Hal today posted a photo of a successful field experience. The 9 folks pictured at that pick-up truck, 5 years or so ago all looked pleased, whether they were beaming their smiles at the camera, or ‘posing’ for that same camera. Hal wrote that several had moved out of the area, and one had passed away since. That triggered a not so happy memory for me.
There just aren’t enough folks interested in ‘Nature.’ Me? It seems that as folks leave us, always too soon, the numbers of people interested in butterflies, orchids, grasses, bees, birds, snakes, turtles trees . . . never seems to increase. Fortunate we are if there are as many knowledgeable as there was 5 years before.
This Wood Nymph butterfly fascinated me, for that single not-so large ‘eye on its right forewing and those 3 tiny ‘eyes’ differ alot from the Wood Nymph butterflies I’ve seen these decades. Why was I at Clay Pond Refuge in Frewsburg, New York? Barbara Ann Case A”H ( or OBM) took me there, and I found butterflies alot, nearly all fresh, active and representative of northeastern USA wetland butterflies.
As Hal noted that his friend is no longer alive, Barbara Ann passed away just months ago, and her expert knowledge and love of field experience now registers as a great loss, with it seems, risk that no one will present themselves to fill the magical void that she has left. Her husband Sig passed just months after Barbara did, and their home will be sold, and the native, ancient orchids on their acreage, what will become of it?
Barbara Ann (A”H) and I were at Clay Pond Preserve in Frewsburg, New York, near Jamestown. It was a damp, humid morning, with the sun promising to return within the hour. It was early, as we waded through the 2-foot tall pond-edge grasses and sedges. As we moved, butterflies rose up from here and there, fleeing. There were more butterflies being rustled up than I would have expected. That reassured me that on that my second trip to Clay Pond, it remained a rich, healthy wetland destination.
I noticed this form in the grass ahead, and carefully making my approach, I kneeled down to get a better look, and this is what I saw, an Eyed Brown Butterfly (Satyroydes eurydice). The available light was limited, the air was moisture saturate, and the sky remain cloudy.
Almost like those TV shows where the cops are staking out a house, before sunrise or after sunset.
Decades of being on the lookout for Fab Common Wood Nymph butterflies with memorable forewing ‘Eyes’ and a few fit the bill. This one was discovered in the tall grass and sedges surrounding Clay Pond Preserve in Frewsburg, New York. This far western New York State wetland refuge is near Jamestown,New York.
This one lacked that bright yellow field around the ‘Eyes’ yet the eyes shone bright with their sweet orange rings around the black eye and its blue/white ‘pupil center.
There sure is variation in Common Wood Nymph butterflies, but nevertheless, this one . . . I love the look! Barbara Ann Case OBM” led me to Clay Pond Preserve, and I will miss her scouting, much.
The Wood Nymph butterfly on the left was seen in Clay Pond Refuge, near Frewsburg, New York.
The Wood Nymph butterfly on the right was seen in Raccoon Creek State Park in Hookstown, Pennsylvania.
Frewsburg is a 3-hour drive north of Hookstown.
The stark difference in absence of yellow patch on the forewings and presence of large yellow patch on forewings fascinates me. Populations living some 200 miles apart, and Big differences in coloration/’eyes.’
I’ll long remember seeing the Wood Nymph butterflies of Raystown Lake in Central Pennsylvania. They had Huge patches of very bright yellow! When Barbara Ann (“OBM) introduced me to Clay Pond, and I met the yellow-less butterfly seen above, Wow! was I puzzled.
Dang! I wish I was a student again, so much to explore/study.