Don’t we occasionally need to be reminded how fortunate we are? I had one of those epiphanies that morning when I entered that meadow in the Lynx Prairie Reserve in Adams County, Ohio.
Look and see what I saw. A trio of totally fresh Edwards Hairstreak butterflies, enjoying the rich nectar of just as fresh Butterflyweed blooms. Three gorgeous hairstreaks, they only yards away from the forest border and their hostplants there, Bear Oaks.
I shot away, copping this image, me the entire time thinking: How happy I was at that time, counting myself among the fortunate. There are perhaps 193,509,227 people living east of the Mississippi River. How many of them have ever seen this, as I did, in that meadow, just a handful of miles form the Kentucky border?
It’s been months for me and months for you. No? We haven’t seen a darner in what? Months?
Scrolling through our Media Library, I decided that it was time to share an image of a fine darner, set amidst the lush greenery that we also want to wade into.
This one met at OMG! Lynx Prairie Reserve in Adams County, Ohio, June, and just a handful of miles from the Ohio/Kentucky border.
After I dumbly caught a large darner in mid-flight, with my bare left hand when I was about 9 years old (that was more painful than I could have ever dreamed), not one of the 104,558 darners that I have met since have ever bothered me. I love darners.
Saw a Coneflower growing just inside the entrance to Lynx Prairie. Angela had promised that Lynx Prairie preserve, Adams County, Ohio would be a June bonanza, and those Coneflowers were among the first Wowsas! I’d met that week. I grown Coneflower in my gardens in my houses going back to what, 1980? I never, never knew that Coneflower, purple Coneflower is a native. A Native American perennial!
Some minutes later, when I got separated from the 5 others, I too quickly thought that Brooklyn boy had been . . . ditched. Used to working alone (naturally), I headed out on my lonesome, and shortly, still alone, entered a large meadow. That’s where I smiled from ear to ear, for that’s where I met dozens of very fresh Northern Metalmarks, our first meeting ever. That’s where I met lots of also very fresh Edwards Hairstreak butterflies, they were so colorful that they surely must have eclosed the day. before, or that morning.
My mouth must have been gawking (kind of open and part of a silly grin) at those Edwards Hairstreaks, Northern Metalmarks, Coral Hairstreaks, Monarchs, Great Spangled Fritillaries & Mystery Fritillary (no pics) that I saw that morning.
OMG! times, just a handful of miles from the Kentucky border with Ohio.
Ohio turned out to be a Goldmine for butterflies. I drove there from neighboring Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, knowing that Angela and Barbara Ann would find orchids, and that would mean that I’d find . . . butterflies. I had no idea that we’d meet Dave and Joe and Flower and Deb and others, that meaning that our chances of success rose exponentially!
When my incurable roaming caused me to be separated from them in Lynx Prairie Refuge in Adams County (very southern Ohio), I thought that morning was going to be a bust for me.
That never happened. My solitary hiking brought me into a magical prairie/meadow, and there I had a Clint Eastwood, Make My Day! experience. In that prairie meadow I found rare Northern Metalmark Butterflies. I treasure metalmarks, and appreciate that any of their species are local, short of flight period and hard to find. Yippee!
Here’s one of them, a fresh Northern Metalmark Butterfly, hard to find, ‘Locally Rare’ (Glassberg, A Swift Guide to Butterflies) and spectacular, especially when the sun bounces off their incredible metallic streaky lines on their hindwings.
The right time, right place and right friends!
I’m still stuck. Still thinking Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Long Island, New York. Still programmed to think of the first week in September as the week to literally wave bye bye to butterflies, until approximately 8 months until that first Cabbage Whited is spotted once agin, in . . . late April?
Open your eyes Jeff, as you sit now in Eatonton, Georgia, home of there Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat, that now world famous home to dozens of species of butterflies. To that add my own 303 Garden, with 25-50 butterflies aloft at any given time. They first appear here in early February and fly through the last week in November. Imagine that, this year Boy Blue’s birthday falls on Thanksgiving Day and something called Rosh Hodesh . . . for Jeff, a Trifecta!
So I relax, ratchet down, knowing that true we won’t be seeing the Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly and the Edward’s Hairstreak Butterfly (Lynx Prairie in Adams County, Ohio) until at least very late June, but we in the South will be winging Welcome! to our butterflies . . . in early February! A minor Miracle for this young man from . . . the concrete, asphalt and brick of Brooklyn, New York!!