail 1
  • Checkered White 8
  • Great Southern White 1
  • Orange Sulphur 1
  • Southern Dogface 3
  • Cloudless Sulphur 10
  • Large Orange Sulphur 6
  • Lyside Sulphur 20
  • Mexican Yellow 1
  • Tailed Orange 3
  • Little Yellow 25
  • Mimosa Yellow 2
  • Sleepy Orange 1
  • Dainty Sulphur 1
  • Marius Hairstreak 1
  • Gray Hairstreak 4
  • Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak 12
  • Lantana Scrub-Hairstreak 1
  • Western Pygmy-Blue 1
  • Cassius Blue 3
  • Ceraunus Blue 30
  • Reakirt's Blue 3
  • Fatal Metalmark 5
  • Red-bordered Pixie 5
  • Curve-winged Metalmark 2
  • American Snout 400
  • Gulf Fritillary 10
  • Mexican Silverspot 3
  • Julia Heliconian 4
  • Zebra Heliconian 8
  • Mexican Fritillary 3
  • Bordered Patch 5
  • Crimson Patch 2
  • Texan Crescent 3
  • Pale-banded Crescent 6
  • Vesta Crescent 1
  • Phaon Crescent 50
  • Red Admiral 12
  • Common Buckeye 5
  • White Peacock 20
  • Malachite 2
  • Mexican Bluewing 6
  • Common Mestra 15
  • Blomfild's Beauty 1
  • Tropical Leafwing 10
  • Empress Leilia 1
  • Tawny Emperor 10
  • Pavon Emperor 2
  • Monarch 6
  • Queen 300
  • Soldier 20
  • White-striped Longtail 1
  • Brown Longtail 10
  • White Checkered-Skipper 10
  • Tropical Checkered-Skipper 1
  • Laviana White-Skipper 15
  • Fawn-spotted Skipper 2
  • Clouded Skipper 20
  • Southern Skipperling 3
  • Fiery Skipper 25
  • Whirlabout 1
  • Southern Broken-Dash 1
  • Sachem 1
  • Common Mellana 4
  • Eufala Skipper 15
  • Purple-washed Skipper 1

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

National Butterfly Center 12/13/16

With the recent move to our new house, I've had little time to get out and enjoy what is proving to be an outstanding fall butterfly season.  But with the weather forecaster predicting a sunny day with temperatures in the 80's I thought this would be a good day to get out.  Well the weatherman was wrong, as he has been often lately, and it was mostly cloudy and in the 70's.   Still the sun poked out a few times and it still turned out to be a great day.  Leading the way among the 71 species today were three Mexican Silverspots.




This striking Band-celled Sister really gave up some nice shots.


The four Mexican Yellows all had a rusty cast to the underside of the hindwing.  I guess this is a cold season characteristic.


After being hard to find during the past few winters, brushfoots were out in good numbers including Zebra and Julia Heliconians.



And Crimson Patch.


Curve-winged Metalmarks have been easier to find this fall than in the past.


This Cyna Blue was a surprise.  We usually see them in spring.  Not much of a shot.


Here's the obligatory Mexican Bluewing.


And a sharp Dusky-blue Groundstreak to finish things off.



  • Pipevine Swallowtail 3
  • Checkered White 6
  • Great Southern White 1
  • Orange Sulphur 1
  • Southern Dogface 3
  • Cloudless Sulphur 3
  • Large Orange Sulphur 4
  • Lyside Sulphur 6
  • Mexican Yellow 4
  • Tailed Orange 1
  • Little Yellow 15
  • Mimosa Yellow 3
  • Dainty Sulphur 2
  • Great Purple Hairstreak 1
  • Gray Hairstreak 4
  • Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak 4
  • Dusky-blue Groundstreak 10
  • Western Pygmy-Blue 2
  • Cassius Blue 1
  • Cyna Blue 1
  • Ceraunus Blue 8
  • Reakirt's Blue 4
  • Fatal Metalmark 1
  • Red-bordered Metalmark 1
  • Red-bordered Pixie 10
  • Curve-winged Metalmark 1
  • American Snout 100
  • Gulf Fritillary 8
  • Mexican Silverspot 3
  • Julia Heliconian 5
  • Zebra Heliconian 8
  • Mexican Fritillary 2
  • Bordered Patch 4
  • Crimson Patch 8
  • Texan Crescent 8
  • Pale-banded Crescent 6
  • Vesta Crescent 3
  • Phaon Crescent 40
  • Pearl Crescent 2
  • Question Mark 1
  • Red Admiral 10
  • Common Buckeye 4
  • White Peacock 15
  • Band-celled Sister 1
  • Mexican Bluewing 5
  • Common Mestra 20
  • Tropical Leafwing 2
  • Empress Leilia 1
  • Tawny Emperor 3
  • Carolina Satyr 2
  • Monarch 10
  • Queen 300
  • Soldier 30
  • Dorantes Longtail 1
  • Brown Longtail 10
  • Glazed Pellicia 1
  • White-patched Skipper 1
  • White Checkered-Skipper 10
  • Tropical Checkered-Skipper 3
  • Laviana White-Skipper 6
  • Turk's-cap White-Skipper 1
  • Fawn-spotted Skipper 1
  • Clouded Skipper 25
  • Southern Skipperling 3
  • Fiery Skipper 8
  • Whirlabout 1
  • Southern Broken-Dash 2
  • Sachem 1
  • Common Mellana 3
  • Eufala Skipper 5
  • Ocola Skipper 2

