How Many Long-Tailed Skipper Butterflies?

Long-Tailed Skipper Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in the Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, GA

Glassberg’s Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America introduces you to 16 Long -tail Skipper butterflies, historically seen in the continental United States. That’s a whole lot more Long-tail skippers than I’ve seen to-date. Most of those I’ve not yet seen fly in the southwestern United States.

This is the Long-tailed skipper butterfly that I’d see occasionally in the southwestern Pennsylvania area. This Long-Tailed Skipper Butterfly (Urbanus proteus) is seen daily here in middle Georgia. It’s one of those butterflies that make you smile, and I do when I see my first Long-tail each morning. Why do I smile when I see them? This one here is is a bit worn, but me? I just love when they fly in to where I’m searching for butterflies, and next they take a perch, much like our cat Jasmine seems to like being near me, but always keeping a bit of distance.

Where’d I meet this one. In the Butterflies and Blooms Briar Patch Habitat I in Eatonton, Georgia, in middle Georgia’s Piedmont region.

Long-tailed Skippers bring it on.

Jeff

Love & Skipper Butterflies (Clay Pond, NY)

Skipper Butterfly II photographed by Jeff Zablow at Clay Pond Preserve, Frewsburg, NY

We were in high grass, working our way along the perimeter Clay Pond in very western New York State. This wetland preserve was rich in grasses and the wetland pollinating flowers you’d find in a pond habitat.

Barbara Ann is expert identifying native orchids, and I’ve been seeking butterflies since what? 1995?

It’s the little Skipper butterflies that I have much difficulty identifying. Lehman, Pyle, Zirlin and some others of you are more adept at determining the Skippers.

I love these little pookie butterflies, especially when they are fresh, vividly colored, and I admire their energy, purposefulness and courage, what with so many predators about.

Curt, Bob, or Harry, can you help with ID’ing this robust fella, with his long proboscis and splashed of bright yellowish orange?

Thanks.

Jeff

Twin-Spot Skipper How Do You Do

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

We made the brief acquaintance of this “U” for Uncommon (Glassberg, A Swift Guide to Butterflies) Twin-Spot Skipper in Laura’s Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge. Yes it was a rush to see a seldom seen and very fresh skipper butterfly, perhaps the 3rd I’d ever seen. My move to Georgia continues to reward me with these kinds of thrilling moments, seeing butterflies that are seldom seen by even the most avid butterfly seekers.

Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge? Highly recommended. It is the home to so many much sough butterflies, wildflowers, botany, birds of wetlands and dry, insects, big alligators and baby alligators, snakes and more and more.

Fortunate you are when one such as Laura takes the time to urge you to head out to a destination, one that she knows is full of G-d’s creations, especially for me, butterflies.

Jeff

Imbibing Sweet Nectar In The Briar Patch

Male Black Swallowtail Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in the Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, GA

The Tithonia (Mexican Sunflower) achieved enormous growth there in the Briar Patch. Virginia’s tiny seeds produced 8 foot tall Tithonia. She’d tell you that yes, they were not native to Georgia, but, they were strong, robust sunflowers, easily tolerate the Piedmont’s long bone-dry summers, self-seeded and nourished legions of butterflies, year after year.

I’ve planted Mexican Sunflower here in my own Eatonton garden, and their vigorous growth and absence of pests enables them to provide nurture for butterflies from June to November. For the price of a packet of seeds, you get Tithonia that neatly fills whole corners of your sunny garden spots and summons squadrons of swallowtails, brush foot butterflies, hairstreaks and many skipper species.

I suppose that they must also make fine cut flowers for your home vases, and if grown in your front garden beds, they’ll have your neighbors asking, “What is that gorgeous big flowering plant you’re growing there?”

This Eastern Black Swallowtail is fully involved, methodically working this Tithonia flowerhead. His golden yellow flashes, blue patches and shot of red/red, against black wings and black body handsomely fitted with white spots, works nicely here with the developing Tithonia bud and sweet Tithonia flower, all set in a clump of Tithonia, that blocking the sunlight that brightens the rest of the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat.

The richness of plants and butterfly here is real and as with all we share, the color of it all, real-time.

Jeff

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