Just a few of my better photos from the past month this time, taken on various outings. More importantly, with two weeks having passed from my second COVID shot and New Mexico opening up more and more, we seem able to see that light at the end of the tunnel as life gets closer to normal around here.
Most of those outings have been in search of butterflies, often not very successful as the ongoing drought has kept numbers down and some species either not appearing or appearing later in the year. A few times birds have been my focus and sometimes they’ll just pop up while looking for butterflies. Here’s one of a Green-tailed Towhee from an early morning visit to Cienega Spring.
About a week after first finding the Great Horned Owl nest at Pueblo Montano Open Space, I returned to see two fairly mature young ones (the one on the left is a bit hidden by the leaves).
Quite a few of my recent outings have taken me to Embudito Canyon, one of the sites we are doing surveys this year for the New Mexico Butterfly Monitoring Network. A couple of the birds from one visit included this Cactus Wren carrying some nesting material,
and one of the Ladder-backed Woodpeckers peering out of the cavity they’ve been seen using for some time now.
Another more recent sighting there is of a Curve-billed Thrasher nesting quite close to the well-trafficked trail.
During one of those butterfly surveys, a rather patient male Black-chinned Hummingbird showed up in just the right light to catch that purple gorget.
On our other butterfly survey route from Capulin Spring to Balsam Glade, we’ve been seeing Silver-spotted Skippers
and Weidemeyer’s Admiral recently.
Our most recent survey also turned up a number of Arctic Blue butterflies.
Surveys and other trips to Embudito have started turning up Viereck’s Skipper,
and finally (weeks later than last year), a Green Skipper.
Somewhat of a surprise after seeing Sandia Hairstreak there from early March through early April, they started showing up again toward the end of May and have been easily seen since. This is a picture of one from June 6.
The day before, Rebecca and I headed out in search of a couple of butterflies we’ve been hoping to find for friends from back east, driving north to Las Vegas, NM and then east to Mosquero, north to Mills Canyon and Abbott, and then back to Springer for the drive home. Long day through interesting country, but not turning up many butterflies despite some areas having received enough rain this year to have greened up nicely. It was quite satisfying in one of those spots (Mills Canyon) to find two individuals of our main target species, the Dotted Checkerspot.
Yesterday, I made another scouting trip for one of our Eastern friends searching nearly all of our possible locations for Mexican Sootywing. No luck at any of those spots, but it did seem conditions looked most promising at the Abó Unit of Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument. No sootywings, but I got reasonable shots of a Checkered White
and of a Clouded Sulphur.