We saw many Silver Spotted Skippers yesterday, as we went ‘shopping’ for perrenials at Nikki’s Dig and Design Nursery in rural Lizella, just east of Macon, Georgia. Nikki’s nursery featured thousands of perrenials, almost all nurtured and grown by her and her staff. Strong, healthy and robust plants that would do a fine job of bringing butterflies to your garden. I kept thinking yesterday, that YOU would find much that you are looking for, these last months, right there on Causey Road.
What’d we buy? Bronze Fennel. Turtlehead, Cardinal Flower, an Agasatache, Coneflowers, Blue Lobelia, Black and Blue Salvia and an Orchid (a houseplant). She had mature plants in the nursery beds that you would Love, and that would bring exquisite butterflies to you.
These 2 Silver-Spotted Skippers are where they want to be, perched on blooms (Teasel) that pump out tasty nectar, both compelled to fulfill their responsibility to produce a new, vital generation. They were at Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania. Living in Georgia now, I miss that state park, where I’d seen Goatweed Leafwing, Leonard’s Skipper, White-M Hairstreaks, Meadow Fritillaries, Compton’Tortoiseshell, Hickory and Banded Hairstreaks, Northern Pearly-Eye Butterflies and . . . .
True Confession? Many of the Skipper Butterflies are so similar, that even now, their identity eludes me. Take this one for example. I found it at Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland. This Refuge is very close to Chesapeake Bay, and its flora and fauna are vibrant and robust. It’s a bit more than an hour’s drive from Washington DC.
So, after working through Glassberg’s A Swift Guide to Butterflies, I offer that this one is a . . . Broad-winged Skipper, perhaps the only one I’ve ever seen. It was a bit large for a Skipper and was found near their preferred habitat, tidal marshes.
It’s Memorial Day today in the U.S.A.. We remember those who lost their lives serving America. I read Jim Gilbreath’s post on Facebook, and it got to me. He shared with us memories of two wonderful young men, lost in battle. It got me to thinking of the so many young men and women I taught and got to know in New York City and in Pittsburgh. Have any fallen in battle, in service of their country? My artillery unit (155mm towed) was not sent to Nam . . .
It got me to thinking about how amazing! the United States is, and now I am pleased that you gaze at this little butterfly, the Silver-Spotted Skipper butterfly. It is an all American butterfly, and it flies somewhere in your state, all year in Florida, and from April to October, depending where you are. It is an energetic, spirited butterfly, not flashy, no show-off, kind of much like our men and women in service.
Where did we meet? It was totally absorbed in sipping the nectar being pumped by this Liatris plant, at Cloudland Canyon State Park in the northwestern Georgia mountains. The Liatris in our new 800 garden will be opening in some 2-3 weeks from now, or so.
If Uncle Sam had sent my Howitzer battalion to Viet Nam in 1968 . . . how many times have I thought of that? Me a 1st Lieutenant, the kid from Brooklyn, our cannon sending rounds up to 35 miles . . . Not much time for admiring butterflies from another world . . .
NB, And Cathy’s Billy, lost serving our country . . .
We met in a dry Arroyo in White Tank Mountains Regional Park, west of Phoenix. I reflect back to that day, and first I remember how risky this was, for signs warn to not enter dry Arroyos, dry stream beds.
This Skipper butterfly found these flowers, among the few in bloom in this super dry habitat. I did see butterflies, actually quite a few, in that Arroyo. Problem was I knew much about eastern USA butterflies, and little about these Western ones. The good news, during those 4 or 5 trips to White Tank Mountains, while visiting my mother-in-law, I lucked out, sometimes seeing rare butterflies, as the Arizona Powdered-Skipper.
So I ask y’all, can you help in once and for all identifying this Arizona skipper, seen in this dry Arroyo? No other images taken, in that 94F hot place.
When I began searching for butterflies, favorites and less favorite butterflies followed. After seeing thousands of Eastern Tailed Blues and thousands of Pearl Crescents, I became saturated, eventually passing them on trails, without stopping to examine or admire or to gaze. Oddly, Spicebush swallowtails now bring minimal excitement to me, though I’ve planted Sassafras to lure them in (?).
My 20,000th Silver-spotted Skipper butterfly too found me less than excited when I meet one. Yesterday, the closely related Hoary Edge Skippers we saw at Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge (Juliette, Georgia) excited me, for they are rarely seen, and yesterday they were beautifully tinted and so very fresh.
Here’s a Long-tailed Skipper butterfly seen at the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia. Know that each and every one that I see rivets my attention. Why? I’ve only begun seeing them in 2015, so they’re newish to me. For reasons not fully clear to me, I have this desire to find ever fresher Long-Tailed Butterlies, fresher yet than I’ve ever seen.
I go with these impulses, trying hard to not examine them any more than I have to.
Long-tailed Skippers, bring them on, please.