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.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Our new yard at Progreso Lakes, 11/24/16

For years I've been looking at houses on the resaca at Progreso Lakes south of Weslaco and we finally decided to buy one.  I really wanted to be in the area for the outstanding birding but it looks like butterflies are going to be good also.  The previous owners were enamored by grass so there is little in the way of blooming plants, a situation I hope to rectify in the future.  But there is a nice purple duranta and some bottle brush and these were doing a good job at attracting butterflies.  A real surprise were several Double-dotted Skipper.

An even bigger surprise was to see two of them copulating.

A little more expected were several Red-bordered Pixies.

Otherwise it was just common stuff.  I like this Dorantes Longtail in action.

A pale ray is showing on this grass skipper but otherwise it looks like a worn Julia's Skipper.

Clouded Skipper is highly variable depending on the season.  I like the frosted cold weather form.

Here's a pretty Southern Dogface.

Here's a list from the last couple of days.  Our yard list is up to 29.

  • Pipevine Swallowtail 1
  • Southern Dogface 1
  • Cloudless Sulphur 6
  • Large Orange Sulphur 6
  • Lyside Sulphur 2
  • Little Yellow 1
Cassius Blue  1
  • Red-bordered Pixie 3
  • American Snout 2
  • Gulf Fritillary 1
  • Red Admiral  1
  • Common Mestra 1
  • Tawny Emperor 2
  • Carolina Satyr 1
  • Monarch  1
  • Queen 1
  • White-striped Longtail 1
  • Dorantes Longtail  1
  • Brown Longtail 1
  • Laviana White-Skipper 1
  • Julia's Skipper 1
  • Fawn-spotted Skipper 1
  • Clouded Skipper 1
  • Double-dotted Skipper  3
  • Fiery Skipper 4
  • Whirlabout 1
  • Common Mellana 1
  • Eufala Skipper 2
  • Ocola Skipper 1