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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Too hot to handle


105° all afternoon. Yesterday evening, driving down to CMO it rained all the way, sometimes torrentially. Until I got to my turnoff at Terlingua Ranch Road. Bone dry. That sure gets old. Three months since any rain of any significance here. Now it looks like rain all around again today, so I thought I'd start blogging. The least little storm makes the electricity go out, so if I go to town later, I'll have this online in draft form nearly ready to go. But I won't publish it until I find out if it rains here. All week there's a chance. Can't miss me forever. This is monsoon season.

I didn't water everything. Seems like an exercise in futility. But I was watering some things when a butterfly flew toward me that sure looked like an Ornythion Swallowtail to me. There are almost no butterflies around so that was surprising. It lit, but behind a leaf. I moved slightly trying to get a clear shot and it flew away, never to be seen again. Darn! And I was even ready with my big Canon on my shoulder, just in case. Need to get faster. I went everywhere trying to relocate it, to no avail. While I was looking I saw some paintbrush (Castilleja rigida) still blooming out away from the oasis. And some Desert Willow. So it seems foraging may be better out in the wild. But even there, hardly anything is blooming. However, if I climbed the mountain I'd probably find some blooms.






































The only thing blooming at the oasis are the acanthus. Nothing goes to them, which probably means they're depleted of nectar. Need rain. I've seen a Cassin's Kingbird here occasionally during the past several weeks. Maybe they're nesting here. That might be a first.


If these Arizona Powdered-Skippers were trying to look like that leaf, they didn't fool me.


Kelly Bryan and Charles Floyd came early this morning to band hummingbirds. Of the 15 Lucifers they caught only one was a juvenile. But hummers are starting their second nesting now. That should be more productive.

When Brian, my butterfly guru, was here in late April he went up the mountain assessing Ursine Giant-Skippers and other butterfly species numbers. Unfortunately, I couldn't go up with him because I didn't have a trail at that time. He came down one afternoon after seeing a healthy population of the skippers, their tents, mating, laying eggs, etc. and decided to take the necessary tools and go back up and retrieve him a specimen Ursine male pupa for his collection. I really worried about him clamboring up the mountain (no trail) so late in the day, with him already tired out, but he was motivated. So here is his specimen. I'm always so fascinated by this species since they don't nectar on flowers. They just emerge, mate, and die.


UPDATE: No rain. Came to town.

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