Tiny Scintillators

Little Metalmark butterfly on bloom, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Shellman Bluff, GA

Yesterday I posted a pic of Little Metalmark butterflies. Had a very robust response. That was good, for I favor these tiniest of USA butterflies, and they stoke my desire to see more of them. More than that, I want to best these images of 2016.

The right wings of this one help explain why I want to revisit the Georgia (USA) coastline. That right forewing approaches the capture of their beauty. The right hindwing, well it misses, by too much.

If, if I can get back there, and if I can refind those Eastern Pygmy Blue butterflies, as well as the Great Southern Whites, and the other Blues that fly the Georgia coastal wetlands . . . you’ll know it, ’cause you’ll hear my war whoop!!! all the way to Frewsburg, Golden, Lilburn, Whidbey Island, Eatonton, Sri Lanka, Vegas, Montrodat,Tucson, Summerville, Warren, Vancouver Island, Paris and countless other places where our good friends live.

I’ll need sun, changes of headbands to mop the sweat, killer Off! 25%, liters of water laced with electrolytes and success with my new iPhone use of GPS.

Alone? Naturally. Almost all that wingedbeauty puts up rely on my finding butterflies sans local support/knowledgeable butterfliers. That’s why you hear my shouts as often as you do, I am amazed that I find what I find (often the result of heartfelt pleas to G-d, me requesting that I not go home only to be told on line, that Hey! you were just 200 feet from an active colony . . . . If only you had . . . .)

Jeff

Another You’ll Never Ever See?

Rare Skipper, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Brunswick, GA

Flipping the pages of my copy of Jeffrey Glassberg’s Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America (Princeton University Press, 2nd Edition), I stopped often, to acknowledge how fortunate I’ve been these years. I stopped on page 392, at this little under-appreciated, the Salt Marsh Skipper. Glassberg notes they are “U-A.” Uncommon to Abundant.

They fly from Rhode Island all the way along the coast to Texas. That sounds like a great swath of the United States. Yet, no. They’re only found in salt marshes that line the coasts of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. That’s just say from Rhode Island all the way to Texas, but, that Big but, just in the Saltgrass, perhaps no farther than 50 feet or less from the waters’ edge.

So those in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi Louisiana and Texas can only see a Salt Marsh Skipper if the search for it within some 50 feet of the shoreline, in Saltgrass.

Sort of hidden in plain view, no? John and Nancy led me to this one, in Brunswick, Georgia. Another one you’ll likely never see?

Jeff

The $100 Question?

Rare Skipper, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Brunswick, GA

That $100 question is . . . . Where must you head out to, if you are desirous of  meeting a Salt Marsh Skipper? In my case, the Crosby’s and I drove to Brunswick, Georgia. We wished to see and shoot Eastern Pygmy Blue Butterflies and Salt Marsh Skippers.

Why did we go to Brunswick, on the Georgia coast. Because to find Salt Marsh Skippers, you have to find their habitat, coastal salt marshes. Off we went, for my hoped for 1st view of Panoquina panoquin.

Bingo! Coastal marsh dwellers, they were challenging, alighting on these small yellow flowerheads, and remaining in place for fractions of seconds. No complaint mind you, for that sunny morning these coastal marshes were spectacularly beautiful, and we were treated with a menu of wetland birds, including hard to find Roseate spoonbills, very methodical working the marsh edges with their fascinating bills.

Our Salt marsh skippers spend their whole life living in salty or brackish marshes. I remember as a kid, spending all of those summers at Grandma Polisar’s tiny bungalow in Rockaway Beach, Queens, New York. Every bungalow in that little ‘colony’ had an outdoor shower, a little wooden affair, which scarily housed huge (? were they) spiders in their corner webs. You always showered after spending those 9 AM to 5-ish PM at the salty Atlantic beach. How do these skippers live 24/7 in a habitat just covered with briny salt? Well, that’s why they get the tag, butterfly ‘specialists.’

Jeff