Viet Nam? No. Mongolia? No. Costa Rica eco-tour? No. Sao Paolo and then to the Amazon watershed? No? Alaska? No. Turkey? For sure no. Even Washington State, had to be scrubbed.
Where then in this 2019? Truth be told, I had an unforgettable 5 days at the amazing Florida Panhandle place, Big Bend Wildlife Management Area.
Mobbed by Palamedes Swallowtails, challenged by Georgia Satyrs (Bet you can’t cop a good image of me, ’cause the sweat is pouring down your forehead, and streaming over your sweatband). Tiny blues of several species led me in long hide and seeks. Monster Giants and Monarchs.
This month, April, me and ‘Eagle eyes’ head back to Big Bend. Destination? The other smashing unit at Big Bend, the Hickory Mound unit.
The possibilities? Infinite. Butterflies of what, 50 species? 60?
Spanking new Florida fishing licenses, for the little river running alongside the VRBO rental must be swarming with fish to fry.
How much is too much? It’s been quite a long time since I spotted this skipper butterfly in a dry arroyo in the White Tank Mountains Regional Park, west of Phoenix, Arizona. There weren’t many butterflies there at any given time, but I came to realize that almost any butterfly you saw in that other-worldly habitat . . . might be new and exhilarating!
Almost all I saw there, on many trips to that surreal arid region, refused to tolerate close approach. This view shall have to suffice, though it’s pretty good, and the Fuji Velvia 50 slide film I used is always color true.
So much time has gone by, and now I am determined to take a stab at it. Eufala Skipper (Lerodea eufala)? Ken? Jeffrey? The NABA cognoscenti? Curt?
Jeff photographs thousands of butterflies, and every now and again his youthful curiosity is raised. Every so often he sees something, and wants to know why?
This Eastern Commas butterfly was seen at the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in town, in Eatonton, Georgia. It was spotted with its wings were fully extended, early on a summer morning, while it rested on a flat leaf. I looked, and looked and wondered. Why was this Comma, just now out of its chrysalis, so heavily black on much of its hindwings? Why?
One guess, of mine, is that when it flies amidst summer greenery, the black areas of its wings hide it well, in the reduced light of the deep forest, that forest much darkened by the many leaves of the trees above. The ‘red form’ Commas fly when there are few leaves on trees, and a blackened rump area would only make them more easily spotted by predators.
And what do you think?
Armed with my 90’s and 95’s in high school math, and my ‘D’ (Yep!) in college Calculus, I have endeavored to determine what fraction of Americans have ever seen this one in the wild. The results of my exhaustive research provide the shocker, some one in 54,000 of us have seen a Regal Fritillary Butterfly in its prairie habitat. That’s 0.000018 of us.
We had to take account of the extraordinary rarity of Regal Frits east of the Mississippi River, they found in just 2 different prairie/wet meadow habitats in Pennsylvania and Virginia. West of the Mississippi, their range is extensive, found from Oklahoma to Dakotas, but know that their habitat west is very, very localized.
I saw this male in the extensive meadows at Ft. Indiantown Gap Military Reserve, not far from Penn State University. I registered for the annual 4-days in June summer Open House at Ft. Indiantown Gap, and it was so worth it. The sun shone all day, and the Regals put on a show, accompanied by Monarchs, Coral Hairstreaks, Great Spangled Frits and more.
I did not want to ever have to pack it in (cease my field work) without having introduced myself to these splendid butterflies. I am among the one In 54,000.