End of the Tunnel

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.

Green-tailed Towhee

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).

Great Horned Owl

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,

Cactus Wren

and one of the Ladder-backed Woodpeckers peering out of the cavity they’ve been seen using for some time now.

Ladder-backed Woodpecker

Another more recent sighting there is of a Curve-billed Thrasher nesting quite close to the well-trafficked trail.

Curve-billed Thrasher

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.

Black-chinned Hummingbird

On our other butterfly survey route from Capulin Spring to Balsam Glade, we’ve been seeing Silver-spotted Skippers

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

and Weidemeyer’s Admiral recently.

Weidemeyer’s Admiral (Limenitis weidemeyerii)

Our most recent survey also turned up a number of Arctic Blue butterflies.

Arctic Blue (Agriades glandon)

Surveys and other trips to Embudito have started turning up Viereck’s Skipper,

Viereck’s Skipper (Atrytonopsis vierecki)

and finally (weeks later than last year), a Green Skipper.

Green Skipper (Hesperia viridis)

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.

Sandia Hairstreak (Callophrys mcfarlandi)

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.

Dotted Checkerspot (Poladryas minuta)

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

Checkered White (Pontia protodice)

and of a Clouded Sulphur.

Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice)

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.

7 Responses to End of the Tunnel

  1. Mike Powell says:

    Beautiful photos, as always, Joe. I was especially blown away by the color of the Black-chinned Hummingbird–all we have are the Ruby-throated ones.

    • joeschelling says:

      Thanks, Mike. We get a few other species around here, but as I’m sure is true of the Ruby-throats you don’t often get a shot of that gorget shining in the light.

      • Mike Powell says:

        The light has to be almost perfect and the hummingbird has to be cooperative to get a shot like that. I think we all keep trying for the tough shots and that’s one of the reasons why we go out again and again the photograph the same species.

  2. M.B. Henry says:

    Lovely photos – I especially loved that hummingbird!

  3. Rebecca Gracey says:

    That was an especially beautiful shot of the Clouded Sulphur.

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