Category: Butterflies (and Moths)

Sandia Hairstreak on Apache Plume

Sandia Hairstreak on Apache Plume

You may (or may not) have noticed that I didn’t post any photos of Sandia hairstreaks this spring. Usually I see them in March and the beginning of April — and that’s it. This spring I saw exactly one Sandia hairstreak, despite the fact that I looked all over for them.

I have seen them in June on a couple of occasions, most notably the very first year I ever saw them (in 2005) but that’s the exception rather than the rule. So imagine my absolute delight (not to mention relief) when I saw two sipping from Apache plume flowers this morning (I had seen a third about a half hour earlier, on beargrass).

Honestly, I was worrying that they were going extinct. I know that’s extreme, but I saw very few last year and only the one this spring. My worry is greatly alleviated now that I’ve seen these little guys. As I understand it, they must be part of the recently metamorphosed new brood that will overwinter until next spring. That they were on Apache plume, one of my very favorite flowers and oh-so-hard to get a good shot of, was icing on the cake.


Butterfly and Mexican Hat

Tailed Copper on Mexican Hat

A Tailed Copper butterfly drinks nectar from a Mexican Hat wildflower high in the Sandia mountains.

 


Boisduval’s Blue

A Boisduval's Blue butterfly (I think)

This is a Boisduval’s Blue butterfly, I think. (I’m not an expert with butterfly IDs.) I saw it a bit west of Chama about a week-and-a-half ago.


Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

A tiger swallowtail pauses to drink nectar from some golden pea plants in the high Sandia mountains.


Prickly Pear Blossom with Butterfly

Prickly Pear Blossom with Butterfly

I saw some prickly pear blossoms with red-orange centers last year and have been eagerly keeping an eye on their location, hoping to see more this year. Alas, there’ve been only a handful of buds, and no flowers yet. So you can imagine how completely thrilled I was last week when I saw this single blossom in a totally different place. I sat down to take some photos (it was pretty close to the ground) and in the 10 minutes I spent there, all sorts of pollinators came to visit. One was this skipper butterfly (a duskywing, maybe?). For whatever reason, I was completely charmed by the spiral its proboscis created.


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