Mission TX, LA, FL Week 11

Thursday-Sunday - Mission, TX:  

Well, two nice weather days out of four isn’t bad.  On Thursday we (Lorna, Dan Jones, and I) counted 35 species at the National Butterfly Center, including a brown-banded skipper nectaring on spring mist flower.  The next day Lorna joined me for a stroll into the Yturria Brush Tract near La Joya, adding Nysa roadside skipper and common streaky-skipper.  Sunday was a farewell breakfast at IHOP, most snowbirders heading north, while I skirted the Gulf Coast toward Florida.

Monday-Wednesday - LA and FL:

Dawn at High Island, a birding mecca near the TX-LA border, greeted me with clear skies, but by 10 A.M. dense cloud cover drove me east into Louisiana.  After lunch at Waffle House (yum . . . pecan waffle), skies cleared and, just east of Lafayette, a dirt road (Highway 975) off I-10 took me into the Atachafalaya NWR.  Roadside clumps of asters promised butterflies, and, within minutes, three new species - eastern tiger swallowtail, red-banded hairstreak, and Horace’s duskywing.

Tuesday I hopped on my Schwinn mountain bike for 20 miles of the Tammany rail-to-trail near Mandeville, LA.  My wife May and I rode many rails-to-trails over the years, with good butterflies, but not today.  Locals complained of a recent freeze, that today’s heat and clear skies were unusual.  The highlight of several roadside stops in Appalachicola NF were five swallowtail species: eastern tiger, Palamedes, pipevine, zebra, and giant.

New Species:  Zebra Swallowtail Eurytides marcellus, Giant Swallowtail Papilio cresphontes, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Papilio glaucus, Palamedes Swallowtail Papilio palamedes, Barred Yellow Eurema daira, Red-banded Hairstreak Calycopis cecrops, Cyna Blue Zizula cyna, Question Mark Polygonia interrogationis, Carolina Satyr Hermeuptychia sosybius, Brown-banded Skipper Timochares ruptifasciata, Juvenal's Duskywing Erynnis juvenalis, Horace's Duskywing Erynnis horatius, Common Streaky-Skipper Celotes nessus, Nysa Roadside-Skipper Amblyscirtes nysa, Celia's Roadside-Skipper Amblyscirtes celia

New Species:  15     Total trip species:  116     Species Photographed:  102

Papilio glaucus

Highlight Species: Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

One of several tailed, tiger-striped swallowtails in the U.S.  The closely-related Appalachian tiger swallowtail flies in the GA high country, the next state on my route.  Photographed in Appalachicola NF.  

© Chris Tenney 2014