Thursday, October 27, 2022

Master of disguise

This baby Texas spiny lizard (Sceloporus olivaceus) showed up in our dining room this morning. Somehow it got in under our back door. Anyway, I took some photos to remember how tiny it was and to show how well this species blends into the bark of live oaks. Amazing!


Friday, October 14, 2022

Blacklight set-up

I found a set-up that works for me. Finally!

Four-patched bird-dropping moth

Eggplant leafroller moth

Gazelle scarab (not native)

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Travelin' vultures

We love our local vultures, both turkey and black. So last week, while we were sitting in the Meadow, we were perplexed by a LARGE flock of them "kettling" for awhile. Then, one by one, they broke off and formed a gliding single line headed southeast, a new behavior to us. Those definitely weren't our locals, most of whom roost down by the Blanco River.

Two nights later, again while we sat in the Meadow, we noticed vultures flying from the west heading east (video above). Wave after wave, they glided over. Several hundred! Another new observation for us. And again, those definitely weren't our locals!  

We've since concluded those were turkey vultures (Cathartes aura), which can and do migrate. Here's more info on So cool!

Blacklight night

In 2019, I bought a blacklight, thinking we'd go mothing after dark right away. Nope. Fast forward three years to last night, when we finally dug out the light (which took some time to find in a closet) and set up our first blacklight. At first, I wasn't too impressed. Then insects began to arrive. Wow, it was fun! For a first time out, I was impressed. We'll do a better set-up next time. Here's some advice on iNaturalist.

Black webspinner

Helvibotys helvialis, a crambid snout moth (I think)

Moth LOL!

Chironomus sp., a non-biting midge

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

When experts differ

This is a butterfly that I photographed Oct. 20, 2020 in our Wildscape. It is in the metalmark family of Riodinidae. On that, the experts agree. 

Here's where they differ: On iNaturalist, my observation was identified as a Rawson's metalmark (Calephelis rawsoni). A few days ago, I received an email from Butterflies and Moths of North America, confirming that my sighting is a fatal metalmark (Calephelis nemesis). 

Stay tuned.