A “Not So Common” Wood Nymph

Common Wood Nymph Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Clay Pond, NY

Years ago, at Raystown Lake in Central Pennsylvania, I saw Common Wood Nymph butterflies whose blue centered eye-spots dazzled me. I worked that habitat for a single day, and never forgot how those eye-spots evoked memories of fine gems, that I’d seen in Christies’, Sotheby’s and Dole’s magnificent jewelry auction galleries in New York.

Since then, I’ve sought to find comparable Common Wood Nymphs. Little success there.

This year I visited Clay Pond, a New York State conserved wetland. Not the New York metropolitan area that I came to have a love/hate relationship with, but Western New York, green and pristine. High grasses surrounded the Pond, and there were lots of butterflies. Seeing them was difficult, because their flights were short, quickly descending down into the tightly set grasses and sedges.

This one showed itself, then went into the above, fly up, descend to hide, flee my approach through the grass (which must have been easily detected). After repeated escapes from me, it descended, and stayed, hiding and resting.

As I closed in, Bazoom! It was gorgeous. Those eye-spots, baby blue, and circled by light orange rings, all against a background of Stetson hat chocolate brown. It shot, shot,shot. Waited for my slides to be returned from Dwayne’s Photo, and Yippee Eye Ay, Yippee Eye Oh!! A satyr image, Good enough to share.


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