Monday, November 28, 2016

Alana White-Skipper at National Butterfly Center, 11/28/16

My plan today was to run a few errands (like turn on the water for our new house) and then hit the National Butterfly Center.  Good stuff seen there in the past few days included Chestnut Crescent and Xami Hairstreak.  But when I arrived I had just missed seeing Mike Rickard's first US record of Alana White-Skipper Heliopetes alana.  Other butterfliers present had also missed it but, after a while, it reappeared only to give up the most frustrating photo ops.  Then there were a couple of fifty yard sprints in attempt to follow this lively little butterfly on its rounds.  As the afternoon progressed the skipper seemed to slow down and nectar more giving us much better shots.  Wow, two first US records in three days.  Looks like it's going to be a good fall butterfly season




Another good butterfly present for the past few days was this beat up Spot-celled Sister.  I only managed a couple of shots.  This is only the second I've ever seen.


A sharp Curve-winged Metalmark posed well for us.



The Chestnut Crescent was sighted again but I missed it.  Here's a Pale-banded Crescent.


Marius Hairstreaks have been more common than usual lately.


Not a lot of Purple on this Purple-washed Skipper but more than most I've been seeing this fall.


Looks like I forgot the grass skippers on my list submitted to NABA.

  • Great Southern White 1
  • Southern Dogface 5
  • Cloudless Sulphur 5
  • Large Orange Sulphur 20
  • Lyside Sulphur 50
  • Mexican Yellow 1
  • Tailed Orange 3
  • Little Yellow 15
  • Mimosa Yellow 1
  • Sleepy Orange 3
  • Marius Hairstreak 1
  • Gray Hairstreak 1
  • Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak 3
  • Western Pygmy-Blue 8
  • Cassius Blue 1
  • Ceraunus Blue 6
  • American Snout 200
  • Gulf Fritillary 5
  • Julia Heliconian 2
  • Zebra Heliconian 2
  • Mexican Fritillary 5
  • Bordered Patch 3
  • Crimson Patch 8
  • Elada Crescent 1
  • Texan Crescent 1
  • Pale-banded Crescent 5
  • Vesta Crescent 4
  • Phaon Crescent 50
  • Pearl Crescent 1
  • Red Admiral 4
  • Common Buckeye 8
  • White Peacock 15
  • Common Mestra 10
  • Tawny Emperor 10
  • Monarch 1
  • Queen 200
  • Soldier 40
  • Brown Longtail 2
  • Glazed Pellicia 1
  • Sickle-winged Skipper 1
  • White Checkered-Skipper 1
  • Tropical Checkered-Skipper10
  • Laviana White-Skipper 6
  • Turk's-cap White-Skipper 5

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Perching Saliana at Estero Llano Grande, 11/26/16

Yesterday after I got home from a day of cleaning our new house, I found I had missed an alert that the first US record of Perching Saliana Saliana esperi had been found by Susan Keefer at Estero Llano Grande State Park in Weslaco during the Friday butterfly walk.  It was only seen for a few minutes but was photographed well.  Anyway, I saw no reason that it should leave and thought with lots of searchers this morning there was a good chance the bug would be refound.  I was right.  Here's some shots of the Perching Saliana from this morning.





As the morning warmed the butterfly became more active and sought out Jan Dauphin's hat as a perch, giving us a good open winged shot.  The dorsal pattern is an important feature when sorting through the other similar members of the genus Saliana.  This is the first occurrence of any member of this genus north of the Mexican border. 





I thought the name "Perching Saliana" sounded familiar and, sure enough, I had photographed one at Gamboa, Panama a few years ago.