C2 (Red over Black), our remaining full-tailed female from the old groups (K6 has been MIA for a few days now), was spotted 4.3 miles west of the ranch gate Friday morning. Bulls shoved things around at the tarp, but most things were relatively unscathed. Horses came traipsing through and left a trail of fantastic poop for butterflies; Nysa Roadside Skipper, Sleepy Orange, Spotted Roadside Skipper, Common Buckeye, Queen and Variegated Fritillary were present!
Saturday was the release of Group 3.
Group 3 has been rough. They fared better than Group 2 at first; everyone was accounted for on Sunday, the day after release. Alas, only H7 and 93 were seen at all on Monday. This leaves 15, 24 and 32 missing. The day of release and the day after, the older birds were really helping the youngsters. If one was on a shrub too far from the tower, the older group would circle it and push it in the direction of the towers. The older group also seemed to repeat this behavior in the evenings when youngsters wanted to roost on the towers (not safe!)
This update comes pretty late because we've been busy; aside from spending a few extra hours trying to hope for the missing Group 3 birds, we've completed phase two of ridding the porch of mites. Also, we've had to make an extra trip to Alpine for supplies since this week will be a scorcher and our water stockpile was rapidly being depleted. So our energy levels and spare time have been pretty precious. In the midst of all of this, I've noticed that my computer is filling up quickly. It doesn't help that I was about 4 months behind in backing up photos before this job started! Between the videos and whopping 5MB photos (old camera took 3MB photos), I'm watching my available memory get sapped at an alarming rate. This calls for an external drive in the next week, lest I start deleting music that I actually *do* listen to (I've already deleted everything I don't!)
Exciting small things:
We're not seeing any millipedes these days, but wind scorpions have been seen regularly for the last week. There's a lovely Black Widow near Tower 2 who has been efficiently wrapping up beetles and harvester ants.