Trifecta

This past week I’ve been fortunate to come across three different species of first hummingbirds and then butterflies, some of which aren’t seen very often at all around here. The Audubon Thursday Birders held their annual hummingbird extravaganza and potluck, stopping first at Simm’s Ranch where the owner has incredible number of hummingbirds coming to visit their feeders and gave a presentation on his long-term study of bluebird breeding on his property. Following that visit, it was on to Bonnie and Don’s, where they too have probably close to a hundred hummingbirds draining the more than a dozen feeders they keep supplied.

Air Traffic

Air Traffic

Of the four species they have visiting regularly, I managed to photograph all but the Broad-tailed Hummingbird (Actually, I did get a couple of pictures of them, too, but none came out all that well.). First up was the one that seems to show up earliest every year and is quite common all over town, the Black-chinned Hummingbird.

Black-chinned Hummingbird

Black-chinned Hummingbird

Around about the Fourth of July, the Rufous Hummingbird shows up and is known for aggressively defending feeders from any other hummingbirds.

Rufous Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird

At my house, I’m lucky to see more than one hummingbird on any day and even with two feeders, once the Rufous comes to town he’ll do his best to guard both of them and run off any other visitors. The sheer numbers of birds and feeders at the places we visited must completely overwhelm them and let the others in for a sip. The third species was most special since I’ve only see it rarely and don’t think I’ve ever seen it in town – this male Calliope Hummingbird.

Calliope Hummingbird

Calliope Hummingbird

When I’m not looking at birds it’s usually butterflies that draw my attention. My last posting had a picture of the Banded Hairstreak, also one we rarely see and that we had been regularly checking the dogbane for during several recent visits. On Saturday back at the 8000′ marker in the Sandia, we had a couple more of them including this one on something other than the dogbane.

Banded Hairstreak (Satyrium calanus)

Banded Hairstreak (Satyrium calanus)

First of the season was also another hairstreak we’d been hoping to see and typically only get once or twice a year, the Colorado Hairstreak.

Colorado Hairstreak (Hypaurotis crysalus)

Colorado Hairstreak (Hypaurotis crysalus)

Rounding out that trifecta was a third hairstreak I spotted yesterday on the trail to Bill Spring, the Tailed Copper, one that can be quite common some years and I’d been searching for all the month of July. An absolutely serendipitous finding, as I was heading back to the car after seeing few butterflies anywhere along the trail that morning, there it was resting on a stalk of grass next to the trail.

Tailed Copper (Lycaena arota)

Tailed Copper (Lycaena arota)

With any luck, we’ll start seeing more of the Tailed Copper and maybe even another Colorado Hairstreak in the next few weeks. Friday, I took a quick trip to a few of our regular spots in Las Huertas Canyon looking for those hairstreaks. None of them showed themselves, but it was a good morning ending up seeing 25 species overall. Among the surprises were a few Arizona Sisters, which for some reason have been absent since mid-June, a Question Mark, and a Red Admiral.

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

At one popular area near the creek were a ridiculous number of nearly two dozen Margined Whites puddling in the damp sand.

Margined White (Pieris marginalis)

Margined White (Pieris marginalis)

The next day, Saturday, while Rebecca and I were busy at 8000′ again looking for all those hairstreaks, we’d finally spot a healthy looking male Pine White working the dogbane.

Pine White (Neophasia menapia)

Pine White (Neophasia menapia)

The Pine White is another of those special butterflies for this time of year and one that tends to spend most of its time high up in the pines. We’ve now seen several this year, but all of them male, so will be still keeping an eye out for the female which has a bit more red on the outer edge of the hindwing. And, of course, it’s difficult not taking pictures of swallowtails when they stop their continuous patrolling for a bit of nectar, such as this Two-tailed Swallowtail working a recently bloomed coneflower.

Two-tailed Swallowtail (Papilio multicaudata)

Two-tailed Swallowtail (Papilio multicaudata)

The other day on my way to look for Mississippi Kites again (I’d see four of them circling in the sky but no nest anywhere), I stopped by Tramway Wetlands. Essentially a large drainage basin to the Rio Grande, sometimes it’s completely dry while at other times it has plenty of water to draw in a good variety of water and shorebirds. With all the rain we’ve been getting lately, it has proven popular for a number of species. While there, I spotted an excellent birder I know on the far side who would submit an eBird report later that day on the 30 species he’d seen. Most I’d see as well, including at least four Great Blue Herons, a couple of Black-crowned Night-Herons, several different species of ducks and sandpipers, a Belted Kingfisher overseeing the area from a power line, and almost two dozen Snowy Egrets.

Snowys are always fun to take pictures of if they let you close enough and if I remember to adjust the camera settings for that brilliant white.  The first one I saw appears to be an adult bringing a nice fish back to show what I assume was its young one.

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

After downing the fish, the adult posed nicely for a portrait.

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

What I assume is a  younger one since its colors are a bit muted also sat nicely for its picture to be taken.

Juvenile Snowy Egret

Juvenile Snowy Egret

A few minutes later, it took off before making a graceful landing a little further down the way.

Juvenile Snowy Egret

Juvenile Snowy Egret

Advertisements

About joeschelling

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

11 Responses to Trifecta

  1. Shannon says:

    These are just he most exquisite photos. I am envious of your hummer shots. That Rufous! I can only hope to know a handful of butterfly species…you are certainly helping me along there. Thank you for sharing these. I look forward to your next post.

  2. Linda Otterson says:

    I love the shot of the Snowy Egret flying with the fish in it’s mouth! Nice flying shot!

  3. joeschelling says:

    Thanks, Linda. Fun watching it chow down a moment later, too.

  4. It’s so nice to see pictures of hummingbirds we don’t have here in southern Illinois. We have 1 species. Plus all the butterflies you have that we don’t. Enjoyed!

  5. R Schelling says:

    Joe, Such MAGNIFICENT Photos! I feel like I was ALMOST there. 🙂 That snowy egret in flight—fantastic! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

  6. Rebecca Gracey says:

    I love the Snowy Egret pictures.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s