Trails, Meadows, Forests, Fens, Roadsides, Marshes, Bogs, and Swamps. I cannot count the number of times that we work our way through diverse habitat, and there! is something new to me. Never seen before.
Me? My encyclopedic knowledge of fauna and flora is NOT encyclopedic. I have come to peace with myself, I no longer ‘Beat myself up’ for not knowing a myriad of wildlife and plants. With trees, shrubs, annuals , perennials, orchids I now am more than Happy to stop, admire, and reflect on H-s work. The overwhelming variety impresses me. That I am impressed with what I see in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, Arizona, Florida, Israel, Canada and in a few days, Texas. This all pales, when I consider that in Mexico, Alaska, Sri Lanka, Sicily, France, Bolivia, Brazil, Poland, Australia, Iran and beyond, 99.98% of species will remain unseen by these eyes.
This mushroom stopped me at Lynx Prairie Reserve in Adams County, Ohio. There, Dave and Angela and Barbara Ann approached that ‘encyclopedic’ level of species recognition. I remained silent, happily impressed.
I tried to wrap my mind around what I was seeing. This evokes that startling time back in the late ’80’s. I was alone in the elevator, going down from Al Gorin’s office in the very tony French building at the corner of Madison and East 57th Street, itself a super 4-way in NYNY. It stopped, the door opened, and in strode a very comely women. Tall and handsomely dressed, Diana Ross and I chatted as we descended down to the building lobby, with its priceless deco elevator doors and lobby decor. Used to seeing stars in Manhattan, always at some distance, Diana was just gorgeous. Me? Well, I was Happy. Vegas’ odds of me riding an elevator with a beauty (me who seeks butterflies and visited Sotheby’s & Christie’s regularly ?) like Miss Ross, like impossible.
Felt the same when Dave and Joe called us to this small Spurge wildflower at Lynx Prairie Reserve in Adams County. As Janet, Barbara Ann, Angela and I all leaned into these tiny blooms, they Id’d this moth as a very, very rare, threatened moth that, along with the Spurge, is mostly unknown and unseen. The moth was almost never seen, and lacked a permanent name. What! Another plant and moth shoved to the edge of the species precipice? I stood there, as I did in the elevator, struggling to grasp the extraordinary moment and the wealthy of beauty before me.
What’s that word? Hyperbole? No hyperbole here, honest. Curt?
The big boys at Lynx Prairie Reserve were there, flying in good numbers to Butterflyweed, Coneflower, and other wildflowers. Examining those great Spangled Fritillary butterflies, Edwards Hairstreaks, Monarch butterflies and those other butterflies I saw there.
I was on the lookout for other fresh butterflies. Adams County, Ohio was just what Angela said it could be, a rich land, nurturing rare wildflowers and orchids, as well as big flights of butterflies, moths and other insects.
What and how would I react to say a fine, fresh Eastern Tailed Blue butterfly? Shoot it of course. I did and here it is.
I was still kind of stunned to be in prairie . . . in Ohio! Somehow, through good fortune and the wisdom of folks who fought to protect Lynx Prairie Preserve, this very, very unique eastern prairie has been preserved, for all to enjoy. Fortunately, most don’t visit there; they are lost to the allure of asphalt, brick, concrete, steel, neon and such. Me? I grew up with that stuff, asphalt, concrete, brick. Following Angela, Joe, Barbara Ann and Janet into a prairie? Words can’t be summoned to properly describe how happy I was to finally see my, my prairie.
I’m telling you it was lush. June 2017, and an open prairie full of wildflowers. Full too with butterflies! My beat. Butterflies.
Here, very healthy Butterflyweed is deep in that comely shade of orangish-red, and must surely be pumping sugary nectar like a micro-gusher. In came this Zebra swallowtail butterfly, joining an Oh! so fine Edward Hairstreak, all on the Lynx. They are doing weed as is appropriate.