Monday, March 31, 2014

National Butterfly Center - NABA

The forecast predicted a sunny afternoon, so we waited until noon to drive to the National Butterfly Center south of Mission, which is only a mile away from Bensten State Park. We both scoped out the front gardens and then Gunnar left for Bensten. I continued to search for butterflies but the sun was very late showing up. 

Queen, not a Monarch but in the Danaus Family

(an inch smaller than a Monarch)

Pipeline Swallowtail   


Black Swallowtail Caterpillar  (No Butterfly)

                            Crimson Patch (less orange than showing than Border)

 Border Patches Mating 

  Dainty Sulphur

Gray Hairstreak 
                                                                                    Topical Checkered-Skipper 
Lavianna White-Skipper


Checkered White (female)

 Checkered White (male)

Santa Ana Butterfly Walk - March 19th

Finally a nice morning for a Butterfly Walk at Santa Ana. March 19th was my first and last Butterfly Walk here. It was the first Wednesday that was not severely windy, cold, rainy or another event was planned. Mike Rikard,  a moth-er by heart more or less lead us. We all found the beauties. Chris from Benson Palms, Judy, Jim and I were it. The highlight was seeing Reakirt Blues out on the west edge of Pintail Lakes. Mike and Chris's highlight were Roadside Skippers which were rather dull and brown. None the less we enjoyed the morning taking photos and trying to ID-ing the butterflies. 

Rounded Metalmark (only one seen this year)

                                                                  Phaon Crescent

Hopeful Suitor above,  Uncooperative Crescents below

                                                                   Orange Sulphur

                                                     Funereal Duskywings

                                   Reakirt Blue

                                                              Nysa Roadside Skippers

I can not ID either of these skippers. I need Mike or Chris to help.
Maybe next year, they can or I will know more.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Bluebird and A Waterthrush at Falfurrias, TX

It has been a long time since I saw a Bluebird. I really can't remember when, but they are great birds.  I know they made a come back with bluebird houses. The Louisiana Waterthrush, which is really a warbler was a first in my memory. The books say they go as far west as Minnesota and Texas. We found later found out that  this Eastern Warbler was reported by six other birding visitors. So we are positive in the identification. 

The movement reminded us of a sandpiper.
         The Louisiana Waterthrush was forging for inscets and bobbing its tail as it moved.
                             The gray cheek distinguish the Louisiana  from the Northern Waterthrush. 
 Both can be seen in Minnesota but the Northern Waterthrush 
is more well distributed across North America.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Grass Fire on I-35 in Iowa

 Smoke could be seen for ten miles as we drove north to Des Moines on our way home. Here is a series of photos as we drove upon it and through the grass fire. We did not see the five fire departments fighting the blaze until we were well through it.

                                            Here is one of the five fire departments.

The news reports said the owners used a garden water hose to save their property.
The grass was burned just yards from the buildings.

 The visibility was poor for a only a short time, a few miles, but we had to 
breath the smokey air.  The strong smoke lingered inside our vehicle until 
 we could drive with our windows open.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Owlets at Falfurrias Picnic and Rest Area

It was rumored that a Painted Redstart was seen a few miles from Falfurrias at this wooded stop.  So why not take a break, even though we were planning to eat in Falfurrias. We were so happy we did. As we were walking with our binoculars to the restroom a service worker asked if we saw the owls. He took us over to the brick wall on the west, closer to the south bound parking. What a kick to see to the pair of juvenile Great Horned Owls peaking at us. A regular to the stop asked if we checked out the pond on the north end. He said he checks them every week and are really growing. On our way we saw the Bluebird and then Water Thrush by the edge. I will post their photos later. Our first lucky stop and best birding in a while.

 Juvenile Great Horned Owls

 Taken from the side,
so we think this is the other
 owlet turned.
Switching of the Guard Owl

Monday, March 24, 2014

Blue Bonnets and More! Thank You, Lady Bird!

What a lucky adventure going north! We canceled our plans of going to Goose Lake or Aransas Wildlife area, and decided to just home, chance of rain 80%.  But we diverted from (281)  then to I-37 and took 97 from Pleasant and drove through Floresville on 97. I wonder how Floresville got its name, anything to do with Flora? My mother's name was Florence, now I really like the name. Anyway, here is something of what we saw.           LOVED our DETOUR!