Sighting a Rare Clytie Ministreak Butterfly!

Clyitie ministreak butterfly (3) photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

Want to see a Clytie Ministreak butterfly? If you lived where I live, Macon, Georgia, you’d have to travel those same 1,300 miles or so, to southern Texas, and then hope (pray?) that this “U-C” (Glassberg – Uncommon to Common) butterfly was about when you arrived in Mission, Texas.

I was fortunate to have travelled with Nancy and John from Atlanta’s International Airport to San Antonio, and then was driven those 4 hours to Alamo, Texas. That week, December’s Christmas week, we saw many dozens of species that I’d never seen before. Some rare species made their appearance just to please me, and for that I’m Thankful.

I’ve seen Kirk Douglas, President Eisenhower’s back of his head, Diana Ross, Mike Tyson and some more, to which List I add, Clytie Ministreak butterfly, at the National Butterfly Center’s Perennial Gardens, Mission, Texas.

Jeff

The Mellow Beauty of this Tiny Hairstreak Butterfly

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

Come and enjoy with me. I gaze at this Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak Butterfly, it nectaring on a wildflower in the National Butterfly Center’s Perennial Garden(s). Glassberg’s Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America notes that  in South Texas this is a “C” for commonly found butterfly. True that for south Texas, but from where I’m sitting, now, south Texas is some what, 1,300 miles away?

What a sweet treat to stop and take in the mellow beauty of this tiny hairstreak butterfly. I see what I adore? Do you like the same as I love? I cannot know.

The last year has unsettled me some, and the beauty of this little gem becalms me, settles me. I know that I need more, much more of this, and I so look forward to this 2021, to deliver on that need. You too?

Mission, Texas, just a handful of miles from the Mexican-Texas border.

Jeff

Edwards Hairstreak at Lynx Prairie

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

Surrounded by a sea of gentle green, this Edward Hairstreak butterfly is a fine Rx for this January 20th, 2021. Reminder for all that we sit upon a treasure trove here, long known as the United States of America.

I’m near finishing my 4th (5th?) reading of The Travels of William Bartram by William Bartram. Few of you’ve read it. If you want to visualize what Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama and such were like in 1777 or so, this is a book you will love. Now, “love” is a strong Rx, but, if you’ve longed to see what the South looked like before it was ‘dozed, this is your dreamed of read. Bartram was a British botanist, and his telling of the botany, bears, ‘tygers,’ Meleagris and millions of birds in flight is riveting. That and his dozens and dozens pages of his time with the Creeks, Cherokees, Seminoles, Ocmulgee, Chactaw peoples? I loved it. I have often dreamed of walking into their ‘towns’ (Bartram carefully describes their buildings [yes buildings], gardens, orchards, etc.) as they were, and I continue to dream such.

This Edwards image sends me thataway, yearning for a time when the highways, roads lined with stores, tire shops and shopping centers did’t exist. He writes one destination where the entire land, level to more than 7 miles extant, is covered with Cornus florida, the American dogwood tree. I crack my brain thinking that today, that’s all gone, bulldozed into who knows what. That was Florida.

Look how a single image, seen in Adams County, Ohio, a handful of miles from the Kentucky border, can set me near adrift . . . . . . . . . Kudos to Angela.

Jeff

Approach of Thanksgiving Day is on My Mind

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

Less than a handful of days away, Thanksgiving is in the USA. It’s a day for us Americans to think of all that we are Blessed with, and for us here in the States to gather family (COVID-19 precautions considered) and revel in all that we have, in the good health that most enjoy, and to sit there and smile, as we watch the youngsters, year after year, preparing to take their turn in life.

Our table will be not quite that, but Thankful? I am very, very Thankful. I am happy, so very happy. We enjoy this home we’ve moved to in North Macon, those .68 acres, steadily filling with Georgia native plants and do you believe it? Today, November 23rd we enjoyed Zebra Longwing and Cloudless Sulphur butterflies. Back in Pittsburgh, that first week of September was almost always the Bye Bye week for seeing butterflies.

On my mind, adding to my euphoria, the hope of seeing total, abject beauty, as you see here in Lynx Prairie Reserve in Adams County, Ohio. The Butterflyweed (a Milkweed species) lush and richly colored. The Zebra Swallowtail butterfly? Mama Mia! The Edwards Hairstreak butterfly, tiny, yet elegant. The background in this image? Oh how I long to return again to this botany wonderland! 2021!

Jeff, sharing of Thanksgiving thoughts.

Jeff

That ‘Locally Rare’ Hairstreak (“Gimme An M!”)

White M Hairstreak butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow in Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

These years of seeing thousands of Facebook butterfly posts, kind of jades you to images of the butterflies that y’all post the most. There are butterflies that few post, year in and year out. Those are the butterflies that you and I most search for.

Here’s one that I have only seen 2 or 3 times. This hairstreak is seen alone, never with similar White-M Hairstreaks nearby. It is a bit larger than some other hairstreaks. My own experience is that it favors Goldenrod blooms, just as you see it nectaring on a Goldenrod (Solidago) flowerhead.

If, if it does the rare thing, and moves its wings slightly, your mind goes BOOM! for that lets you see the iridescent deep blue dorsal (top) surface of the wings. Even for that 3/4 of a second, you soon move on, ecstatic, for you realize you have an image of that incredible moment, for what? the rest of your life?

We’re here at Raccoon Creek State Park, in Doak Meadow, in late August. Do I recommend that western Pennsylvania state park? 100% for butterflies, for I’d seen more (way more) than 50 species there, including Goatweed Leafwing, Compton Tortoiseshell, Orange-barred Sulphur, Meadown Fritillary, Coral Hairstreak . . . .

Jeff