Schooled By Little Metalmarks

Little Metalmark butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Shellman Bluff, GA

There they were, finally. Little Metalmark Butterflies. Shellman Bluff, Georgia, along the eastern coast of the USA. Months of anticipation, and there I was with Nancy and John. I should have expected them to be tiny, but truth be told, I was taken aback, for they were smaller than tiny. They were tinier than tiny.

They were methodically nectaring on this tiny yellow blooms, and they all but posed, as they slowly worked the flowers, one after another.

I’ll admit to a bit of personal bravado, me thinking that I will leave there with several excellent exposures of these flying gems. I especially wanted to capture images with those silvery hindwing bands, smartly reflecting the strong Georgia sun.

And? Well I’ve studied and restudied the 6 or so exposures that I didn’t pitch into the trash. This one, for instance does Pop! those silvery bands, features other decent Little Metalmark shares (one good antenna, an OK abdomen and a decent eye capture).

17% overconfident Jeff, got schooled by those Metalmarks. Why?

They were so tiny that they required that I crouch over in a very uncomfortable position, that awkward twist of body became increasingly difficult to sustain. They did move across the flower, forcing frequent movement and camera adjustment, then they would fly some 2-3 feet to another flower, sending me following them, into yet another and another pronounced crouch. Soon the sweat begin beading up on my forehead and then, sweat would trickle down over eyes, the Georgia morning humidity soon semi-blinding me, salt in the eyes.

This was before I upgraded to my Canon 100mm/2.8 IS (Image Stabilization) lens. IS lenses compensate for the almost imperceptible sway that moves the camera lens when you shoot such tinies in such challenging shoots.

So, yes, those Little Metalmarks schooled me, learned me good, to not come into the field fully expecting to land the big one, so to speak. Beware specks of butterflies on minuscule flowers, on steamy hot mornings , for the odds of copping a dropdead gorgeous image of the bejeweled Little Metalmark favor Las Vegas, and not the boy from Brooklyn!

Jeff

The Siren’s Call (Hairstreak Version)

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

Angela urged us to join them in western Ohio, June 2017. She repeated that Adams County was full of surprises. I liked that idea, visiting Adams County, the southernmost Ohio, with Kentucky just miles away.

After 2 days in the Dayton, Ohio area, I knew Angela knew good places, with good stuff. Give an example? That’s how I saw my first Showy Lady Slipper Orchids. It took about a lifetime, but yes, they were extraordinary.

Hours south of Dayton, we were in Lynx Prairie Preserve, Adams County, Ohio. Battle stations!! So so much new, beautiful and never seen before.

A fresh flight of hairstreak butterflies was all about. I saw this one, shown here, my first Edwards Hairstreaks. Fresh Edwards Hairstreaks. They, not quick to flee on your approach. Sporting my new Canon Macro- 100mm/2.8 IS lens, I approached, shot and OMG! they are bejeweled. I robotically move closer, shot. Each time I look into my camera, the hindwing ventral (underside) markings stunned with their beauty.

It was the siren’s call to me, move in, be amazed, move in some more, and revel, Yep, revel. You get quiet, respectful. This time the siren’s call rewarded.

Jeff, still smiling, after Edwards, Northern Metalmarks, Coral Hairstreaks, Monarchs,That mystery Fritillary, Great Spangled Fritillaries . . .  and the first time I ever saw Coneflower and Indian Paintbrush happily at home, in the land they belong in.

Jeff

Fatal Metalmark Butterfly

Fatal Metalmark butterfly (2) photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

Another dividend collected from my late December 2017 trip to the Lower Rio Grande Valley. When I was shown this tiny metalmark, I was really Happy, so Happy. I met a Little Metalmark butterfly in Shellman Bluff, Georgia in 2016. In June of 2017 I met dozens and dozens of Northern Metalmarks in Adams County, Ohio, just miles from the Kentucky border.

This Fatal Metalmark butterfly is now my 3rd metalmark from Texas, and the southern reaches of New Mexico, Arizona and California.

All the metalmarks I’ve seen are especially small. They all move, fly and rest with much conviction and self-assurance. Have I completed my metalmark campaign? Uh, no. There remain 22 metalmarks found in the 48 U.S. states that I’ve not yet been introduced to.

Any leads?

Jeff

 

 

WingedBeauty Marks Three of Twenty-five Species of Metalmarks!

Little Metalmark butterfly on bloom, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Shellman Bluff, GA

New Year’s Eve, December 31st, 2015 came and went, and I still hadn’t seen a Metalmark. Come 2016, and see here; I fixed that. Here we are with a rather fine looking right forewing and hindwing, of a Little Metalmark, in Shellman Bluff, Georgia. Meeting up with this Oh So Tiny flying winged beauty? Good, very good.

Angela and Barbara Ann invited me to join them in very south-central Ohio, and there I found as many as 50 Northern Metalmarks. How Happy I was that morning! Seems that I just love Metalmarks. I strive to capture the reflection of sunlight off of those scintillating ribbons of silvery strips. Here, I just about did, sort of almost.

Just weeks ago, I was in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, and at the National Butterfly Center, I saw Fatal Metalmarks. I will soon share these images.

Now I’m an owner of A Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America (Glassberg, 2017), and my education continues. There are 25 species of Metalmarks that fly in the United States. Some are residents here, others are uncommon migrants.

25 Species! What does one do, when one has seen 3 of 25, and just loves meeting new Metalmarks? What?

Jeff