Tropical Greenstreak in the Lower Rio Grande Valley

Tropical Greenstreak butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at 'The Wall,' Mission, TX

Again there was excitement in the air, at the ‘Wall’ that forms the entrance to Retama Village in Mission, Texas. An uncommon butterfly, a hairstreak, was nectaring.

Many of you saw the crowd that surrounded this Tropical Greenstreak, in an earlier recent post. Some whispered that even though it was not 100% fresh, it was exciting to finally see one.

This Gossamerwing was very tiny. Once again I went in low and close with a Macro lens and risked who knows what? This Tropical Greenstreak did not flee while I was close to it. It stayed put, and I didn’t have to face the “Lords of Flatbush’s” wrath.

It can be dangerous shooting photographs in a crowd.

Two miles from Mexico, in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Whoda thunk it?

Jeff

Uncommon Designation for the Malachite

Malachite butterfly (4) photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

So I’m in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, and it’s Christmas week in Texas. We’re at the National Butterfly Center near the border wall in Mission Texas. Me? It’s my first time there, and I am as Happy! as a duck.

We’re seeing lots and lots of butterflies. The morning temperatures range from the mid-70’s up to the high-80’s. The last week in December and we’re enjoying temps in the low to high -80’s. Wow!

This Malachite Butterfly (that’s it’s recognized name, ‘Malachite’) was spotted, and the handful of us nearby moved briskly to have a look. It was resting on this leaf on a trail that wound its way across a depression in the land, a kind of heavily vegetative crevice.

I shot some photographs, and returned minutes later to score looks at its ventral wing surface.

Jeffrey Glassberg’s Swift Guide to Butterflies (Princeton University Press, 2nd Edition, 2017) has the Malachite as “U” for Uncommon in south Texas. Big smile here. I visited the Lower rio Grande Valley for the first time in my rich life, and meet a fine, fresh “U” Malachite. Thank Y-u.

Jeff

Vesta Crescent Butterfly in Mission Texas

Crescent butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

All those years of enjoying the antics of Pearl Crescents, and that handful of Phaon Crescents that introduced themselves to me in Mississippi, Georgia and Florida didn’t prepare me for this, my first meet-up with a Vesta Crescent.

She was taking a break in the National Butterfly Center, in Mission, Texas near the border wall. Phaon? Pearl? a gentle mix of closely related Crescents?

I was more than pleased to much later discover that she was a Vesta Crescent. Places that Vesta butterflies call home are in Texas, Oklahoma and Mexico.

Another new butterfly for Jeff, and ongoing acknowledgement that the Cr-ator has been very busy.

Jeff

Rare Red Rim Butterfly? Yes!

Red-rim butterfly on fallen branch photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

“R” according to Jeffrey Glassberg’s A Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America (Princeton University Press, 2017). Rarely seen in the United States. December 2017, and there we were in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Mission, Texas near the border wall. We were working a trail in the National Butterfly Center, and I think it was John who spotted it on a bait log (banana and beer mashed and ‘painted’ on a log suspended inches above the ground). A Red Rim Butterfly (Biblis hyperia).

It was spectacular. The upper surface was jet. black, and that band of rich red across the hindwings jumped out at you, it did. It tolerated a few shutter clicks, and then flew to this nearby tree. I continued shooting it, even with my Macro- lens at considerable disadvantage.

I finally make it to this southern tip of Texas, now me in my majority, and I make the acquaintance of this Red Rim, and that Erato Heliconian and Tropical Greenstreaks and Mexican Fritillaries and that regal Malachite.

My internal debate, should I share this image, was brief, for most of us cannot find a Red Rim in our image bank, and this is one, a slight bit of eye strain aside.

Jeff

Texan Crescent Butterfly

Texan crescent butterfly (male) photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

She was one of many Texan Crescent Butterflies that we met in the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas near the border wall. Most of the other folks had seen these Texans many times before. Not me. Every one I saw, I approached, looking to see if he or she were fresh and complete.

I might have seen Texans before, in Mississippi or in the Florida Panhandle, but those encounters were brief and earned not a single exposure. This time I met them with certainty, and I can say that I was very excited to finally 100% meet these wingedbeauties.

Jeff, in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in December 2017, having FUN.

Jeff