The Oh Wow! Lily

Canada Lilies photographed by Jeff Zablow at Akeleyi Swamp, NY

The old railroad grade has been wisely converted to a good use, a nearly straight mile-long trail through a very, very large swamp. Akeley Swamp in western New York State. Barbara Ann and I were there in June 2018.

She was looking for native orchids and wildflowers. I was looking for  . . . butterflies. Hundreds of Common milkweed plants were in peak of bloom. I have never seen such a sight, millions of individual milkweed flowers, set on the globular milkweed flowerheads. Those milkweeds were at the beginning of the trail, and I must have had a Big smile on my face = This will be good, very good. Hundreds of butterflies must await us.

Nuh uh. We saw very few butterflies those next 4 hours. But, but, we had no time for disappointment, for 5 minutes on the trail, on a gorgeous morning, with hundreds of acres of swamp to our right, and compelling treed swamp to our left . . . we saw these! Canada Lillies (Lilium canadense).

Stopped both of us, in our tracks. You stop, you make sure you are seeing what you are seeing ( a ‘Pesci’ moment! ) and you whisper, “Oh Wow!” I mean, can these be real, or has someone stuck handmade plastic masterpieces along the left side of the trail here and there?

Well, they are real and they are magnificent. Lacking a special clamp to hold these blooms with their inner face looking to us, I am not able to share their attractive spotted inner petals. You must take my word that they sweetly sing to your eyes. G-d’s superb work, Junaisha.

Jeff

Comely Swamp Wildflowers

Wildflowers (Unidentified) photographed by Jeff Zablow at Akeley Swamp, NY

Akeley Swamp was a feast for the eyes and the other senses. It was late June 2018. This very western New York State Swamp sported several hundred thousand Common Milkweed blooms that sunny, windless day. Here and there we were treated to fresh Canada Lilies. At the tiny bridge over the trail, we could see the same Cardinal flower plants we’d seen before, they some 2 days or so away from spilling their lipstick-red blooms.

It was a flawless day, expect . . . for a dearth of butterflies. Happily, I did see my first ever Hickory Hairstreak butterfly. The air lanes were free of butterflies though. We discussed this odd lack of butterflies, but we had no explanation for it.

With fewer butterflies, I had more time to see it all. I saw these wildflowers, they growing on the edge of the Swamp. Real-time, this is exactly their color. I liked their look, guessing . . . Mallow?

Please be so kind as to help me ID them? They did charm me, but their name?

Jeff

Canada Lily and Dividend

Canada Lily and Tiny Darner photographed by Jeff Zablow at Akeley Swamp, NY

Late June 2018 and we’re at Akeley Swamp in southwestern New York State. You know what I was looking for. Butterflies. Along with that, there is always, always the possibility of comely wildflowers. The eyes don’t stop scanning, from minute one to back to the car (rental) time.

Was Asclepias syriaca, Common Milkweed in bloom? Yes. There were hundreds of flowerheads along the swamp trail, bearing hundreds of thousands of flowers. Few butterflies flew, that a disappointment.

One of the big Yippees! that morning was the discovery of Canada Lilies in fresh bloom. I tell you, you stood and stared at their stark rich red, and did so for several moments. What a sweet pleasure, that table set amidst the sea of green around it.

I liked this bloom especially, and as we, my Canon with its IS Macro- lens closed in on this one, look what I found!

Immature? An adult? Species? All I thought of was get this shot Jeff, for it’d be one fine post on wingedbeauty.com.

Do I have a crew of darner photographers to ID? I don’t think so, do I?

Jeff

Hickory? Yes? Yes!

Hickory Hairstreak photographed by Jeff Zablow at Akeley Swamp, NY

It should have been drums and trumpets! but I was buzzed anyway. Barbara Ann and I returned to Akeley Swamp, in very western New York State. That sunny morning, with barely a breeze, the last days of June 2018 lined the Akeley Swamp trail with hundreds, really, hundreds of healthy Common Milkweed plants. 90% of them sported big, globular flowerheads.

Irony was the word. Hundreds of thousands of Milkweed flowers, and so few butterflies? The oddest thing happened. My cell phone, zippered away in a pouch in my backpack, suddenly rang. Wow! Reception is such an isolated place. I opened the call, and found myself talking to my credit card company, about a fraudulent transaction. Iron because I flew into Pittsburgh to see family and photograph, and the action was so limited, that I was calmly talking a cell phone call.

Call ended (not so pleasantly), I went back to surveying those hundreds of thousand of tiny milkweed flowers, slowly and carefully. That’s when I saw this. Hairstreaks always stop one in their tracks. That because if it were a Gray, it would be good. A Striped would be better again. A Banded? Wow! White M? Unbelievable. A Coral? Am I dreaming? An Edwards? In Akeley Swamp? Astounding. Should it be an Acadian? That’d be my 3rd.

I stared and stared. It moved ever so slowly over the Asclepias syriaca blossoms. That’s when I came to realize that it was . . . a Hickory Hairstreak!!! Drums!!!! & Trumpets!!!! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Hickory before, and own no images of one. Glassberg in Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America? A “R-U” butterfly = Rare to Uncommon. Happy Days Are Here Again . . .

See, that’s the thing. When you photograph butterflies, you just, never, never know. Morning made, Yes, it must have never gone to modeling school, ’cause it just about never gave me a good look at it. That said, here’s my Hickory. Yes, ‘my’ Hickory. Thanks BAC.

Jeff