The Bronze Copper Club

Bronze Copper Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, Pennsylvania

Few of us have even seen a Bronze Copper (Lycaena hyllus) butterfly. Me? Here’s the only one I’ve been able to photograph. I was working the edge of the Wetland Trail pond in Raccoon Creek State Park (Hookstowns Town, Pennsylvania (45 minutes west of Pittsburgh) and examining the Alder bushes that lined the pond.

Whoa! What’s that? I saw it, knew it was a Copper butterfly, but, it was larger than a tiny American Copper. That wide orange border on the underside of its hindwing is what made my ‘Battlestations’ internal alarm go off. I’d never (Yes, never) seen one before, but I was nurturing years of anticipation of seeing one. I made my Patent Pending Robotic approach, began to shoot away, and away it went. Here is my satisfying image.

Glassberg’s A Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America notes that Bronze Coppers are LR-LU (Locally Rare-Locally Uncommon). I can verify the validity of that, for in the ensuing years, I’ve only seen 2 of them, and scored zero images to share.

Those of you who have enjoyed meeting a Bronze Copper, meeting this solitary loner of a butterfly, are verifiably Charter Members of the Bronze Copper Club. You’ve worked wetlands much, and seeing a Bronze, the payoff! Upsetting is the real possibility that this pretty butterfly may be steadily decreasing in numbers and in range.

Which of you are Club members?

Jeff

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