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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Getting ready

Going to water things at CMO tomorrow and then pack for my trip to the Rio Grande Valley. Hope I'm well enough. Meanwhile, I wander around looking for butterflies. There aren't any dragonflies to speak of. Here's a good pic (for me) of a Sachem Skipper.

And this next one is a Cloudless Sulphur. Ordinary stuff for me, but soon I'll be enjoying exciting new species.

Here's a moth that is likely a new species for me. No idea what it is though. I just can't get "into" moths. To me, they're the insects that ate all our woolens when I was growing up in Iowa.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

CMO gorgeous today

I didn't have long to spend or I'm sure I would have tallied some awesome birds and butterflies. Amazingly, for the first time ever, the mulberry trees put on a fall crop. Not as large as the spring crop, but quite amazing. I hate that the oasis is at its best in the fall when visitors almost never visit.

I saw a couple of really interesting warblers at the mulberry trees. Unfortunately, couldn't get good enough looks or photos for ID.

I know I'm observing some of the last Lucifer Hummingbird visits for the year, but spring comes soon.

The ruta graveolens has an ever increasing number of cats munching away on it. I've lost track of how many. And look at the lovely results. Black Swallowtails galore.

I'm still trying to get all my butterfly pics ID'd. If there turn out to be any interesting species, I'll update.

UPDATE: Brian ID'd my pics and one was a new species for CMO, although I've had it in town. It's a Tawny Emperor, as I suspected. I only got one chance to photograph it while it was landed high in a tree and my photos were not good, possibly because the butterfly was fluttering and not still, plus the dappled shade. I was just glad it was IDable. Their host plant is the hackberry tree. It's great that my numerous hackberries have finally attracted their attention.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

My long Sunday drive

In my usual enthusiasm I left the house before daylight. Driving on RM2810 south of Marfa I watched the sun rise in my rear view mirror while heading toward the full moon. Moments too fleeting!

So when I arrived at the water in Pinto Canyon, it was still too early for odes or butterflies to fly. On to the next destination. (I won't voluntarily drive that awful dirt road again.)

I never saw a single vehicle driving from Marfa to Candelaria. Going through Ruidosa, I stopped to photograph the church. 

Here's a photo of the church taken in 1963 before I had ever made my first trip to the Big Bend. The [Catholic] church was built around 1914 when some 1700 residents lived in the cotton farming community. When the Rio Grande was dammed upstream, the town dwindled to the handful of residents there today.

In 2006, through grants from the Texas Historical Commission and others, the church was stabilized and part of the left front tower was rebuilt. However, due to funding shortages, the project was abandoned and the church was, once again, left to the forces of nature.

And here's my photograph from today to prove it.

A few miles before Candelaria the land on the south side of the road was flooded for miles, creating a seasonal wetlands.

Candelaria is a quaint little Mexican village, seemingly suspended in time and space...a mosaic of trailers and adobes, with no stores or businesses, unless you count the tiny church there.  As the Texas Monthly author, Joe Patoski, wrote in 1997, "Mexico is just across the river, but notions like borders and sovereignty have little meaning here. This is as remote as a town on a highway can get." Nothing has changed in the nearly 20 years since then. Here's the historical "oxbow" just outside town.


No lifers, but fun (and tiring) anyway.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Amethyst-throated Hummingbird

A first US record, no less! In the Davis Mountains yesterday. Didn't stick around long but I was fortunate to be able to get there in time, and be allowed to see and photograph it. I drove really fast.

If I had been at the oasis, chasing the bird would not have been doable. As it was, I had to turn off supper cooking on the stove, grab my camera, and run out the door. By the time I got there, there was no sunshine, and fading daylight. But for a lifer, any shot is better than none. Kelly had already gotten excellent photos a little earlier, so he didn't even bother to take any while I was there. 

And check out Cornell's cam video. It's awesome!

Back in town I've been staying indoors trying to get well enough for my upcoming valley trip. But I saw a few butterflies on the patio's potted flowers. Here's a Clouded Skipper on "amethyst-throated" flowers (Vinca).

Tomorrow I'm going on a little excursion to the Ruidosa/Candelaria area. Haven't ever oded there so it might be interesting.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Photos by family

On my sister's 75th birthday celebration two of her children went up her mountain trail with her, and then down my side on the trail I made. Too bad I've been too sick to go up the mountain recently. But I have their photos. And one is of a butterfly that I've never seen, a Fulvia Checkerspot. (Photo by my niece, Julia Green.) Of course I'm very envious! Fulvia's host is paintbrush. I'm sure there's plenty of that on the mountain these days.

Here's Ann with her son and daughter at a cave near the top of the pouroff.

And next is a photo showing the big hill on my road from above.

This next shot is of them making their way across the top of the mountain (no trail) to the saddle where they picked up my trail. You can see the tip of W Corazone Peak showing through the saddle.

Finally, a photo I took today at the oasis while I was watering. One of these days I'll get the weeds pulled. The red flowers are Flame Acanthus.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Old age and treachery

I suppose I should give the credit to antibiotics, but I like old age and treachery better.

Came down to CMO and watered a little, but just couldn't hold myself back from Lajitas. It was a gorgeous day, too. I tried to pace myself, and did do better than I normally do. But I was determined to find amberwings and that meant getting wet. No pain, no gain. Here's the results of my quest. I think it's a Mexican Amberwing, but need experts to be sure. Will update when ID'd.

So tomorrow I'll finish watering. And find something awesome to photograph.

UPDATE: Experts not 100% positive on the ID. Seems where both Eastern and Mexican Amberwing ranges overlap there may be some hybridization occurring. More research needs to be done. I'm going to Lajitas Saturday with one expert and see if we can't get more photos of other individuals.