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October Yard Birds-Dragoons Foothills

Yard List = 144 species Scaled Quail, Turkey Vulture, Northern Harrier, Cooper's Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, White-winged Dove, Mourning Dove, Greater Roadrunner, Western Screech-Owl, Great Horned Owl, Common Poorwill, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Anna's Hummingbird, Rufous/Allen's Hummingbird, Gila Woodpecker, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Gray Flycatcher, Say's Phoebe, Western Kingbird, Loggerhead Shrike, Common Raven, Barn Swallow, Rock Wren, Bewick's Wren, House Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Northern Mockingbird, Curve-billed Thrasher, MacGillivray's Warbler, Green-tailed Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Canyon Towhee, Botteri's Sparrow, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Brewer's Sparrow, Clay-colored Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Lark Sparrow, Black-throated Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Pyrrhuloxia, Blue Grosbeak, Lazuli Bunting, Scott's Oriole, House Finch, Lesser Goldfinch, House Sparrow.

October Butterflies–Dragoon Mts

Pipevine Swallowtail, Black Swallowtail, Giant Swallowtail, Checkered White, Southern Dogface, Cloudless Sulphur, Tailed Orange, Sleepy Orange, Dainty Sulphur, Marine BluleWestern Pygmy-Blue, Reakirt's Blue, Palmer's Metalmark, American Snout, Monarch, Queen, Variegated Fritillary, Bordered Patch, Common Buckeye, Painted Lady, White Checkered-Skipper, Orange Skipperling, Arizona Giant-Skipper

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The White Mountains (part 2)

(click on a photo to enlarge)

After walking the Butler Nature Trail, we drove over to the Greer Peaks Resort where there is a small bridge that crosses over the west fork of the Little Colorado River (more like a creek). It was at this small bridge that we hoped to see an American Dipper. We could find no dipper as we watched from the bridge but I did notice there were lots of Mourning Cloaks and Satyr Commas flying around and landing in a nearby willow. Mourning Cloaks uses willow as a host plant, Satyr Commas use  nettles which I did not observe in the area. The commas, however, were having a fine time on that willow!

Satyr Comma (Polygonia satyrus)
Satyr Comma (Polygonia satyrus)

I wandered off to where I saw a white butterfly and found a Margined White (lifer!) somewhat frayed but still recognizable. As I struggled to get a photo, Doug began anxiously calling me to return to the bridge. He’d found the dipper! Unfortunately by the time I got there, it had flown round a bend.

Margined White (Pieris marginalis)
Margined White (Pieris marginalis)

As we walked slowly along the river, patience payed off when the dipper suddenly reappeared and  landed on a rock and let us watch it for about 5  minutes. The lighting was not the best but I was able to get a few decent photos. Our attention was drawn to the dipper’s eye as it blinked and showed us the third eyelid, the “nictitating membrane” which functions like a windshield wiper when the bird is under water. Unlike most shorebirds that feed without putting their whole head underwater, the American Dipper specializes in diving in fast-flowing, often frigid water for underwater insects. It even has a special flap that can cover its nostrils when underwater.

American Dipper (Cinclus mexicanus)
American Dipper (Cinclus mexicanus)

American Dipper (Cinclus mexicanus)

American Dipper (Cinclus mexicanus)
American Dipper revealing its third eyelid

Satisfied with our good luck on finding the dipper, we decided we’d like to spend more time walking along this beautiful river so we drove to the end of the road where we found a nice trail.

West Fork, Little Colorado River
West Fork, Little Colorado River

The wildflowers here attracted many butterfly species, one of them new to me — a Milbert’s Tortoiseshell. What a contrast between the drab underwing view and the stunning top view.

Milbert's Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis milberti)
Milbert’s Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis milberti)

Mylitta Crescent (Phyciodes mylitta)
Mylitta Crescent (Phyciodes mylitta)

Weidemeyer's Admiral (Limenitis weidmeyerii)
Weidemeyer’s Admiral (Limenitis weidmeyerii)

Russet Skipperling (Piruna pyrus)
Russet Skipperling (Piruna pyrus)

Painted Crescent (Phyciodes picta)
Painted Crescent (Phyciodes picta)

Tawny-edged Skipper (Polites themistocles)
Tawny-edged Skipper (Polites themistocles)

On our way home from this short three day adventure, we decided to take the Green’s Peak Road (117) about 15 miles west of Springerville. Despite few nectar sources and increasing wind we found some interesting butterflies in the grasslands, such as Northern Cloudywing, Melissa Blue and Pahaska Skipper.

Pahaska Skipper (Hesperia pahaska)
Pahaska Skipper (Hesperia pahaska)

As we ascended into the pines, new species appeared.

Common Ringlet (Coenonympha tullia)
Common Ringlet (Coenonympha tullia)

Draco Skipper (Polites draco)
Draco Skipper (Polites draco) lifer!

It’s always nice to end a day with a “lifer!”

Published by Arlene Ripley on July 6th, 2013 Tagged Arizona, Birds, Butterflies, Nature, Wanderings

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