Hickory? Yes? Yes!

Hickory Hairstreak photographed by Jeff Zablow at Akeley Swamp, NY

It should have been drums and trumpets! but I was buzzed anyway. Barbara Ann and I returned to Akeley Swamp, in very western New York State. That sunny morning, with barely a breeze, the last days of June 2018 lined the Akeley Swamp trail with hundreds, really, hundreds of healthy Common Milkweed plants. 90% of them sported big, globular flowerheads.

Irony was the word. Hundreds of thousands of Milkweed flowers, and so few butterflies? The oddest thing happened. My cell phone, zippered away in a pouch in my backpack, suddenly rang. Wow! Reception is such an isolated place. I opened the call, and found myself talking to my credit card company, about a fraudulent transaction. Iron because I flew into Pittsburgh to see family and photograph, and the action was so limited, that I was calmly talking a cell phone call.

Call ended (not so pleasantly), I went back to surveying those hundreds of thousand of tiny milkweed flowers, slowly and carefully. That’s when I saw this. Hairstreaks always stop one in their tracks. That because if it were a Gray, it would be good. A Striped would be better again. A Banded? Wow! White M? Unbelievable. A Coral? Am I dreaming? An Edwards? In Akeley Swamp? Astounding. Should it be an Acadian? That’d be my 3rd.

I stared and stared. It moved ever so slowly over the Asclepias syriaca blossoms. That’s when I came to realize that it was . . . a Hickory Hairstreak!!! Drums!!!! & Trumpets!!!! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Hickory before, and own no images of one. Glassberg in Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America? A “R-U” butterfly = Rare to Uncommon. Happy Days Are Here Again . . .

See, that’s the thing. When you photograph butterflies, you just, never, never know. Morning made, Yes, it must have never gone to modeling school, ’cause it just about never gave me a good look at it. That said, here’s my Hickory. Yes, ‘my’ Hickory. Thanks BAC.


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