The Universal Subject Butterfly

Gray-spotted skipper butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh

The place to be on a July 6th morning. The Outdoor Gardens of the Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh. Sun above, minimal wind and flowers abloom everywhere. Few folks about yet, except for a lone woman sitting on the benches under the low tree, across from the large perrenial bed, and the couple strolling the garden paths, no doubt taking mental notes, should we try this or this in our garden next Spring?

Like Pyle, and Cech and Kauffman, I’m working the garden paths, seeing what’s come to bloom and thinking . . . now that the flower buds have opened, what butterflies may come to enjoy the sweet nectars now pumping.

Reaching a turn in the path, there stood this yummy cultivar. Clair?

I positioned myself and awaited the Monarch. Or the Eastern tiger swallowtail. Or the Eastern black swallowtail. Or dare to dream, the errant Milbert’s, still flying this first week of July.

Nothing, nothing, nothing . . . then action. Who? This Silver-spotted skipper (Epargyreus clarus) the universal opportunist across much of the United States.

Good, Pop! pop! Pop! pop! Flash your “Bold, irregular white patch” (Cech and Tudor, 2005). A real butterfly not shy to sip at a beckoning bloom.


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