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Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial day walk in the park

I was determined to go to Big Bend NP today so as soon as banding was over I headed out.

For 40 yrs the Chisos from a distance has always looked like a big condor with it's wings spread (Casa Grande Peak in the middle is the head), but today it looked more like a big Chisos Giant-Skipper sunning itself. Takes a little imagination from this angle, but from my place it's a little different.

Green Gulch was windy so I went to the sewage ponds where it was somewhat less windy. Not much activity but even with what there was, I was so in over my head. I am sure this one is an 'Arizona' Red-spotted Purple (limenitis arthemis arizonensis),* which was one of my target species. I think I've seen it before but thought it was a Pipevine Swallowtail.

And speaking of Pipevine, I guess this photo just caught it at an odd angle where only one of the red spots shows. I took many more that looked the same, but I don't know what else it could be. Maybe a big chunk of hind-wing was missing.

The highlight of the trip turned out to be the biggest disappointment of the trip. Brian had always told me to look in bear grass blooms for Sandia Hairstreak, so leaving the Chisos Basin I saw bear grass blooming along the road. I couldn't pull off the road there, and it being Memorial Day, there was lots of traffic, so I had to park a long ways away and walk back to the place. I found a dark hairstreak in the bear grass and thought sure it was a Sandia. Imagine my disappointment when it turned out to be another Poling's Hairstreak. Last week's treasure; this week's trash.

Poling's Hairstreak beside Gray Hairstreak

Before leaving the park I visited the spot where my daughter got married a year ago this month. A happy Memorial Day memory.

I'm planning to look for butterflies in the park once a week for the next month or so.

* Brian informs me that it's just called an Arizona Purple.

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