Stats once again. It is my belief that 0.00038% of Americans are able to ID the Skipper butterflies of the northeastern United States, or the southeastern United States, etc. This translates to less than 4 people in 10,000 who can tell you the name of the Skippers where they live in the United States.
Self consciously, I admit to have difficulty identifying Skippers. This one here, seen at Clay Pond Reserve, in Falconer, New York State? Is it a Long Dash Skipper?
What it is, is fascinating. Starkly beautiful. Met in thigh-high grass in on marshy land, just 30 feet from the pond. Resting, though I forever wonder how they make the decisions they do, as here, to take a break. What is the level of conscious decision making?
This stuff triggers me, that’s for sure.
It’s Skipper time. Here we were, at Clay Pond Reserve in western New York State. My eyes are peeled for Satyrs, Viceroys, Monarchs, Wood Nymphs, Angle wings. Rare and/or beautiful wildflowers are also appreciated.
The grass is thigh high, and the going is slow, for though the pond is only 50 feet away, this is a very wet read very wet meadow.
You see what I saw. A very beautiful skipper on a lush, colorful bloom. Arrgh! I try to make believe that I don’t see handsome skipper butterflies, because there are so many species of them about and I never did develop a working ID program in my head, to tell one from another skipper species.
That moment though, I thought, Hey! this is one of the more interesting Skipper species, it is totally occupied as it nectars the full flower head, and it’d make a fine image, if I can capture what I see and share it well.
June 2017, and I make this as a Long Dash skipper, nicely adorned, eyes good and proboscis well extended. And Barbara Ann, he is sipping at this (what kind do you think this is?) bloom.
That River Grand Valley trip, a week at the National Butterfly Center, Bensten State Park and the nearby ‘Wall,’ dished up dozens of butterfly species new to me. A constant rush-rush-rush of butterflies I had never seen before. I mean, as I work to recall what we saw, and without instantaneous digital feedback, I am now and then gifted with a recollection, like the one I had yesterday, that a mental vignette: Not only did I want to see the uncommon Mexican Fritillary, but my luck cashed in, when I saw and shot away at a fresh pair of mated Mexican fritillaries!
So now I spend good time recalling so many of the butterflies of the USA that I have been fortunate to have seen, and shot.
High on the list of what Jeff’s seen is this one, a fresh Arizona Powdered Skipper, met just where it should have been, some years ago, in a bone dry arroyo, in White Mountain Regional Park, west of Phoenix, Arizona. I found this one, on a boiling hot day in the desert, in these low mountains, and if you can keep a secret, in the bed of the arroyo (where I actually should not have been).
I count myself among the 0.0014% of Americans who have ever had the pleasure of a meet-up with the Arizona Powdered Skipper. Am I a Lucky Boy, or what!
You just don’t see many skippers in the HolyLand. Coming from the United States, I think 10 times since 2008, my personal conclusion is that skipper butterflies are not found in great numbers in Israel. Why that may be so, I do not know.
Thinking that Israel’s intense summer heat deters skippers, does not work for me. I have visited the mountains west of Phoenix, Arizona several times, and I’ve seen skippers active in arroyos, when the morning temperatures flirted with 100F temperatures.
This little beaut was seen in the Crocodile River Nature Reserve, near the Mediterranean coast. We met on a trail in the Reserve, and I worked hard, trying to score a good image. This one does not resemble any of the North American skippers that I know. My Israeli field guides are not of much help.
As happens here, this one shall go unnamed, not ID’d.