Saturday, November 18, 2017

Butterlies, Eagles, and more

Late this summer and earlier this fall their was an unusual massive migration of painted lady butterflies along the front range.  In fact, one day the Denver Post and several of the tv stations had stories about a strange image on local weather radar.  Turns out it was a cloud of painted ladies.  I first noticed them in numbers in late summer when the butterfly bush blossomed.  There are always a few painted ladies feeding on it, but this year there would be maybe fifty at a time, plus the usual big yellow swallowtail that's always floating around in the backyard.  On our walks down thru the field above the lake there's a lot of rabbit brush that blooms early in the fall. For several days there were just clouds of the butterflies feeding on the yellow flowers - thousands of them.  And in the backyard there was a constant stream of the insects passing thru.  It was amazing.  I never got a picture that really told the story of just how many of them there were.

Painted lady on rabbit brush near Lake Arbor in Arvada, CO. Oct. 2017.

More painted ladies on rabbit brush.  Every bush had 30 or 40 butterlies feeding. 

Saw this butterfly down in Brown's Canyon along the Arkansas in Sept.  I'm not very good on butterflies, but I think it's either a metalmark or fritillary.  Many varieties of each. 

Pretty sure this is a mourning cloak.  I have seen them more colorful.  Also down in Brown's Canyon in Sept. 

Saw a few other butterflies this summer while camping this summer.  Just seemed like a good year for butterflies.

Rocky I went camping down at Lake Pueblo in late October.  It was very warm and nice.  Woke up one morning to the serenade of a mockingbird.  I always enjoy hearing them sing down there.  Growing in Memphis, sometimes in the spring the mockingbirds would sing all night long.  With the windows open before air-conditioning, you could enjoy their serenade all night long.

Mockingbird at sun-up at Lake Pueblo State Park, Pueblo, CO., Oct. 2017.

Same bird in same spot a few minutes later.  It had flown off but came back to the same perch.

Video of mockingbird singing.  I hope the video will play on your machine.  

Just last week Rocky and I went out to Jackson Lake on the plains about 65 miles east of Denver for one night.  Along the south shore of the lake there were seven bald eagles, mostly 2nd or third year birds.  Only saw one adult, but it was a long ways off.  Couldn't get a good pic.

Bald eagle, Jackson Lake State Park, near Orchard, CO., Nov. 2017.

Another bald eagle at Jackson Lake. 

Down at the lake this time of year, it's interesting to watch the snow geese and unusual hybrid that come in with the huge flocks of white cheeked geese.  Guess they get mixed up in the mass migrations south.  Seen a couple of snow geese for sure, and a couple of what look to be like snow hybrids, but they are pretty far out in the lake to be sure.  The other day I saw this white bodied goose that had the head of a white cheek.  Not sure if it's a hybrid or  it it's leucistic, where some of the feathers have no pigmentation.  I hear there are some brants and greater white-fronted geese around town, but I haven't seen any yet.  I just find it intriguing how different species get mixed up in migration and cross breed as well.

Either a white cheek/snow goose or Ross's goose hybrid or leucistic white cheek at Lake Arbor, Arvada, CO.,  Nov. 2017.

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