My birding and butterfly-ing time has been limited recently, so I made it priority to get out into the foothills during yesterday’s pleasant weather before spring’s last (?) wind and snow hit the area. Joe and I met up to find some Sandia Hairstreaks in Embudito Canyon.
Sandia Hairstreak in Embudito Canyon. By Joe Schelling.
I coaxed one on to my hand. By Joe Schelling.
We found about half a dozen Sandia Hairstreaks, but our luck on this trip filled in the rest of the Irish flag with the white and orange of a “Sara” Orangetip!
Why the quotes? The taxonomy of the western orangetips is confusing. All populations were once considered one variable species, but close attention to regional variation shows distinct groups. The ranges of each group aren’t well delineated.
Fantastic looking butterfly!
Other butterflies included a skipper of some kind, a Mourning Cloak, and a couple dozen Painted Ladies. This species is undergoing a big flight in the southwest, with up to 10s of thousands seen in Mexico. Fewer are here in New Mexico, but their numbers are on the rise.