Sunday, November 1, 2009

November Butterfly Bonus

November is a tough month to get new butterflies, unless one visits a clime much warmer than Ohio offers. And while temps were considered cool by Arizona standards, Tucson's weather fluctuated a bit. It was generally 65ish in the daytime- with frost threatening on some nights.

A life butterfly for most Ohioans, the California ( or Arizona) Sister. You'll find it in the Kaufman guide near the Admirals, which includes our Ohio staples the White Admiral (Red-spotted Purple) and the Viceroy. And like the RSPs, the Sisters are likely to be found on the ground sipping sap or reloading nutrients at a pond or mudhole; visits to flowers are occasional, and not their usual fare.

Glimpses of lavender lines make for a lovely under-view of the Arizona Sister, as seen from a flight high up into trees. Oaks, like this Emory Oak, are particular favorites as they are the host plant of the species.
Sorting these southern oaks is new to me, but the lance-shaped leaves, and rigid posture of the leaves suggest Emory Oak in this instance. But, I would be willing to entertain other suggestions... anyone?

At the same shallow stream seen in the first photo, a Mexican Yellow partakes in a bit of puddling. It was a bit far for a great diagnostic photo, but its quarter-size and cut of the wings made it a pretty positive ID.
Thanks to Melody Kehl, expert bird and butterfly guide, for getting me through the day and helping me find so many local rarities I would have otherwise missed. If you are ever birding in Arizona, do give her a call! She knows the best places and has a real ear for birds. Thanks again, Melody!


  1. Nice post CH - just ran into one of these out in the East Bay, San Francisco area. It's a beaut. Stellar Chirps...

  2. Hi Michael!

    Yes, it would be easy to get used to the weather out there and the birds that go with it! We got some great birds in Madera as well, and I'll be blogging those later-

    Best, Cheryl