Saturday, 18 March 2017

March 18 National Butterfly Center in Mission

We tried to go to Quinta Mazatlan this morning but there was a big event going on and hundreds of people so we bailed. There's no way the birding would have been any good with all those people milling around. We can pop in there tomorrow or just skip it altogether. We quickly changed our plans and drove down to the National Butterfly Center in Mission.
The water feature by the parking lot is a lovely, cool oasis inhabited by a red-eared slider turtle and some water lilies.

Along the trail, there are many suspended logs with 'butterfly brew' smeared into the grooves cut in them.  The butterflies love to feed on this sugary substance. Here you can see the thin yellow 'tongue'. I was unable to get a shot of this butterfly with the wings open but when I get back to my butterfly book, I'll figure out what kind it was. The right wing looks a little damaged.
This butterfly looks really drab.

 Then voila! A flash of blue - it's a Mexican bluewing.
In the back corner of the wooded area is a nice, feeding area with a water pipe trickling onto a big rock. All kinds of critters use this area.
In flew a curve-billed thrasher.

We got to see a clay-coloured robin a couple of times while we were sitting there.
The red squirrels like to drink right from the pipe.

Golden-fronted woodpecker
Another favourite bird of mine is the Altamira oriole.
A peanut butter mixture had been smeared onto logs all around the feeding area. It guaranteed that the Altamira oriole would pay the area a visit.

Altamira oriole - back view

This little fellow is a cotton rat. There were about a half a dozen of them. They make a great meal for the owls and raptors in the area.
Green jays also frequent the area.
Kiskadees also like the peanut butter mixture.

The female cardinal really had her crest up.
 This was the second appearance of the clay-coloured robin.

I was excited to see this  Northern Bobwhite.
I thought it was a life bird for me but when I checked my list, apparently I'd seen one before.
On the way back to the car we spotted a couple more butterflies that I will need to identify when I get back to the condo.
Texas Crescent southwest variant
This one was only about an inch wide. I think it's a red admiral.
This is Spike, the resident African Spurred Tortoise. He is about 15 years old and is about 2 1/2 ft. long. He came right over thinking we had food for him. Unfortunately we didn't.
We really don't know enough about butterflies nor do our cameras lend themselves to photographing them to fully appreciate the butterfly centre, however the birding is great and we'll probably make a point to come back here the next time we're in the area.

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