Sunday, August 5, 2018

Chasing the Indigo Bunting: Bees, moths, and butterflies

The reports of a rare Indigo Bunting had been on the local bird list for a week. An atypical patch of white feathers on the belly, however, prompted a spirited discussion causing some to use the dreaded h-word. That's right--hybrid. Others disagreed. Well, for good measure, someone went out and found a no-doubt-about-it, honest-to-goodness, all-blue Indigo Bunting only a quarter of mile farther down the trail.

So, when another weekend rolled around and they were still being reported, I made my plans to visit Paso Picacho Campground in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.

Flowers were in bloom and accompanied by pollinators. So I took several photos of these flying insects. I'm not very practiced at identification of butterflies, not to mention moths and bees. But I've done my best. Let me know if I'm off.

I start off with a rather large, shiny black bee on a flowering shrub at the parking lot.

black bee
This is one large bee! Do you see the three tiny ants on the flowers?
Down the trail a ways I encountered a couple of Park workers out with their cameras. They were photographing hummingbird moths. I don't see them. Wait! That little thing? The ones I've noted in the past were almost 3 inches long, not one inch. No one would mistake these for hummingbirds!

Hummingbird moth
These hummingbird moths were quite small at barely an inch in length. I think the bee was bigger.
Oh, by the way. The plant above with the hummingbird moth is Poodle Dog Bush. Many people have reactions to this plant similar or worse than poison oak. These dense bushes were 5 feet high and equally broad.

Funeral Duskywing
Funeral Duskywing
California Sister
California Sister
California Sister
Acmon Blue
Acmon Blue
I used this website to help identify the butterflies: Butterflies and Moths of North America.

Oh, I actually did find the all-blue Indigo Bunting. It was singing away in the oaks. My documentation photo is not all that good. But it is my first Indigo Bunting in California.

Indigo Bunting

1 comment:

  1. Glad you found the bunting and got the nice photo! We have Indigo Buntings but don't recognize some of those nice butterflies!


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