Hairstreaks Teach . . . Respect

Gray Hairstreak butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek Park, PA, 9/21/06

They’ve been good to me, these Yeats have. Hairstreaks? So, so many. Striped hairstreak was my first, seen in Rector, Pennsylvania at Powdermill Reserve (University of Pittsburgh’s aviary research station). Grays, Banded, Coral, White ‘M,’ Red-banded and Acadian. That’s what I met by the end of 2016.

2017 nicely expanded my Hairstreak list: Edwards hairstreak (Ohio), Clytie Ministreak (National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas), Tropical Greenstreak (at ‘The Wall’ in Mission, Texas), Juniper hairstreak (Panola Mountain State Park, Georgia), Dusky-blue Groundstreak (National Butterfly Center) and Gold-bordered hairstreak (‘The Wall).

2018 is young still. Oh, how I look forward to combing Ohio, Texas, Georgia and Nevada for hairstreaks and more. Dave enabled me to reach out to Georgia’s DNR folks, and they gave me a strong lead for finding Hessel’s hairstreaks in April. I wish.

That long said, I had to stop and well, admire this image of mine of a very shmeksy! and fresh Gray hairstreak. Now that I am in the big leagues of hairstreak chasers, what’s a fresh, gorgeous Gray mean to me?

Truth be told, more than you’d like, most hairstreaks are not fresh, and sport wings with heavy scale loss that cause dulling of color. So down in the Rio Grande Valley, late December 2017, folks came speeding over when a rare hairstreak was found at ‘The Wall.’ I was there early, and some of them were rare, for sure, but long in the tooth, that is, kind of worn-looking.

Grays, like ours here, are usually seen in good color, fresh, perky and just pookies! They pose, prance on a flowerhead, and just demand that I shoot my Fuji Velvia, not hold back.

Rare, uncommon, OMG! hairstreaks excite, but an excellent Gray hairstreak still demands stop, look and shoot.

Jeff