We travel and we await all that’s new. Travel some 1,800 miles from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Phoenix, Arizona, and my visits to White Tank Mountains Regional Park, west of Phoenix delivered just that. How exciting to anticipate new butterflies, new plants, new birds and new lizards at any moment, any minute, anywhere! How much more fulfilling to find new, new, new.
Imagine. Imagine my surprise to find a ‘friend’ there, a butterfly that I’d see occasionally back home then, in Pittsburgh. I was working my way along an arroyo (dry river bed . . . Shhh! That I was not supposed to be down in, because of flash flood! risk . . . Angelic Jeff?) strewn with big rock. It was bone dry, and there were few, very few flowers at all. What flowers there were, were visited by butterflies and bees. I stationed myself at those flowers found, and here is an example of the reward I reaped, for patiently waiting on butterflies to arrive.
I was impressed much that the American Snout Butterfly was near identical to those back at Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania. It was sort of nice to meet a ‘friend,’ so far away from home, and in a mysterious, a bit risky dangerous and drier than dry bone arroyo.
This Post here in part because of memories it elicited, I there visiting my Mother-In-Law, Eda Lehman A”H, who lived near there in Sun City West, Arizona, a Phoenix suburb. Eda Lehman was a slave in Nazi concentration camps for 5 and 1/2 years, somehow survived those killing fields, and passed away 3 days ago, having lived to 100 years of age. Butterflies can come with memories and such . . . .
Working that bone dry arroyo in the White Tank Mountains Regional Park just west of Phoenix, Arizona. There were scant few flowers to be found there. Those flowers that I was able to find for sure attracted butterflies. When I found flowers in full bloom, all I had to do was wait moments, and from what seemed nowhere, butterflies of known and unknown species would fly directly in, and they’d work the open flowers slowly and methodically.
This American Snout butterfly (Libytheana carinenta) was a fine, willing subject. They please me, when they flash their vivid orange-red patches, white blazes and my bunch recalls Jimmy Durante and his ‘schnoz,’ which the Snouts extended papla always, always remind me of, and the Durante memories . . . make me smile.
That arroyo, please never enter one. I did, many times those years visiting family in Sun City West (Del Webb development). Yes, signs warned to never enter them. Admittedly, I disregarded those signs, and in retrospect, a flash flood, arriving at high speed, and drowning this boy from far away Brooklyn would have been not the way I want to pass.
Once every so often, I reflect on my butterfly fascination. When some of you share your image captures, I Ooh! and Ahh! Some of you, truth be told, produce excellent, A+ work. Jeff experiences that 1/100 of a second of doubt, some sort of a throwback to maybe junior high school self-consciousness.
That’s when I regroup, so to speak, and recall the fun I have when I am on trail, when a Wow! butterfly appears, and we play ‘lion stalks zebra,’ ’til I get the images I want, or not. I recall how sweetly many of you receive my work, and reward me with encouragement and sometimes praise. I reconsider the expen$e of some of my travel, the co$t of scoring the third image down, a Clytie Ministreak butterfly, found at the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas near the border wall.
But most of all, I smile, for I Love the beautiful color and pattern of butterflies, and I savor the rich real-time color that my Fuji Velvia slide film delivers,.
Four butterflies that bring a smile to this once kid from Brooklyn’s mean streets.
It’s known as the American Snout Butterfly. It’s habitat extends from Massachusetts to Southern California. It makes unscheduled appearances from Maine to the Dakotas and from Oklahoma to Nevada. That’s a whole lot of habitat. Snouts like to be close enough to Hackberry trees and shrubs.
What is most remarkable about this species of brushfoot butterfly? They get No Respect (apologies to Mr. Dangerfield). They are the ‘So what?’ ‘Who cares’ butterfly.’
Only in big years in Texas do you see Snouts in any appreciable numbers. They are almost always seen as solitary individuals, except for the brief interactions when male discovers a reluctant female.
Why don’t they spark excitement? Well they only briefly generate excitement . . . until it is realized that it is ‘Only a snout.’
Snouts sport muted colors and they have those elongated palps, making them look, well, kind of silly. I no longer stand them up against the Jimmy Durante legend (Vaudeville star, from Brooklyn, NY, who had a sandpaper voice, was very likable and had a big schnazola. Almost no one remembers Jimmy Durante, is the reason.
Snouts flew around the town greens, when the Patriots were devising their future strategies, but even though snouts are native butterflies, no credit comes their way.
When you are having that kind of day, when you seem well, invisible, you may easily empathize with this American snout. Invisible in plain view.
Here’s to one of the most undervalued of American butterflies. Once upon a time, on smaller, rather poorly defined U.S. TV screens, there was an entertainer who wasn’t handsome, wasn’t well dressed, wasn’t Ivy-League polished, and wasn’t from Atlanta, Los Angeles or New Orleans. He had a rather noticeable nose, and he had an even more noticeable Brooklyn vocabulary. Jimmy Durante was his name, and his fame would baffle just about 99.99% of folks today.
This American Snout butterfly was found taking a break from its routine, in the Butterflies and Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in downtown Eatonton, Georgia. Rarely, maybe never, does a Snout generate the excitement registered when we see a Monarch, or a Giant Swallowtail or a Zebra Heliconian butterfly. That even with the acknowledgement that they are never very numerous and their appearance is never much predictable.
They do cause something of a rush when they flash that blaze of Florida orange color, and for me, they evoke the memory of that Super Famous entertainer of time begone, Jimmy Durante, who couldn’t much sing, couldn’t much dance . . . but somehow was beloved by his audience, by sheer stroke of stage presence and genius. American Snouts too bedazzle, though they can’t be said to be the “Most” of just about anything.