Journal archives for October 2016

08 October, 2016

2016 Texas Pollinator BioBlitz

I'm collecting all my observations for the 2016 Texas Pollinators Bioblitz in this journal entry. Here's the project:

Saturday Oct 8

The first day I participated by spending a couple hours in a big patch of Maximilian Sunflowers on Lake Creek Trail in my northwest Austin neighborhood. I think my favorite pollinator was a White-striped Longtail butterfly that allowed me to get some pretty good shots. Here's one:

White-striped Longtail on Maximilian Sunflower - 3

Hanging around for that long in the patch of sunflowers was rewarding. When I first arrived at around 9:45 AM it was cool enough that not many insects were active, and I got to experience them appearing and becoming widespread as the temperature warmed up. It was also nice to go out with a different purpose than usual. I was concentrating on finding pollinators. And I found a few interesting ones that I hope to get help identifying. Like this small bee, which does not appear to be a European Honeybee:

Bee on Maximilian Sunflower - 3

Hopefully I'll have time to find a few more pollinators tomorrow!

Posted on 08 October, 2016 21:42 by mikaelb mikaelb | 21 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

16 October, 2016

Nalle Bunny Run Group Walk 2016-10-15

Yesterday morning four folks joined me for the monthly group walk on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve. These are general nature observation walks, but usually we concentrate on finding birds more than anything else because birds are what I know best. Yesterday instead we focused on pollinators and the plants they were on, as part of TPWD's 2016 Texas Pollinator Bioblitz. Attached are our resulting plant and pollinator observations.

When you think of pollinators, butterflies and bees come to mind. But there are many others, including many flies, hemipterans, wasps, and more. In addition to the european Honey Bees we have many species of native bees. My favorite yesterday was this tiny bee covered in white hair with blue eyes. I hope someone on iNaturalist will help me identify it!

Native Bee on Prairie False Foxglove (Agalinis heterophylla)

The most common butterfly of the morning was the white and orange Common Mestra. We saw a hundred at least! This has been a very successful year for this species, maybe because their inconspicuous host plant, Noseburn, is also doing very well this year. Here's a photo of one on its host plant:
Common Mestra on Noseburn

Frostweed was the most common flowering plant, and that's where we found the most pollinators. Here's a Queen butterfly on a large patch:
Queen on Frostweed

You might notice that the Queen butterfly above looks very similar to a Monarch butterfly. We found both yesterday, but we found more Queens than Monarchs. I only got one photograph of a Monarch, also on Frostweed:
Monarch on Frostweed

The most exciting butterfly observation was of a Zebra Heliconian that just briefly flew by us. Unfortunately I wasn't able to photograph it.

Here are a few pollinators that were not bees or butterflies. See the same photos on the attached observations to see what they are.

Beetle Pollinator

Bee Fly on Bitterweed (Helenium amarum)

Bug on Frostweed

Black and orange Wasp on Frostweed

Here's our complete bird list.
And here are a few more photos on Flickr.

Special thanks to @billdodd for helping us identify plants, and for finding the tiny patch of Alabama Lipfern below!

Posted on 16 October, 2016 19:00 by mikaelb mikaelb | 39 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment