Where Do You Find A Salt Marsh Skipper?

Katalin photographed by Jeff Zablow at Pigeon Mountain, 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

Skipper On Buttonbush

Unidentified Skipper Butterfly on Buttonbush photographed by Jeff Zablow at Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, GA

We were searching late in the season Buttonbush, growing at the edge of Pond 2A at Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge in Juliette, Georgia. Buttonbush is a native wetland plant whose blooms are excellent nectar bars for many butterflies. It’s just as wonderful to see it growing in Akeley Swamp in far western New York State as it is to see it 960 miles south in the Georgia Piedmont.

I set it in my natives garden in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania . . . and just 3 days ago purchased some healthy young Buttonbush at Nearly Natives Nursery in Fayetteville, Georgia.

The skipper here? Wouldn’t it be nice if one of you shared a definitive ID?

Skipper Bingo!

Twin-spot Skipper Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, GA

We met at the butterfly garden at the Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge at the Georgia coast. It was early morning, a sunny one, and Gulf fritillaries, Longtail skippers, Cloudywing skippers and others were mobbing the mostly abundant flowers. I was glad to see them, but I wanted to meet new butterflies there.

This one was perched on this little plant, and I looked, and looked, and I could not make it! I came to realize that it’s a new southeastern butterfly for me. Bingo!! How much do I Love seeing new butterflies? This —————————– much!!

A coastal butterfly, found along the Atlantic coast all the way around Florida to eastern Texas, this Twin-spot Skipper butterfly was a fine-grade of chocolate brown.

Glassberg’s A Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America characterizes it as “U-LC” that is Uncommon to Locally Common.

Every year I see new ones. I love that. Travel to see new ones, for I love butterfly “Bingo!”

Jeff

Whirlabout at Fashionable St Simons

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

I asked Virginia, born and raised on a dreamy island on the Georgia coast, where I might find a goodly number of butterflies there. I waited, and Virginia suggested Fort Federica, an 18th century British fort built on the river, to fend off Spanish armadas that were anticipated.

She was right, for once I drove to tony St.Simons Island, Virginia’s hundreds of sylvan pastures, marsh and woods were gone. It seems the wealthy long ago eyed the Island, and St. Simons is covered with developments, just about all upscale, many very upscale.

I did find the butterflies I was looking for, lots of them, flying in the National Historic Monument, protected and privileged.

I remember when he flew in. You couldn’t miss him, festooned in comely orange and blasting those large black spots. I thought that I was glad that I shoot Fuji Velvia slides, for I wanted his rich color to share here.

A small grass skipper, that brought a smile to a certain photographer of butterflies, on a fabled island, once a British town and fort.

Jeff