Which butterfly’s name do I usually flub? This one. The Variegated Fritillary butterfly. Not sure why the name doesn’t stick in my brain. I remember lots of stuff, going way back to Brooklyn in the ’50’s. We had a street loaded with kids my age. I once counted how many boys on East 58th Street were between 1.5 years order than me and 1.5 years younger than me. 40. For that reason it was easy to get a game of punchball going, or defend East 58th from marauding kids from other streets. I remember their names, mostly, still.
When this butterfly flies in, I usually fumble around in my brain for the word “Variegated.” Fritillary? That’s easy, but Variegated fritillary? It gets embarrassing when someone’s around, and turns to me for an ID. I’ll usually respond with, “was that [name a famous, attractive actress] who just biked past us?” Then up pops that word on my lips, ‘Variegated.’
Found from Massachusetts to Oklahoma, its only rarely seen in the U.S. northwest.
When it’s fresh, like this one at Black Water National Wildlife Refuge in Madison, Maryland, it’s an eyeful.
The juice is flowing for sure. Sampling the many new shares on the internet, they of fresh, exquisite, purposeful butterflies, brings us to these months that we have so waited for in the United States. We’re now in the latter half of Spring 2018. Each and every trip into the yard, to a State Park, Wildlife Management Area, National Wildlife Refuge or Monument . . . holds the promise of exquisite beauty, reunion with your favorite butterfly species and, the potential to see NEW. New for the year, new for the county, new for the state, and, as in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, new for the United States!!
Our Zebra Heliconian butterfly here was at the Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat I in Eatonton, Georgia. May 2017.
I study this beaut, on strong Tithonia (Mexican Sunflower) and Thank G-d that I am among the few, the fortunate, who head out to see such magnificent creatures.
What did I learn here? A thousand miles of travel, to the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, and I was rippin’ to meet new butterflies. Did I? If you are a friend of wingedbeauty.com, you know we did! So many new ones that I’ve shared here, and just about an equal number of butterflies that refused to stick around, leaving me without images of them.
So this instant riveted me. Those orange spots were as vividly red and the black spots within them were starkly black. The head had a smart orange cap, as did the tips of the antennae. I did have this recurring thought that she looked an awful lot like a Gray hairstreak.
When my slides were returned from Dwayne’s Photo in Parsons, Kansas my intuition was confirmed, she was a Gray Hairstreak butterfly, flying in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas.
How can it be that I travel so far from home, and see the same beautiful Gray female that I might see back home? Answer: Grays are found in all, all of the 48 mainland states of the United States. Kudos to the Gray.
I saw one, during those days in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, in Texas. Here it is. I look at it, and Hmmm, those wings tips, the head, couldn’t I have done better?
Then, I flip open my A Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America (Glassberg, 2017) and a wry smile grows at the corners of my mouth. Why?
This White-Patched Skipper, a spreadwing skipper butterfly, is “U” for uncommon – “R” for rare! So there it is. I was fortunate to finally visit the National Butterfly Center during the last week of December 2017, and for a brief moment, I found this uncommon-rare skipper butterfly, ’til he sped away, into the surrounding botany. He look just fine, and I was more than thrilled to have seen this very hard to find butterfly, a duskywing relation.
Every day, new, new. I can’t say that I was getting used to that mini-jolt, when after decades of seeking, you come upon a butterfly you’ve never seen before.
This Large Orange Sulphur butterfly was taking a brief break from what male sulphurs do (fly continuously, until they find a female, even if that takes hours to do).
We were in the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, some less than 2 miles from Mexico.
Did I also meet my first Orange-Barred Sulphur that Texas week? No, but I remember that day at Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania, when I have almost no doubt that I startled a vagrant Orange-Barred Sulphur on a trail I followed one morning, in, 2005 or 2006.