Let’s Connect this Butterfly with a Tune

Little Wood Satyr Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, Florida

There we were at Big Bend Wildlife Management Area in Florida’s Panhandle. It was a search for southeastern butterflies, and we found them: Georgia satyrs, Palamedes swallowtails, Tiger swallowtails and more, much more.

It sure surprised me when we spotted this one, a Little Wood Satyr butterfly (Megisto cymela). I’ve lived in Georgia for less than 3 years, and this one? I always associate Little Wood Satyrs as northern butterflies. They’re found in all of the northeastern states of the United States, and further west all the way to the Dakotas, Oklahoma and Texas.

A careful examination of its range map shows that Little Wood Satyrs are found in northern Florida, and that’s where we were.

Watching this sweetie fly onto this leaf, to take in the early morning sun, brought a smile. A small butterfly, it brings to mind that childhood fav, Tinker Belle, that Peter Pan companion.

It brought a smile, and a thought. I thought that this little butterfly deserves a tune, to celebrate its discovery that morning, at Big Bend.

The tune? I so hope y’all come up with just the right one . . .

Jeff

Unsolved Mysteries at White Tank Mountains Park

Darner-type fly, photographed by Jeff Zablow in White Tank Mts. Regional Park, AZ

You and I don’t like unsolved mysteries. For me, field work in distant habitat often ends with questions that go long unanswered. Some, perhaps you, often make friends with far-flung butterfly, moth, bird, snake, orchid, wildflower, big cat or others whose knowledge and breadth of field work ranks them as regional or national or international experts.

I’ve been blessed to have met some, but maybe I’ve not met as many as I’d like to have met. Phil, Rose & Jerry, Mike, Barbara Ann A”H (OBM”), Nancy & John, Angela, Dave, Jerry and Virginia shared and impressed. 2021 beckons, and several new possibilities beckon. For that, I am, even at this point in my life’s journey, very excited.

I met this insect in that forbidden (signs said do not enter at your own risk (risk of flash flooding)) arroyo west of Phoenix, Arizona. I was in my search for butterflies, there just a very limited number of plants in flower, that summer, with the temperature reaching the upper ’90’s, around 10 A.M.. It flew in, was not a butterfly but, was beautiful and of course, I shot away. It fed on nectar, allowed me to shoot it, and soon left.

I expect that I will never know the species name and common name of this animal. I’m uncomfortable ‘researching it online’ for I’m never sure that I’ve correctly determined the species. I do want to have those who are deep in knowledge of such species to help, but I don’t know who they are, it is Arizona, thousands of miles away from the desk in Macon, and . . . .

Jeff

Erato Heliconian Butterfly at the National Butterfly Center near Mission Texas

Erato Heliconian Butterfly on Grass photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

This one sure has difficulty trying to hide in the near dark National Butterfly Center grass. Those bold, bright red stripes blare out at you. Makes you wonder why this rare butterfly, that occasionally visits there, wonder why it has those red stripes.

When it did finally fly, it flew down the trail, some nearly 150 feet, always in sight and it followed a straight-line path, some 4 feet above the ground. I watched, transfixed, for I saw something that intrigued me. During that straight-line flight, those red stripes were always visible, they actually were always easily seen.

My hypothesis? This butterfly must be toxic to predators that would prey on it. Those red stripes may signal habitat predators that this butterfly is toxic (poisonous), and should not be captured.

Do you concur with this opinion?

Jeff

Extraordinary Eastern Tiger

Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly photographed at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

She was nectaring on native Teasel flowerhead. When I found her, my rocket-fast examination of her wings gave me a sugar jolt! She was extraordinary. There’s always that 1/35th of a second moment of apprehension. Would she leave before I could position my Canon Elan 73 film camera with its Canon Macro- 100/2.8 lens?

Long time ago, very fine photographers, at Pittsburgh’s Filmmakers, opined that it’s preferable to position your main subject somewhere other than at the middle of the image. No time to do that here, for such a once in 10-years female Tiger might, probably might, go, go to another flowerhead or totally go.

I’m a ‘men,’ and some of us remember beauty long after we’ve been Blessed to meet it. I remember this one. The rest? We’ll leave that alone.

Raccoon Creek State Park, Nichol Road Trail, Hookstown, New York, some 45 minutes drive from Pittsburgh, give or take.

Jeff

My Vote? Monarch on Joe Pye

Monarch Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park. Jeff blogs about the art and science of butterflies at http://www.wingedbeauty.com

Tired of the USA election cycle, I prefer much to cast my vote for this All American pair. A male Monarch butterfly nectaring on Joe Pye flowers. An American butterfly on an American wildflower. Both valued in your meadows, fens and trails.

See? This has been a fine, relaxing change for me. For you?

Jeff