Count Me Among The Fortunate

Edwards Hairstreak Butterflies on Butterflyweed photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie, Ohio

Don’t we occasionally need to be reminded how fortunate we are? I had one of those epiphanies that morning when I entered that meadow in the Lynx Prairie Reserve in Adams County, Ohio.

Look and see what I saw. A trio of totally fresh Edwards Hairstreak butterflies, enjoying the rich nectar of just as fresh Butterflyweed blooms. Three gorgeous hairstreaks, they only yards away from the forest border and their hostplants there, Bear Oaks.

I shot away, copping this image, me the entire time thinking: How happy I was at that time, counting myself among the fortunate. There are perhaps 193,509,227 people living east of the Mississippi River. How many of them have ever seen this, as I did, in that meadow, just a handful of miles form the Kentucky border?

Jeff

Mouth Open Staring At An Edwards Hairstreak

Edwards Hairstreak photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie Reserve, Ohio

Saw a Coneflower growing just inside the entrance to Lynx Prairie. Angela had promised that Lynx Prairie preserve, Adams County, Ohio would be a June bonanza, and those Coneflowers were among the first Wowsas! I’d met that week. I grown Coneflower in my gardens in my houses going back to what, 1980? I never, never  knew that Coneflower, purple Coneflower is a native. A Native American perennial!

Some minutes later, when I got separated from the 5 others, I too quickly thought that Brooklyn boy had been . . . ditched. Used to working alone (naturally), I headed out on my lonesome, and shortly, still alone, entered a large meadow. That’s where I smiled from ear to ear, for that’s where I met dozens of very fresh Northern Metalmarks, our first meeting ever. That’s where I met lots of also very fresh Edwards Hairstreak butterflies, they were so colorful that they surely must have eclosed the day. before, or that morning.

My mouth must have been gawking (kind of open and part of a silly grin) at those Edwards Hairstreaks, Northern Metalmarks, Coral Hairstreaks, Monarchs, Great Spangled Fritillaries & Mystery Fritillary (no pics) that I saw that morning.

OMG! times, just a handful of miles from the Kentucky border with Ohio.

Jeff

Fine Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak

Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

Face to face with that large black spot, it bordered by that orange-juice Julius ring, and I smiled, for this was a fresh Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak butterfly. Atlanta flight to San Jose, Texas, next that 4 hour-drive to our accommodation in Alamo, Texas.

The next days were filled with butterflies not seen in the New York City metropolitan area, or in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania or west of Phoenix, or Israel, or the Mississippi Delta or Toronto or Savannah or the Georgia Piedmont.

Found along the southeast corridor from California to Texas, I love the colors: gray, black, white, orange served up with bands, chevrons, arrow-heads, etc.

Seen at the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas.

A Clint Eastwood Butterfly, as in Make My Day.

Jeff

A Blood -Pressure Hairstreak

Gold-bordered Hairstreak Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at The Wall, Mission, TX

This is the one that sent dozens of folks dashing to their cars. As they sped to the “Wall,” to those native bushes planted around Retama Village in Mission, Texas, many aware that their blood-pressure was heading up, most were euphoric, awaiting a chance to see this hairstreak, a Gold-Bordered hairstreak.

Why? The Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas, U.S.A counts this one as a Rare find, one that is almost never seen in the United States.

Me? I appreciated my good fortune, meeting such a rare butterfly during Christmas week in Mission. I’d experienced this a handful of times that December week, a rare one is spotted, Mike and others send the word out via cell, and dozens and dozens of enthusiasts rush to see it.

This was the time the Brooklyn boy watched as I worked through the ring of watchers, my Macro- lens needing to get within 48 inches or less of the butterfly, unlike the rest, who all worked with long lenses. Yes, I did hear that I was felt to be “Selfish.” That? Brought this kiddo back to recalling my interesting youth, when we had to live amidst many potentially menacing guys, as in “Connected.” Truth be told, I’d sized up that mini-crowd, and as men will be, knew I could take them, one way or another.

Gold-Bordered hairstreaks unleash a flow of thoughts, for me at least.

Jeff

WhoopTeDo! For This Hairstreak

Hickory Hairstreak photographed by Jeff Zablow at Akeley Swamp, NY

We were at Akeley Swamp Refuge, in very western New York State. We were approximately 9 hours from my hometown, Brooklyn, New York. The way things are in western New York, we might as well have been 15 hours away from frenetic New York City.

It was a memorable morning hike. The trail along this onetime train track flower bed had hundreds of lush Common Milkweed plants, all in peak of bloom. Problem was, all morning we saw few butterflies. It was a brain teaser. How could you have several million lush Asclepias Syriaca blooms, a sunny, windless morning, blue skies . . . and almost no butterflies . . . in the last half of June??

That downer soon disappeared, when I saw this tiny triangular figure on a milkweed flowerhead. What? Huh? Hello?? Not a Gray, nor a Striped, not an Edwards, or a Coral, nor a White M, definitely not an Acadian, or a Red-Banded, not even a Banded (I think) Hairstreak Butterfly.

My calm, relaxed physiology skyrocketed, it did. Was this a “R-U” (Rare to Uncommon (Glassberg, A Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America)) Hickory Hairstreak? If it is, I liken it to my elevator ride with Diana Ross in the fab Fuller Building at Madison and East 57th Street.

Seeing my what, 2nd Hickory Hairstreak in these 26 years rocks!

If any of you come and argue it’s a Banded, you’d better have total, irreversible proof, and not that, we need to see this or that argument, for that 94 seconds that it stuck around, will not be forgotten for at least the next 30 years.

That sort of a WhoopTeDo! experience? I cherish and prize them. Sometimes they take me back to when Frieda A”H would ask, when I came home from butterfly field work, ‘What did you see today?’ I loved when she would wait and listen for my full report. A Hickory??? OMG!

Jeff