It’s been another interesting week around here as migrating birds begin to move through the area, baby birds are hatching and more butterflies are flying. A nice surprise kicked off the week during the Audubon Thursday Birder outing to the Alameda and Bachechi Open Space, where a pair of Killdeer are raising their 3 little ones.
If you zoom in on the picture above, you’ll see there are way more than two legs under that adult. A few minutes later, the secret is revealed as two little ones pop out from underneath.
At the end of that day’s walk, a few of us crossed the Alameda Bridge to look for the Monk Parakeet nesting in the giant yucca near the Satellite Coffee that I posted a picture of last week. It turns out that several birds have also taken up residence in that yucca, including starlings, sparrows, and a Eurasian Collared Dove.
Indeed, all these introduced species seem to have organized themselves against the native species. Here’s everybody but the House Sparrow hanging around together.
Friday, Rebecca and I headed out to several spots along the foothills in search of a few butterflies, and got a few new ones for the year including a Simius Roadside-Skipper, Funereal Duskywing, and a Sleepy Duskywing.
At Copper Open Space, we saw a pair of Scott’s Orioles for the first time this year and heard another in Embudo Canyon.
Saturday eventually proved to be a great day for butterflies, as we drove south to Bear Trap Campground deep in the San Mateo Mountains near Mount Withington. Initially, we weren’t too encouraged and hadn’t seen any butterflies on the long drive in or when we first stopped to look around. But as the day warmed up, we’d see quite a few species including several that were new for us. One of the first we’d spot was a number of Hoary Commas that we’d been seeing around Albuquerque since early March.
They just glow when sunning themselves with their wings spread, but can just disappear in the leaf litter when they fold those wings up.
Their common name comes from the silvery “comma” you can see showing on the hind wing. A “lifer” for both of us that day was the Morrison’s Skipper with its very distinctive arrow-shaped marking, of which we saw several individuals of both sexes.
Quite a few other species also put in an appearance, including this Thicket Hairstreak
and a Variegated Frittilary.
On Monday, I met Rebecca and her butterfly friend from New Jersey, Teresa, to try and find her some new butterflies for her life list in Embudito Canyon. As we were poking around looking for those, Cactus Wrens, both Scaled and Gambel’s Quail, Black-throated Sparrows, and Curve-billed Thrashers were calling throughout the canyon. This Gambel’s Quail posed nicely for a portrait.
We had a pretty good day with Teresa, getting her our target species for the day of a Sandia Hairstreak, the Short-tailed Skipper that was new for her, watching four Two-tailed Swallowtails playing in the water, and spotting Southwestern Orangetips, Rocky Mountain Duskywing, several Mormon Metalmarks, and a number of other species, including this Acmon Blue
and several Spring Whites.
Wandering around the Copper Open Space this morning, I noticed the Scott’s Oriole is still there and got this nice picture of a Marine Blue on the Apache Plume.
Looks like the bling is back!