Some good butterflies to share this time from the end of June through mid-July, and hopefully some more goodies to come over the next few weeks. Thought I’d start this time with a couple of this year’s hummingbird nests. First is this one from the Biopark we’d first spotted May 19 and had wondered if all was well June 9; all seems to be moving along just fine as of June 26.
Then there’s this one first noticed on July 4, which hopefully will do well too.
That same day I’d seen the young Cooper’s Hawk nesting at the Rio Grande Nature Center (in a roped off area near the parking lot).
Two more fun pictures before moving on to those butterflies (and a couple moths), first a female Widow Skimmer from a walk along the Corrales ditch,
and then one of the cacti from my yard that flowers for a day once or twice every year.
During one of my regular visits to Embudito Canyon in late June, it was fun to get my first look this year at a Hackberry Emperor in one of its usual spots.
The next weekend had us taking a look along Capilla Peak Road for the first time since the fire restrictions were lifted, and it turned up a number of sightings, including a Gray Hairstreak,
and a few of the larger ones, like Weidemeyer’s Admiral,
an American Lady (easily distinguished from the other ladies by the two large eyespots on the underside),
and the first Southwestern Fritillary of the year nectaring on the Bee Balm.
Also interested in the Bee Balm was a moth, the Rocky Mountain Clearwing.
A couple of visits to Embudito Canyon the next week gave me a nice look at one of the Two-tailed Swallowtails regularly seen there,
as well as a Ceraunus Blue, a species I just don’t see all that often.
Most interesting, however, was seeing several Mexican Sootywings there for the first time in quite awhile.
Here is another photo of one next to a Russet Skipperling, a surprise to me realizing just how small the Mexican Sootywing actually is.
Doing our survey for the New Mexico Butterfly Monitoring Network from Capulin Spring to Balsam Glade later in the week led to a few good photo ops, including both the male
and female Taxiles Skipper,
and a nicely-posed Hoary Comma.
It was off to the Jemez Mountains the next day, which had also recently opened after the fire restrictions. Several good butterflies along the road toward our target, the Seven Springs Fish Hatchery, included Sylvan Hairstreak
and Pine White.
Unfortunately, the clouds started rolling in as we approached the fish hatchery, so we wouldn’t see much there. It was cool spotting a tiny Garita Skipperling perched on a blade of grass.
Early the next week, I made another visit to Balsam Glade hoping to spot a couple of butterflies we knew were there but I had yet to see this year. The first butterfly I’d see was a Tailed Copper, usually fairly common in the Sandias this time of year, but my first for the year.
The other butterfly I’d see, and really the whole point of my visit that day, was the Colorado Hairstreak. Not only would I track one down after working the area pretty hard (for about 45 minutes), but after first spotting it close to the ground next to the trail as I was headed back to the car, it would put on quite the show for me. Here’s the more typical view of one,
but as I watched it for a short while, it started to open up,
and eventually gave me a good look as it opened almost completely.
Definitely made my day as it’s a species not seen all that often and most unusual to get a good look at the top of any hairstreak.
This past weekend, we traveled up to Taos Ski Valley after seeing recent reports of Arctic Fritillary. We’d of course see a few other butterflies, but the Arctic was our target as possibly new for our life list and definitely new for our New Mexico lists. As usual, we’d see quite a few White-lined Sphinx Moths which are always fun to photograph,
and a California Tortoiseshell.
There were also quite good numbers of Purplish Copper flying around.
The highlight of the trip, however, was seeing several of the Arctic Fritillary very occasionally stopping to nectar on the wildflowers. Here are two of my better photos, one on a Shasta Daisy
and one on the Arrowleaf groundsel (Senecio triangularis).