Click any photo to enlarge

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A good day with some frustrations

I had a computer problem that took up most of the afternoon. (Some Arabic speaker hacked into my blog. I've reset my password.) My son in Alpine walked me through the fix. Somehow the time and date got unset so I couldn't access email, facebook, and some other sites. In the midst of all this, and triple-digit temperatures, I spied an Elf Owl roosting in the courtyard. That so rarely happens that I quit everything I was doing to photograph it. Then I hastened to the oasis where a bird photographer was set up. He hadn't ever photographed an Elf Owl before, so we hurried back to the courtyard with all his cumbersome equipment. No owl.......anywhere.

Also saw a pair of Scaled Quail with 4 chicks. I love to see baby chicks. They were way across the tank, but I took what I could get, and even at that, I only got a couple of quick shots.

I've always favored precocial young to atricial hatchlings. In other words, those that are born more able to care for themselves as far as running, swimming, feeding, etc. goes. Like, I really love baby ducklings too. Naked and helpless is adorable on human babies, but not so much with birds.

Last, but not least, I saw, and photographed, my first "Mormon Metalmark complex" butterfly today. Brian had seen that species here before, but I hadn't. My Kaufman butterfly guide (2003) shows it as Mexican Metalmark (Apodemia duryi) in West Texas, and barely shows the Mormon Metalmark (A. mormo) in Texas at all. Further, Ro Wauer, a butterfly expert for Big Bend National Park, called it the Dury's Metalmark (A. duryi) in his 2006 butterfly checklist for the park, and made no mention of Mormon Metalmark in BBNP. But in earlier publications he did call it Mormon Metalmark (A. mormo).*  Brian, my own personal expert, considers Apodemia duryi as a subspecies of Mormon Metalmark (Apodemia mormo). Whichever it is, it's a new species for me.

* It appears to me that circa 2002-2003 Kaufman called it Mexican Metalmark (A. duryi), and Wauer called it Mormon Metalmark (A. mormo), but by 2006 Wauer had adopted Kaufman's classification, and referred to it as a Dury's (A. duryi). A bit confusing. And Brian tells me that the Fatal Metalmark used to be called Mexican Metalmark, so I think I'll stick with calling it Dury's form of Mormon Metalmark. Something like "Mormon Metalmark (Apodemia mormo duryi)." Works for me. I've learned with plants that if someone publishes a name incorrectly it can really be hard to get it all straightened out, especially when the latin names are wrong.


  1. What beautiful shots of the Elf Owl. They are so tiny, it's lucky that you spotted him/her. They are so cute.
    Carla in Rowlett

    1. Thanks. I'm sure I wouldn't have spotted it if I hadn't flushed it accidentally when I went to fill a hummingbird feeder near where it was perched.