Mission TX week 7

As expected, my weekly list of new species is trending downward as a sequence of cold fronts continues to delay spring.  I considered a quick jaunt to Florida, but a telephone chat with Buck Cooper convinced me to wait until April.  In fact, much of the country is in a deep freeze, so Barbara Kingsolver novels will have to entertain me through next week.  

Despite the paucity of butterflies, several nice walks with new and old friends brightened my week.  Today Deb and Bill Marsh from Columbus, OH, acquaintances from last year, made a surprise appearance on Mike’s Santa Ana NWR weekly walk, where we counted 27 species on a cool sunny day.  Tom and Ruth Nix from Michigan (?) were daily companions on several outings.  Tom spotted our year’s first Clytie Ministreak, whose winter form closely resembles the much rarer White Scrub-hairstreak.  But local expert Mike Rickard walked up and dashed our hopes, casually pointing out the diagnostic field marks.

To the envy of many of us attending Rick and May Snider’s Estero Llano Grande walk on Friday, Lorna Graham had a solo encounter with the week’s best butterfly, a Pavon Emperor at the National Butterfly Center.  I spent the next two days trying to relocate this gorgeous bug, an iridescent-blue male.  Jeff Glassburg, President of NABA (North American Butterfly Association) and author of several butterfly ID books, joined the hunt, but to no avail.  

New Species:  Clytie Ministreak Ministrymon clytie, Cassius Blue Leptotes cassius, Curve-winged Metalmark Emesis emesia, Whirlabout Polites vibex

New Species:  4     Total trip species:  75      Species Photographed:  68

Emesis emesia

Highlight Species: Curve-winged Metalmark

Metalmarks, named for their metallic markings, reside mostly in the tropics.  Last fall a small colony of this species, normally a rare stray, was discovered along the Rio Grande.  Photographed at Rio Rico Rd.

© Chris Tenney 2014