Butterflies and Moths of Yavapai County, Arizona

My Butterfly and Moth Checklist, Yavapai County, Arizona is complete. The book includes species lists from the Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA) website with minor adjustments from the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD). Conservation ranks are from the AZGFD website. All the species names link to photos and descriptions on the BAMONA website.

Yavapai County covers a large, diverse region in central Arizona. It includes mountains with mixed coniferous forests, foothills with evergreen woodlands and shrublands, and wide valleys with desert grasslands. My place is on the edge of a small riparian forest beside the Agua Fria River in Lonesome Valley. The site is home to many butterflies, moths, and other wildlife. The discussion and photographs in the book focus on this area.

The book has only 30 pages. I might have it printed for my use, but I don’t expect to offer it for sale. Since it has color pictures, it will be expensive to print (around $12). The PDF version of the book is free.  Look the PDF over and let me know if you want a printed copy. If there are several requests, I’ll have it formatted and printed.

The PDF has some advantages over a print copy. It has fillable fields and links to species descriptions and photographs. Used on a tablet, it will serve as a notebook and reference for field use.

Specialists reviewed the species lists, but I proofed the introduction myself, never a good idea, so there might be an error or two.  Please add a comment or send an email if you find a mistake (thank you!).

We have Monarch Caterpillars!

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillars

I’ve been checking the little patches of Narrowleaf Milkweed around my place several times a day and this afternoon found two caterpillars!  I hope these are the first of many more.  Here they are:
















This was a great day for wildlife at Coldwater Farm.  Today, with expert help from Felipe Guerrero, I saw a Southwest Willow Flycatcher, a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and a Gray Hawk along with lots of more common species.  The Cuckoo was a youngster, indicating that at least one nesting pair raised at least one chick this year.  The Cuckoo makes a very distinct call, and thanks to Felipe, I learned it and realized I’ve heard it around the place for years.  I will do everything I can now to increase the protection for this habitat for these rare birds.  We got photos.  Felipe’s are best and I’ll see if I can post them later.

Where Have All the Goldfinches Gone?

Lesser Goldfinches (Spinus psaltria) Decline

1-B0000254These fussy little birds have been common around my Lesser Goldfinchhouse for years.  I feed them thistle seeds, let Barnyard Grass (usually considered a weed) grow in patches, and I plant lots of native sunflowers. Through summer the finches switch between pecking thistle-seeds and nibbling sunflower leaves, and later they add Barnyard Grass and sunflower seeds. Dozens of birds were always present most of the year, but they have almost disappeared over the past two years.

Photo above:  (December, 2004) I fed goldfinches with this thistle seed feeder (on the left) for several years, but it was so hard to clean I switched to a bag made by my friend Sheila.

In winter the five-pound bag of thistle seeds would last three days.

In winter the birds would empty a five-pound bag of thistle seeds in three days (March, 2007)

Last year (2014), birds visited the thistle bag, but they never emptied it. They pecked only a few sunflower leaves.  No birds came during fall and winter.  This year (2015), I saw goldfinches on the thistle bag only once, and they pecked no leaves.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department ranks Lesser Goldfinches as “common, widespread, and abundant.”  However, this might be changing.  The birds prefer disturbed weedy areas, but the deluge of herbicides sprayed on pastures, crops, yards, and roadsides has wiped out much of this habitat.  Like Monarch Butterflies, the Goldfinches may turn out to be unintended victims of Monsanto’s war on nature.

The editor of my hometown newsletter agreed to run a short note asking if anyone else had noticed a Lesser Goldfinch decline.  The town staff must have considered the note inappropriate.  They removed it, leaving an empty space in its place.

I washed the thistle-seed bag and filled it with fresh seeds. I hope the Goldfinches return and fill the empty spaces on my feeders and sunflowers.

If you have noticed changes in your goldfinch population, please add a comment.

Deforestation in Mexico butterfly reserve more than triples

In this Jan. 4, 2015 file photo, a kaleidoscope of Monarch butterflies hang from a tree branch, in the Piedra Herrada sanctuary, near Valle de Bravo, Mexico. Illegal logging has almost tripled in the monarch butterfly’s wintering grounds in …more.

“Illegal logging more than tripled in the monarch butterfly’s wintering grounds In central Mexico, reversing several years of steady improvements, investigators announced Tuesday.

“Almost all of the loss occurred in just one rural hamlet in the state of Michoacan. Loggers cut down 47 acres (19 hectares) of trees in San Felipe de los Alzati since last year’s gathering of butterflies. A total of 52 acres (21 hectares) of forest in the reserve were lost overall, including losses due to drought or pests.”

That’s the highest figure since 2009, well above the 20 acres (8 hectares) lost in 2014, according to the announcement by the World Wildlife fund and the Institute of Biology of Mexico’s National Autonomous University. The 2014 loss was about 12 acres (5 hectares) due to logging and 8 acres (3 hectares) to drought.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: phys.org