That ‘Locally Rare’ Hairstreak (“Gimme An M!”)

White M Hairstreak butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow in Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

These years of seeing thousands of Facebook butterfly posts, kind of jades you to images of the butterflies that y’all post the most. There are butterflies that few post, year in and year out. Those are the butterflies that you and I most search for.

Here’s one that I have only seen 2 or 3 times. This hairstreak is seen alone, never with similar White-M Hairstreaks nearby. It is a bit larger than some other hairstreaks. My own experience is that it favors Goldenrod blooms, just as you see it nectaring on a Goldenrod (Solidago) flowerhead.

If, if it does the rare thing, and moves its wings slightly, your mind goes BOOM! for that lets you see the iridescent deep blue dorsal (top) surface of the wings. Even for that 3/4 of a second, you soon move on, ecstatic, for you realize you have an image of that incredible moment, for what? the rest of your life?

We’re here at Raccoon Creek State Park, in Doak Meadow, in late August. Do I recommend that western Pennsylvania state park? 100% for butterflies, for I’d seen more (way more) than 50 species there, including Goatweed Leafwing, Compton Tortoiseshell, Orange-barred Sulphur, Meadown Fritillary, Coral Hairstreak . . . .

Jeff