June to July Butterflies

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.

Black-chinned Hummingbird

Then there’s this one first noticed on July 4, which hopefully will do well too.

Black-chinned Hummingbird

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).

Cooper’s Hawk (immature)

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,

Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa)

and then one of the cacti from my yard that flowers for a day once or twice every year.

Pincushion Cactus (Escobaria vivipara)

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.

Hackberry Emperor (Asterocampa celtis)

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,

Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus)

Lupine Blue,

Lupine Blue (Plebejus lupini)

and a few of the larger ones, like Weidemeyer’s Admiral,

Weidemeyer’s Admiral (Limenitis weidemeyerii)

an American Lady (easily distinguished from the other ladies by the two large eyespots on the underside),

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

and the first Southwestern Fritillary of the year nectaring on the Bee Balm.

Southwestern Fritillary (Argynnis nausicaa)

Also interested in the Bee Balm was a moth, the Rocky Mountain Clearwing.

Rocky Mountain Clearwing (Hemaris thetis)

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,

Two-tailed Swallowtail (Papilio multicaudata)

as well as a Ceraunus Blue, a species I just don’t see all that often.

Ceraunus Blue (Hemiargus ceraunus)

Most interesting, however, was seeing several Mexican Sootywings there for the first time in quite awhile.

Mexican Sootywing (Pholisora mejicanus)

Here is another photo of one next to a Russet Skipperling, a surprise to me realizing just how small the Mexican Sootywing actually is.

Mexican Sootywing & Russet Skipperling

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

Male Taxiles Skipper (Poanes taxiles)

and female Taxiles Skipper,

Female Taxiles Skipper (Poanes taxiles)

and a nicely-posed Hoary Comma.

Hoary Comma (Polygonia gracilis)

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

Sylvan Hairstreak (Satyrium silvinus)

and Pine White.

Pine White (Neophasia menapia)

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.

Garita Skipperling (Oarisma garita)

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.

Tailed Copper (Lycaena arota)

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,

Colorado Hairstreak (Hypaurotis crysalus)

but as I watched it for a short while, it started to open up,

Colorado Hairstreak (Hypaurotis crysalus)

and eventually gave me a good look as it opened almost completely.

Colorado Hairstreak (Hypaurotis crysalus)

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,

White-lined Sphinx Moth (Hyles lineata)

Milbert’s Tortoiseshell,

Milbert’s Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis milberti)

and a California Tortoiseshell.

California Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis californica)

There were also quite good numbers of Purplish Copper flying around.

Purplish Copper (Lycaena helloides)

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

Arctic Fritillary (Boloria chariclea)

and one on the Arrowleaf groundsel (Senecio triangularis).

Arctic Fritillary (Boloria chariclea)

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.

13 Responses to June to July Butterflies

  1. When Barbara Hussey and I were birding in Balsam Glade about 10 days ago, we saw almost no butterflies.

    Later when we were at Capulin down at the Log, there was a brilliant Fritillary (Southwest I presume).

    I haven’t been to the RGNC for almost 2 weeks. I’m glad that the area with the coop nest is roped off!

    • joeschelling says:

      Balsam Glade’s been a little slow this year, but it can vary due to temperature, weather, and such – that Tailed Copper and Colorado Hairstreak were all I saw there on July 11. And, yep, Southwestern Fritillary is almost certainly what you saw at Capulin. There was a sign at the RGNC nest warning parents how territorial those hawks can be. See you at Bonnie’s!

  2. Some butterflies that we do not see here in Finland. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Beautiful series of images!

  4. What a magnificent collection of species and well done on the Colorado Hairstreak. It’s a beauty. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Makes me wanna fly across the Atlantic every time…

  5. Delightful series, such beautiful captures and compositions!!

  6. mjzimhotmailcom says:

    Hi Joe, Just curious about your walk from Capulin Spring to Balsam Glade in the Sandias. Is there a trail, and if so, where do I pick it up? Also, saw a Colorado Hairstreak on the Box Spring Trail at Red Canyon last weekend. Also lots of Russet Skipperlings on the Red Canyon Trail. Thanks for your blog, M.J. Zimmerman ________________________________

    • joeschelling says:

      Thanks, M.J. It’s been awhile since I’ve been to Red Canyon. Yes, there is a trail. Just walk down the old (blocked off) paved road at the far end of the parking lot (leading thru the old picnic sites and the ‘bird log’). At the end, you’ll see the trail leading across a meadow. At the far side of the meadow, one branch goes uphill and one goes downhill to meet NM-65; go right (uphill) to Balsam Glade. We usually leave one car at each end (hey, I’m getting old!), but it’s less than a mile one-way.

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