October brings a wave of migrants through the Rio Grande Valley of southern New Mexico. The mornings are crisp and the insects of summer are making their final flings before the first frost killes many of them. Also the fall composites are in full bloom and a recent "heavy" rain of about 25 mm (1 inch) - one of only a few above a half inch this year - has produced a flush of yellow flowers along the west rim of the valley.
Buprestid Beetles (Acmaeodera paradisjuncta Knull) on a blooming yellow composite at the Bosque.
Water is low and the river is now a trickle. The Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park near the old town of Mesilla is slowly drying up, with the pond a mud flat on which an American Bittern made an appearance. Unfortunately I did not see it on my latest visit, but I did see several flocks of migrating Sandhill Cranes (Grus canadensis) overhead! White-crowned Sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys) were fairly common and I did get a fairly good photo of a female Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus).
Mesilla Valley Bosque pond in early October.
Mesilla Valley Bosque pond in mid-October.
Female Northern Harrier above the Bosque.
To a large degree I went to the Bosque to use my new Nikon 105 mm macro, so I was interested in smaller critters. These I found in good numbers on the blooming Seep Willow, Baccharis salicifolia. Butterflies, including Painted Ladies, American Snout Butterflies, Queens, as well as glimpses of skippers, sulfurs, and blues, joined the numerious honeybees at the feast.
Queen Butterfly and Honey Bees on Seep Willow blooms.