Edwards Hairstreak Finery

Edwards Hairstreak Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie, OH

This was a day that remains vivid in my memory. Angela, Barbara Ann, Dave & Joe led the way, to this largish prairie relict in Lynx Prairie Reserve, southern Ohio, just a handful of miles from Kentucky.

These Edwards Hairstreak butterflies were new to me, and this for sure was a fresh flight of them. Close approach to these tiny hairstreaks wowed! me, for their color palette was strikingly beautiful.

Shooting with my Fuji Velvia 50 slide film, I shot away, determined to capture those reds and blues amongst that handsome grayish brown, and sharp white and black.

This one will do just fine. I tried so hard to meet one universal goal of mine, capture the butterfly’s eyes in good focus, but the depth of field bugaboo denied my 100% success with that.

Winged beauty? Yep.

Jeff

Bear Oak & Edwards’

Edwards Hairstreak Butterfly in 1/2 Shade photographed by Jeff Zablow at Adams Lake Preserve

My 2 foot tall Bear Oak (purchased from Nearly Natives Nursery in Fayetteville, Georgia, an A+ natives nursery) will never be a 100′ tall giant. It is one of the ‘small oaks,’ and I would love to live and see it reach some 20 feet. Its leaves are unique looking, and it acorns, well I’ll have to wait some for them to be produced.

I’ve enriched my grasp of the plants and animals of these United States, to include those of southeastern America. Bear Oak is native to the US, and to America’s South.

The first time I saw Edwards’ Hairstreak butterflies was in June, 2017. They were a fresh flight, some 35 or so Edwards.’ I was struck by their rich, stunning reds, blues, white and black. They are usually described as ‘Locally Rare,’ and that morning, in. Lynx Prairie Reserve in Adams County, Ohio, I was so Thankful that we were there that week, to savor that artists palette of color, against a solid background of grayish-brown.

My young Bear Oak? Glassberg’s A Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America range map shows Edwards’ Hairstreaks flying just about as far south as my backyard. and Bear Oaks are their preferred hostplant.

Would it not be AmaZing! if one showed up next year? What’s that rock n’ roll song of maybe I’m a dreamer? Two or 3 more Bear Oaks?

Jeff

“Zebra Swallowtail!”

Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly and Edwards Hairstreak on Butterflyweed photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie Reserve, Ohio

You’re out seeking butterflies, and one of you shouts, “Zebra Swallowtail!” All stop what they were doing and respond, “Where?” Comes the question, Why? Why do seasoned butterfly seekers and those new to the search, become so excited when a Zebra is spotted?

They are scarce, rarely seen butterflies. They fly in with grace and beauty and they are surely coming to flowers that are pumping nectar. During this 2019 a typical day might score 2 Monarchs, 3 Pearl Crescents, 1 Pipevine Swallowtail, several Duskywings, an Eastern Comma, 4 Tiger Swallowtails and 1 Red-Spotted Purple. Zebra Swallowtail on that ‘typical day?’ No, not a one.

Rewarded with a look at such a beaut as this one, resplendent in its whites, black, red and blue, you feel special, fortunate to see what few see, a magnificent American butterfly, one of our most eye-pleasing.

This one was shot in Lynx Prairie Reserve, Adams County, Ohio. It’s on Butterflyweed, a milkweed, native to the USA. Also enjoying the milkweed nectar there is an Edwards Hairstreak butterfly, it too is a reason to feel good. Seeing both of these uncommon butterflies, reason enough to travel to Lynx Prairie in late June.

Jeff

Red Banded Red Banner Day

Red-Banded Hairstreak butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

Yesterday it was that heroic Monarch that came to my Georgia garden. Imagine the rush for me, my garden, mostly planted with Georgia natives themselves hostplants for butterflies, is just beginning its 2nd year. She flew in, and spent more than one hour selecting milkweeds to deposit her eggs. When she had to couple will remain unknown.

Today, my eyes began their butterfly search work, when they spotted a tiny form flitting from one tiny yard bloom to the next. It didn’t fly like a diminutive moth, and when I approached, what did I see? It was a very tiny Red-Banded Hairstreak. Daddah! Its red band was not as showy as the one you see here, but today’s Red-Banded was fresh and not birdstruck.

Glassberg has them appearing “early spring.” That sure applies to the Red-Banded I saw today, April 3rd.

Another Red Banner day for my new Georgia garden, gifting me again with sweet butterflies months ahead of when I might have seen them 700 miles north, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The food in Georgia supermarkets is 27% cheaper. The clerks in local Post Offices greet you with a smile . . . and butterflies charm you, from February to late November. Just sayin.’

Jeff

It’s A . . . Banded

Banded Hairstreak Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in Raccoon Creek State Park

There are many things that you just don’t see too many times in your life. For me that includes Presidents of the United States, National Football League players, and red heads with green eyes.

I have seen very rare butterflies on the peak of Mt. Hermon, Diana Ross in that elevator, and my children graduate from universities. Black Widow spiders, Kirk Douglas, wild boar, Eastern timber rattlesnake, and many grandchildren.

I’ve seen this butterfly, the Banded Hairstreak two times these 25 years, this one in Raccoon Creek State Park, 45 minutes west of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and another two in a city park in Toronto, Ontario. They fly where there are oak trees and hickory trees, and they are solitary butterflies and for sure, uncommon.

Their blue and orange spots sing, and their tune is one I wouldn’t mind, some more times.

Jeff