There had been some wonderful butterflies reported during the week, so seeing as a couple of Yellow-green Vireos had also been reported from the National Butterfly Center (NBC), I decided to go on a Lep Hunt, and if the vireos were still around, that would be an added bonus! Since the NBC doesn’t open until 9:00, I decided to spend my time before that at nearby Bentsen Rio Grande SP, and that was a wonderful choice: even before the morning sun hit the extensive butterfly gardens between the parking lot and the visitor’s center, all sorts of butters were batting around, mostly Snouts and Clouded Skippers (although in my book any little dark brown grass skipper is a Clouded until proven otherwise…)! Amongst all the Large Orange Sulphurs being rudely awakened by my presence was a little Tailed Orange in the area near the offices, and a Gulf Fritillary showed off its silver teardrops nicely in the gloom! I hadn’t really experimented with the macro function on my little Powershot, but tried it with a Snout that was trying to be invisible, and it worked like a charm! A little guy that landed on the pavement turned out to be a Dusky-blue Groundstreak.
Female Laviana White Skipper
Celia's Roadside Skipper
By that time it was time to run over to NBC, and the first thing to greet me in the parking lot was a lovely Theona Checkerspot! Bordered Patches were out the yin yang as were Queens, and after getting my “band” in the VC I went out to the back gardens where the best bug of the day showed up (and upon which my normally cooperative camera refused to focus): a Zilpa Longtail!
Drove down to the “old gardens” where I ran into a couple of birders from West Virginia who had just seen the Yellow-green Vireo, but not here – it had moved to Mary Gustafson’s neighborhood! I made a mental note to swing by after finishing the gardens and continued the rounds; they had lots of bait logs out that were covered with Tawny Emperors, but the occasional Empress Leilia, Hackberry Emperor, Tropical Leafwing, and Mexican Bluewing would try to blend in! Managed to spot a Crimson Patch, and later discovered (after going through the pictures) that what I thought was just another Crimson was actually a rare Rosita Patch! Had a nice selection of crescents and was enjoying a White-patched Skipper when I ran into John Rosford who told me about a Marius Hairstreak back at the VC, so I drove back up there and circled around the little fiddlewood where he had found it; no Marius, but I did kick up a couple of little Clytie Ministreaks!
Crimson Patch (above and below)
Mexican Bluewing (above and below)
Empress Leilia (with a Tawny Emperor on the left)
Rosita Patch, a rare cousin of the Crimson (above and below)
Rolled back to the old gardens to pick up where I left off, this time running into Kathy Detweiler who mentioned a Band-celled Sister both she and John and seen along the Walking Trail! So I thanked her and headed back to the trees behind the restrooms, where a bunch of things were feeding on these white puffy blooms way up on the top of the trees. One looked a little odd, with a longish nose, which turned out to be another rarity: a Glazed Pellicia!
Glazed Pellicia, a rare visitor from Mexico (above and below)
It was getting rather warm by then, so I poked down the Walking Trail just to see if anything else would pop up, and on the way back I was almost clobbered by the Band-celled Sister blasting by! It never did stop, but it was a nice bug to end the day with! A dark swallowtail crossing the path make me realize I had seen no Giant Swallowtails today, which was surprising as we saw tons of them the day I took Per out to Sabal Palm Grove!
Headed home by way of Conway to avoid the construction, and completely forgot about stopping for the vireo! L Oh, well; the butters couldn’t be beat!
Great Southern WhiteSouthern Dogface
Large Orange Sulphur
Mallow Scrub Hairstreak
Tropical Checkered Skipper
Laviana White Skipper
Celia’s Roadside Skipper