Out and About

Several good trips this week to different habitats in the Sandias, a loop trip through the Jemez and Bandelier, and another to the East Mountains and Galisteo.  Domingo Baca Canyon was excellent for butterflies on Tuesday, and even better on a return trip Saturday where we saw more than 20 species.  One non-butterfly that caught my eye there was the rather striking Eight-spotted Forester Moth, whose latin name is pretty entertaining, too.

Eight-spotted Forester Moth

Eight-spotted Forester Moth (Alypia octomaculata)

Keeping with the black and white theme, a Wiedemeyer’s Admiral was also hanging out by the creek in Domingo Baca, but didn’t stay around very long for photographs.

Wiedemeyer's Admiral

Wiedemeyer’s Admiral (Limenitis weidemeyerii)

We’d seen them earlier this year, but both a Marine Blue and Fulvia Checkerspot posed pretty well for pictures this week.

Marine Blue

Marine Blue (Leptotes marina)

Fulvia Checkerspot

Fulvia Checkerspot (Chlosyne fulvia)

This was also the week for the short-blooming Strawberry Cactus in the foothills,

Strawberry Cactus

Strawberry Cactus

and higher up in the wetter areas of the mountains, the Wild Iris.

Wild Iris

Wild Iris

Wednesday it was off to the Jemez and Bandelier in search of the Hoary Elfin and other butterflies.  In the same place we’d seen it about this time last year, we again were able to track it down.

Hoary Elfin

Hoary Elfin (Callophrys polios)

The real highlight of the day, however, was at Burnt Mesa in Bandelier where a pair of mating Variegated Fritillaries were spotted.

Variegated Fritillary

Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia)

Bandelier National Monument is still open for business after last year’s fire and flood, and although the main visitor center and creekside path are closed at the moment, the nearby area looks pretty much the same as before with huge cottonwoods, plenty of wildflowers, and birds and butterflies.  This Abert’s Squirrel with those cute tufted ears are still running around the woods and checking out the parking lot.

Abert's Squirrel

Abert’s Squirrel

The Thursday Birder caravan headed out the next day to the east side of the mountains and up to Galisteo, which proved unusually quiet for wildlife – surprisingly few birds or butterflies about that morning.  In contrast, the town’s mailboxes did seem rather lively.

Galisteo Mailboxes

Galisteo Mailboxes

Along the way, we stopped at a farm where we’d seen a Barn Owl last year and would see a pair of them this time, including this one who kept flying from tree to tree harassed by smaller birds.

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

Friday in the Sandia’s would turn up a Mylitta Crescent and a Silvery Blue, both new for the season,

Silvery Blue

Silvery Blue (Glaucopsyche lygdamus)

and the next day, a Reakirt’s Blue, also new for the season, nectaring on the first milkweed we’ve seen blooming this year.

Reakirt's Blue

Reakirt’s Blue (Echinargus isola)

This cryptic Painted Lady was also seen in the Sandias on Friday – normally quite colorful from the top and present in unusually large numbers everywhere this year, when it closed its wings, this individual blended in perfectly with the gray gravel.

Painted Lady

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

At Capulin Springs, which is again open after being closed for renovation the last few years, a variety of birds came into the hollowed-out log that captures water from a spring, including this Western Tanager.

Western Tanager

Western Tanager

We’d also spot a ground nest of a Dark-eyed Junco there with several little ones, but hidden away in the grasses it didn’t allow for very good pictures.  The next day, on a return trip to Domingo Baca, where a real puddle party was going on with the butterflies, we’d also spot a nesting Black-chinned Hummingbird.

Black-chinned Hummingbird

Black-chinned Hummingbird

With migration seeming somewhat delayed this year, it’s been surprising to me how quickly birds, and in particular hummingbirds, are to get their nests built and begin incubating eggs so soon after their arrival.

It’s also good to see that dragonflies and damselflies are starting to take to the air, including this Wandering Glider seen in the foothills the other day.

Wandering Glider

Wandering Glider


About joeschelling

Birding, butterflies, nature photography, and travel blog from right here in Albuquerque New Mexico.
This entry was posted in Birding, Butterfly, Dragonflies, Flowers, Photographs. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Out and About

  1. Pip says:

    Hi! I’ve been checking all your butterfly pics, and haven’t come across one of a butterfly that is around my house in high numbers: it’s a pale green (I used to think they were white until I saw one up close) with 3 dark dots on it’s upper wings, and I think a couple on the bottom of the lower wings. If that makes sense, do you know what they are called? I don’t have a camera that will take a clear picture or I’d send it. Thanks!

  2. Rebecca Gracey says:

    Joe, What a nice array of pictures you displayed beyond just birds and butterflies. Included were a moth, wild flowers, a squirrel, a dragonfly and even the Galisteo mailboxes. You have a good eye!

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