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 . . . .
For us, finding a butterfly 1 millimeter from bird droppings, with its proboscis extended into the white part of the bird scat (poop), is expectable, even a relief. Why? We know that lots of butterflies will remain in place, even on our practiced approach. We know why.
For those of you who do not pursue butterflies, who do not try to capture fine images of them, this scene is . . . what? Disgusting.
Understand this. This Spring Azure Butterfly is probably a male. He surely has flown for hours. Why? Flow here there and everywhere, seeking a female. His DNA is continuously instructing him to find a female, and couple with her. This to insure that this fine male’s strong characteristics are propelled into the next generation.
Why bird scat? Why the white, liquid part of bird poop? That white glomp is actually the excretion produced from the bird it came from, rich in the Nitrogen released from the muscle proteins that have kept the bird aloft, those same muscle protein becoming worn-out, and in need of replacement.
This Spring Azure is harvesting that Nitric Acid rich excretion, will use the Nitrogen in it to synthesize (form) new wing muscle protein, vital to the coming hours of near continuous flight, until those females are met.
The working of the Universe is amazing. Hey, I loved to teach High School Biology. Loved it. (Raccoon Creek State Park, southwestern Pennsylvania, 8 hours west of the Sopranos’ New Jersey).
Like most of us, I’d seen images of butterflies from the tropics, Cuba, Mexico, Central America, India, Africa, Viet Nam, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Argentina, Peru . . . Long did I sort of want to have worked those exotic trails. Funds, time, friends to accompany, those all stymied me, as well as the strong desire to never be kidnapped.
Our trip to the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, what? 2-3 miles from the Mexican border delivered the miracle cure for those longings. This Erato Heliconian Butterfly was a exotic as any I’d ever get to met in any of the destinations above. Those lipstick-red wing bars and their 90 degree positioned whitish stripes, all set against ebony black wing, mesmerized.
I could get no closer than seen here, but no difference, for that Memory is engraved in my brain. The last week in December, Christmas week, and Oh My Goodness the sight for my sore eyes.
When we select ‘3 or 4’ of our images to be printed and hung on our our Macon, Georgia walls, this one may well be among them. I remember that morning in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat, as if it were yesterday.
I’d gotten there early, that Eatonton, Georgia morning, and I was near shocked to find this pair of Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterflies, coupled together on a smallish plant. Quick examination left no doubt, this was one of the most beautiful possible visions that one could possibly see.
My thinking, my own thinking at such times? That G-d’s creative crafting, as I crouch there, looking at it, far exceeds that of anything ever crafted by the world’s finest jewelry workshops! That’s what I thought then and there, that warm, sunny morning in Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat
We’re now in our North Macon, Georgia a full year, having moved in on March 31, 2020, during the heart of the Covid-19. Our home is pleasingly decorated, although there are severals wall that are ready for decorative pictures.
There are 3 or 4 of our wingedfbeauty.com images that I want to turn into 8 x 10 prints. This image of the Northern Pearly-Eye Butterfly is one of them. That I was able to approach this skittish butterfly species was a Miracle. That this one remained in place, in that dappled early morning light another Miracle, and that it was 99.9% fresh yet an additional Miracle. The Nichol Road Trail at Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania, a 45-minute drive from Pittsburgh, my home for those 27 years.
Many have been wonderfully loyal these more than 10 years, and I wonder which of our pics you’ve enjoyed? Has there been one that so pleased you . . . that you recall it? I have several in mind, to have printed and archival framed, to enjoy for my duration. I am open to learning of any that You prefer.
Not sure I’ll get responses, but I do want to find out. I do.