Oh, Not A Gray Hairstreak

Gray hairstreak Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Jamestown Audubon Center in New York

There it was. Quick thinking, was, it’s a Gray Hairstreak, and although its here at the Jamestown Audubon Center’s lush reserve, I have many good images of Grays. Nevertheless, always aware that unique looking individuals can be fun, I shot, shot, shot.

Here now, Oh Wow! a Gray Hairstreak, Not! It’s a . . . Banded Hairstreak. Deep gray color shows here, the blue marginal patch is bright blue, and the banding on the hind wing resonates, Banded.

Hairstreaks sometimes startle, because we spend most of our time chasing butterflies or staking-up to them while they are nectaring, or while they are on trails or mud puddling. This look typifies many of our Hairstreak finds, males, perched on leaves, 3 feet to 5 feet off of the ground.

Cech & Tudor’s Butterflies of the East Coast surprised me, for they tell, “This is the most common and widespread of our Satyrium hairstreaks.” I have ID’d no more than 3 of them in these 20 years, so, “common” for them is rare for me. This is a forest butterfly, found near oaks, hickories, and walnut trees. I rarely find myself in hickory or walnut forests, so that may play some factor in my infrequent encounters with Satyrium calanus.

Passive when I met him, I am now enthusiastic with this unexpected identification. Good. Very good.


3 thoughts on “Oh, Not A Gray Hairstreak

  1. catching the jewel like hues on these tiny beauties is always a challenge…and you brought it once again! missed by so many- seeking the more dramatic, larger butterflies, am thrilled with your capture of this and description as you will (hopefully) inspire others to take a second or third look at what we so often miss. well done!


  2. What a great commentary and nice surprise. Next year when I think it is just another gray I will look closer and take a shot or two. Though I must admit that even if it is a butterfly very common in my area and I have dozens of shots of the species from over my years of shooting, I always stop and snap some shots of a pristine co-operative subject and occasionally have had a surprise once I was able to study photo closely.
    Photo “collecting” is so much more fun than the old method of netting and and gassing and pinning . Especially now that certain insect populations continue to decrease and ranges get so small that reserves must be provided to help the species survive.


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