Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Gray Hawk

 I spent last week photographing in south Texas' Rio Grande Valley. The weather was near perfect with mostly sunny skies and temps getting up into the 80's. We made the most of a lot of great photographic opportunities including about 10 new lifers and 11 different species of raptors. This bird was one of our lifers. It is an immature gray hawk. I photographed it in Bentsen State Park. South Texas and southern Arizona are the only places in the US that you can find gray hawks. There range extends south through coastal Mexico, Central America, and the northern half of South America. Although they are a member of the Buteo genus, or soaring hawk, they are built more like an Accipiter with a long tail and shorter wings. Because of this they used to have their own genus. Adult gray hawks are gray in color with barring across the chest. We believe that we may have spotted an adult at the Laguna Atascosa but unfortunately it took off before we could get a good look, or a picture. I will have to add an adult to my target species for our next trip to Texas.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Bordered Patch Butterfly

Bordered Patch Butterfly
 The bordered patch is a butterfly found in the southwestern United States, Mexico, Central and South America. They are usually food in habitat such as desert hills, pinyon or oak woodlands, thorn and mesquite scrub, road edges and agricultural fields.
Bordered Patch Butterfly Chrysalis Shell
 This is what is left of the chrysalis once the bordered patch emerges. In south Texas, where I took these photographs the adults can be seen flying through out the year. Adults feed primarily on nectar from flowers while the larva (caterpillar) feed on members of the sunflower family.