She was close to the trail when we spotted her. They were excited to spot her, but not nearly as excited as I was. John and Nancy ID’d her as a Tropical Leafwing. They tamped down my rush! saying that this butterfly was seen there, at the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, often.
She denied any approach by camera, and flew, stopping on this small tree. She remained perched there, and we again approached. This was the best that my Macro- lens could score, and that was just fine with me.
Their hostplants are crotons. I’ll never get a Tropical Leafwing in my Eatonton, Georgia garden, but we’ve planted 7 Alabama Crotons, hoping that in 2020 or ’21 we’ll lure Goatweed Leafwings to pay us a visit. We purchased the strong, vital Alabama Cortons at Nearly Native Nursery in Fayetteville, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. Jim and Debi there are engaging, knowledgeable natives experts, and their nursery stock is 100% native and of very high quality.
She remained in that little tree for some time. I remember standing there, impressed by her unique deep orange coloration, and Thanking G-d there and then for sharing such Heavenly beauty, with those gossamer finely crafted wings.