Skipper Time

Skipper butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow in White Tank Mts., Regional Park,  AZ

How much is too much? It’s been quite a long time since I spotted this skipper butterfly in a dry arroyo in the White Tank Mountains Regional Park, west of Phoenix, Arizona. There weren’t many butterflies there at any given time, but I came to realize that almost any butterfly you saw in that other-worldly habitat . . . might be new and exhilarating!

Almost all I saw there, on many trips to that surreal arid region, refused to tolerate close approach. This view shall have to suffice, though it’s pretty good, and the Fuji Velvia 50 slide film I used is always color true.

So much time has gone by, and now I am determined to take a stab at it. Eufala Skipper (Lerodea eufala)? Ken? Jeffrey? The NABA cognoscenti? Curt?

Jeff

Those Waning Birthday Hours

Unidentified Skipper Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Fort Federica, Saint Simons Island, GA

Five hours left in my Birthday day. Facebook has brought around 100 Birthday greetings! from so many. Some I sort of expected, but many others were a Happy surprise. I was, well a bit aglow that so many fascinating, skilled, unique people really wanted to be friends, took the time and buoyed me.

I’ve seen how some go out to find butterflies in groups, once in a while in near mobs. I almost always go solo, and I forget each year, how my singular scouring of the field impacts later on so many. The long drives, the rented cabins, VRBO’s and Homeaways (Airbnb made a poor choice recently, politically), the frequent getting skunked, the expen$ive film, for I seem to be a color purist, the late in the day return to my rental, usually with Petra just gleeful to see me. It can be isolating, if it weren’t for the Holy Cows! that happen now and then, and have me jumping for joy like a 14-year old.

Few ever reach out or volunteer to show me the treasures of their region, state. Almost never am I met and guided to favorite habitat. NABA mucky mucks never reach out and when I rarely share on NABA, the extended ‘hand’ fails to appear.

So . . . this happily received outpouring all day today, from the USA, France, Sri Lanka, Israel ,Canada, Poland, Brazil and Pittsburgh, well, I Love it!

Virginia suggested I try Ft. Federica in August, on now posh St. Simons Island, Georgia. The fort reeks of important history, what with the anticipation of a Spanish Armada sailing up the river, to be stopped or to see the slaughter of the men, women and children of that brave fort and the community built around it.

This skipper butterfly was met in the meadows there at Ft. Federica. Perhaps Curt or Ken or Dave or . . . some NABA leader will come forward and ID. This is my only image of it.

Jeff

 

Common Checkered-Skipper (Female)

Checkered Skipper Butterfly on Lantana photographed by Jeff Zablow in the Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, GA

They were rare sightings back in Pittsburgh. I don’t ever remember seeing Skipper butterflies in the New York City metropolitan area or in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts.

Here in Georgia, they are that big word, ubiquitous, seen alot, in most places. They fly low, fly away on your approach, in sum, a very at arms length butterfly.

This one here, she was seen in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia. I see many more males than females, so this gal, preoccupied with lantana blossoms, was a nice capture, on a hot sunny Georgia morning.

Jeff

Where Do You Find A Salt Marsh Skipper?

Saltmarsh Skipper photographed by Jeff Zablow at Harris NeckNational Wildlife Refuge, GA

Exactly! And that’s where I met this handsome example. This Salt Marsh Skipper was nectaring in the ‘butterfly’ garden at the Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge near Townsend, Georgia. We were at the coast, just moments from the nearest Saltgrass, their hostplant.

They fly in the salt marshes of the United States, from Massachusetts, along the coastline all the way to Texas. They among the grass skippers. They’re easy to identify, with that long horizontal pale strip on their hindwings.

They are very kind, much tolerating the intrusion of the Macro- camera lens, to just inches from them. It seems that nectar near totally dominates their being, and my approach, no problem!

They ground me in reality. We sometimes get too big for ourselves, asking why this or that creature ‘deserves’ to continue its existence. Would not a nice development of fine homes be more important than that  population of skipper butterflies that lived there for say, 200 years? Uh, NO. I’d say that there are some 200 or more good reasons to splat! that suggestion, as we do to Musca domestics on a July day.

Jef

Rare Arizona Skipper

Arizona Powdered Skipper Butterfly at White Tank Mountains, AZ

I so admire those who share rare butterflies on Facebook. I went to the Lower Rio Grande Valley in December 2017, and Whoopee!! I had several fantastic days, seeing butterflies that there’s no way you could expect to see, in a year or in a decade. Examples? Erato heliconian, Red rim, Tropical greenstreak, Malachite and Gold-bordered hairstreak.

Sharing images and anecdotes? I enjoy doing that. Especially when the butterfly’s like this one, a rare and little seen Arizona arroyo (dry stream bed) butterfly, the Arizona Powdered Skipper.

Where’d we meet? In that arroyo I found in White Tank Regional Park, 35 minutes southwest of Sun City West. Won’t discuss the advisability of those hours scouring the long arroyo, partly because working that boulder strewn bone-dry arroyo nearly cost me, everything.

Pleased to share one that you might never ever see, I am.

Jeff