I’m finally there. 150 miles down from Eatonton, Georgia (home of the Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch), and add to that the 700 miles drive from Pittsburgh. My first ever trip to meet Florida’s butterflies. I’m in the Florida Panhandle, in Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, thanks to NABA’s very pin-point article, under the heading, Destinations.
Now I own quite a few butterfly field guides, and my love affair with U.S. Satyrs has simmered for some time now. If I could score what my goals for this trip were, the top 3 would include: capture images of southern Satyrs that are as good as or more satisfying than those in my field guides. I think I might have been a little cocky, on that score, truth be told.
Well, it was very hot, and very humid. I was acutely sensitive to this strange habitat that was new to me, the Florida swamp. It was not Brooklyn. There might be an alligator, or endangered crocodile. I had been warned (since my work has me stepping into the unknown alot) of snakes new and familiar, and some kinds of ants that are impolite, and chiggers and mosquitoes with OMG! micronaughties. Why not feral dogs and hogs? Well yes, it sort of was my old Brooklyn in the sense that you should always know who is around you, and keep your eyes open.
I met several Georgia Satyrs on the “Old Grade” trail. They flew low, hugged the trail edge. Whenever I made my macro- approach, they twitched and signaled that any millisecond, if I move even a teensy 1/100 inch, they would flee. In the meantime, the sweat on my head was threatening to flow over the top of my Dick’s headband, and further fog my glasses. I just laughed, because it was so ridiculous.
I was anxious to achieve high quality images of a butterfly I had Never seen before, the Georgia Satyr (Neonympha areolata). I was on my stomach (ticks? ants?), threatened by sweat, with my glasses fogged. There I was, thinking about You and wanting to share really fine images with my readers.
Here we see one of those Georgia Satyrs, a very shy butterfly. They appear to be loaded with inertia until the moment they decide it’s time to rocket away into the swamp. And I Loved It! Thank You G-d, from a Florida swamp. No drums. No trumpets blaring anew, and never so beautiful an image of a Georgia butterfly.