This my first meet-up with a Georgia Satyr butterfly. NABA’s Spring/Summer 2015 issue of American Butterflies featured an article, Definitive Destination: Big Bend WMA, Florida. It riveted me, and the very next year, in late August 2016 I drove down to Big Bend Wildlife Management Area. It was a super 5 days.
My images taken there were mostly good, but my Georgia Satyr shots disappointed me. They prefer to be inches off of the ground, requiring that you get down, down to their level. Sure you get down, robotically, and when you nearly reach their life space . . . they’ve flown. Several remained still in the early morning. That was good too, but the humidity was oppressive, the sweat cascaded down over my headband, washing my eyes in salt, every shot required that you first made sure that ‘bad’ snakes were not within your circle of activity, and the ‘No-See-Ums’ came divebombing in squadrons.
This shot here was the best I got. Slightly embarrassed, I shared it back then.
We got back last week from an April 2019 revisit to Big Bend’s Spring Creek Unit, and the lightly visited Old Grade tram (trail) delivered again. This time the very sameNo-See-Ums (sandflies) were worse than 2016, but we did spot 15 Georgia’s. My goal was to score a better image than this one.
The Fuji Velvia slides are back from Dwayne’s Photo, and Yes Ma’am, one of them made me smile. As soon as I can get them back from Rewind Memories in Pittsburgh, we’ll be sharing that one. If the scan does the slide justice, it’s color will be rich, it’ll have a pretty decent eye capture, and y’all (Did I spell that correctly, Virginia?) will see what a Georgia Satyr really looks likes, on a sunny late April morning in the Florida Panhandle.
Fuji film? Check. Camera and back-up camera (film)? Check. Batteries? Check. 40% Off!? Check. Coco Loco bars? Check. Babaganoush? Check. Merrell boots? Check.
Petra’s Wellness kibble? Check. Hills W/D? Check. Baked Wellness bars? Check. Ear cleaning fluid? Check.
Fishing rods and reels? Check. Fishing license (Florida)? No, get that when I arrive.
Knee pad? Check? Flashlight? Check. Alligator repellent? No, no such. ‘No-see-ums’ lotion? Nope, get that in Florida.
Getting ready to travel to Big Bend Wildlife Management Area and nearby St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge is a BIG challenge for me, as is the eventual Oops! when I come to realize that I forgot to bring . . .
All the above to cop new and more pleasing images of this Georgia Satyr butterfly. All that in the hope of seeing new ‘Lifer’ butterflies for me.
Big Bend and St. Marks can do that, they can bring new joy on a golden platter, rich as they are in butterflies and botany and wildlife.
April 2019 . . . Florida’s Panhandle . . . Yummy!
Miss this one too. It’s been some time since I’ve seen a Little Wood Satyr. Now relocated to the southeast, what I see are dozens and dozens of Carolina Satyr butterflies. With all respect to the Carolina satyrs, they cannot boast the oversized ‘eyes’ that this one sports. Little Wood Satyrs also give pause for a smile, as the bound about the forest edge with their near ridiculous flight, bouncing, bobbing and weaving.
They mean no harm, seem to be purposeful and give those of us who frequent those trails from Maine to Florida, North Dakota to Texas, sweet thoughts and quizzical looks. How the heck do they roam about the forest perimeter, carefree, when there are so many predators and predicaments just waiting for them?
I love Little Wood Satyrs and their Big ‘eyes’ and chocolate stripes. We are overdue, we are.
It’s mid-winter here in the Georgia Piedmont. I did see a sluggish Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly last week, on a 67F day, in my yard. That said, the general butterfly hiatus is some challenging. That’s especially so when I open Facebook and the Ian’s and Bill’s photos from the likes of what Peru, Indonesia and Bolivia, India. Mike and Javi put me over the top, when they share butterflies just seen in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas!
Their sweet images of impossible butterflies tease out the little boy in me, and I start thinking of images I have gleaned that ‘they don’t have.’
My many trips to the HolyLand jump out at me as I scan my Media Library, and here’s one that sure qualifies for an exciting find. This Lasiomatta megara emilyssa jumpstarted my blood pressure when I spotted him sunning on a rock on a trail on Mt. Meron, in the very northern Galilee region of Israel. HolyLand butterflies dislike close approach, and for that I stopped where I did, Macro- lens and all, for closer approach would have left me with zero images. They flee, and they flee at high speed.
This butterfly is not uncommon, but at the same time is rarely seen.
Do I plan to travel to Indonesia, Chile or Slovenia? No. But I’m booked for the Lower Rio Grande Valley, and kind friends continue to beckon me, to far, far away locales.
Scouring the Upper Galilee region of Israel for butterflies is a Joy! that I’ve done, many times. 99% alone, the entire time, amidst fields of fresh Spring wildflower blooms, I Thank G-d for the opportunity. I tell you I often stop, scan the meadows of the Kedesh trail, and struggle to understand why more folks don’t do the same? Thousands of years ago, They stopped their important missions, to amaze at those same species of butterflies, and here I am fortunate to do the same.
I am especially fond of Satyr butterflies, and this trip to Kedesh trail produced a good discovery. I was scanning the tiny stream that runs along part of the trail, it mostly dry, but recent rains left the stream bed wet enough to nurture a brown satyr that flew in. I quickly made my approach. Daddah! A handsome satyr butterfly. I carefully moved in and was thrilled to see this was a rare, Protected satyr, Parage aegeria aegeria.
Hot diggity dog! Those in my field guides bore tiny white eyespots, but this buster’s eyespots featured big, prominent white centers. I shot away, and quicker than that, he flew. Away and out of sight.
I love finding rare HolyLand satyrs. No scholar I, but, I have no doubt I’d just shared moments treasured by Them, thousands of years ago. I like that.