Gold Rush Butterfly

Gold-bordered hairstreak butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at 'The Wall,' Mission, Texas

I was the ‘new kid’ at the ‘Wall’ that today. It seems that we were at the National Butterfly Center, seeing a paucity of butterflies, when a blanket alert was received, that a very, very, very special butterfly was spotted nearby, at the ‘Wall.’ To the Budget Rental car we rushed, and drove the mile or so to the ‘Wall.’

Background is called for here. There is such an abundance of amazing butterflies in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, such that hundreds, maybe thousands of folks like you or I has moved here over these decades, and made the LRGValley their home. Several developments have been built, especially for such butterfly fans. One of these developments, Re________ (I somehow did not memorize that comfortable name) shrewdly landscaped with butterfly friendly natives, shrubs and trees. The development is walled, all around. The entrance to the development was very wisely planted with excellent choices for nectar craving butterflies. This entrance is locally known by hundreds as ‘The Wall.’

We rushed to the Wall, parked, and joined several people encircling a butterfly that one gentlemen, Mike, well known here, said he had not seen here since 1968!

As we watched this Gold-Bordered Hairstreak, more and more cars arrived, and the circle grew.

The backstory? I shoot Macro- and all the rest were armed with long lenses. They stood their customary 10 feet away from the tiny miracle of a find. Me? 18 inches would have been ideal, but I didn’t want to make that approach, for if it I caused this uber rare butterfly to bolt, there’s no knowing what that crowd would have done to me.

I made my approach, very low to not block anyone’s view. I carefully retreated after. Cars kept arriving, with new and excited Lepidopterists. Minutes later, the Gold-bordered Hairstreak was still there, moving about the bloom, leisurely. I decided to go in with my low approach one more time. As I did, I asked the Ab-ve to please keep the sweetie in place, because at this point in time, the Kid from Brooklyn can no longer take on 10 at once! G-d listened, and I a second time slowly stepped back.

The postscript? I was told that my actions disappointed those there, and those who were on their way to see this miracle at ‘The Wall.’

Me? I really made an effort to come in low and slow, to not approach as I normally would, and to bring home an image of a butterfly seen in the USA once or twice every 2 decades, or less. I had you in mind, honest.

(This episode did pique the Joe Pesci in me, more than a tad.)