A Charming Little Yellow Butterfly in Southeastern Mississippi

Mimosa Yellow Butterfly at Johnson State Park, MS

It’s August in southeastern Mississippi. Paul B. Johnson State Park near Lumberton was very forthcoming with beautiful butterflies that I’d never seen before. We had driven down from Pittsburgh to meet our new Black Russian pup, Petra, and we budgeted some time for me to photograph.

The Eurema lisa butterfly is a little charmer, flittering along inches above the ground. This one stopped briefly, and cooperated as we set-up to photograph her.

On this trip I happened on my first Goatweed Leafwing. I was so startled to see it resting on a tree trunk so, so close to me–that I briefly forgot to go through my motions. It flew off! Oh well.

One of my field guides reports that Little Yellows are found regularly in a corner of my native Brooklyn. Hmmmm. I’ve never seen one there.


With Oversized Abdomens and Small Wings Tawny Silver-Line Butterflies Have a Different Body Plan

Tawny Silver-Line Butterfly at Mt. Hermon, Israel

These Tawny silver-Line butterflies are cavorting at the top of Israel’s Mt. Hermon. At their own peril they disregarded my approach, even when I was 15″ from them, shooting with my macro-lens. As with hairstreaks, they are tailed. The silver-line shimmers in the sunlight.

Found at high elevations in central and northern Israel, these Apharitis acamas were photographed in June 2008. June 2013 would have been another opportunity to meet their progeny, but conflagration and savagery in Syria, down at the north face of Hermon, necessitated that the mountain was off limits.

Their body plan is quite different from other butterflies, with their oversized abdomens and seemingly smallish wings. As you admire them and wonder how they can fly, poof! they fly away, effortlessly. Nice engineering.


You Can Never Predict What You’ll See When Photographing Butterflies

Leonard's Skipper Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park

It was September 2006 and I got an education that morning. I was questioning whether it was worthwhile going out that morning to photograph. I’d already seen all the butterflies of Raccoon Creek State Park, hadn’t I? It was September. September! It must be too late in the season to spot anything to get excited over.

Moving through a plowed trail in Nichol Field, a butterfly suddenly flew in from my right and descended onto the cut grass some 20 feet ahead. I did not recognize the flight as anything I was familiar with.

I made a nice, cautious approach and OMG! Something new and different! September! and a butterfly I had never seen before. The spots and fields in its wings were bright yellow. Bright yellow. They were set against a beautiful deep chocolate brown base color. Hesperia leonardus is the last of the skipper butterflies to appear.

She remained motionless for many minutes, I shot away, exposing at least 40 images. This image was a good one.

So here’s what I learned: Avoid becoming jaded and remember that when photographing butterflies you can never predict what you’ll see.


Banded Hairstreak Butterfly at the Edge of a Deciduous Forest

Banded Hairstreak Butterfly at Raccoon Creek State Park

Meeting Hairstreaks is always a pleasure, and rarely can be anticipated. On July 7th we had this chance encounter at Raccoon Creek State Park. Satyrium calanus was resting on a shrub leaf at the edge of a mixed, deciduous forest. Most of its time is spent feeding high up near the treetops.

I don’t remember seeing them nectaring , although it is reported that they do so on milkweed and dogbane. It’s fun to locate a hairstreak! If your mind was somewhere else while you were walking that trail, your brain immediately goes into overdrive! Am I looking at (remember they are very small) a Striped, a Hickory, a Banded, a Gray, an Oak, or an Acadian?

Found from Florida north to Canada, but not widely found, Hairstreaks contribute to making butterfly identification the challenge that it is.


American Copper Butterfly Perched on Orange Hawkweed

American Copper Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park. Jeff blogs about the art and science of butterflies at http://www.wingedbeauty.com

Eye candy. Our American Copper butterfly is perched on Orange Hawkweed (Hieracium aurantiacum) in the late morning at Raccoon Creek State Park in western Pennsylvania.

Awash with oranges and yellow, this image soothes, as watching a well organized fish tank soothes.

America has been so accepting of countless immigrants and both the butterfly and the wildflower may have been introduced centuries ago.

Examine our other posts of American Coppers (Lycaena phlaes). There is something about them that evokes such pleasant, calming, and positive thought.