I don’t know how many of you share this addiction, but for me it’s real and I can’t kick it. When I’m out there, on those magical trails, let a butterfly appear, and more often than not, I’m searching for its dots and patches and stripes and epaulets. Those searches are rushed, for how long will the butterfly stay, when will it fly off, at speeds that sometimes exceed 40 miles per hour?
Spots and such mesmerize me, and always have me hoping that I’ll be seeing the finest spots I’ve ever seen before. Sometimes they are!! and little a little boy, or a total teenager, I am totally zonked!
Other addictions of mine? None, I think, ‘cept my usual idiosyncrasies, which let’s agree we needn’t go into.
This Gray Hairstreak was seen early in the morning in the Outdoor Gardens of the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Phipps is perhaps the finest Greenhouse Conservatory in the U.S.A.
She has beautiful spots, no?
Sure this is one of my favorite butterflies. I’ve seen Milbert’s Tortoiseshell butterflies several times. Always an OMG! butterfly, for when the morning is doing just fine, and you’re having good success with butterflies here and there . . . . One flies into your field of view, and it’s not a this or a that, its . . . OMG! a Milberts!!!! Battlestations!
That how I’ve felt when I’ve seen Milbert’s, a northern butterfly for those of us east of the Mississippi River. I remember each and every time I got that healthy buzz. Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania (2x) and here, Bonkers! unexpectedly in the middle of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the Outdoor Gardens of the Phipps Conservatory.
When the upper side is at a 90 degree angle to the strong morning sun, and your eyes are level with the wing surface, the sunlight dances on those reddish-orange wing bands. It looks just like fire! dancing. I saw this with my own eyes at Raccoon Creek. I subsequently read such an account in one of the butterfly field guides.
I’ve learned to temper my tales of Milbert’s, for when I ask folks here, there and everywhere, have you ever enjoyed a Milbert’s, my statisticians count a 99.874% No. Keep vigilant, for if you’re there enough, you just may.
Who’s seen a Milbert’s?
We’re in a butterfly year that for sure challenges. Butterflies are flying, but aren’t you seeing them less often, and in reduced numbers? Don’t you work your trails thinking, ‘I miss the Eastern tailed blues, duskywings and American coppers that usually monitor me as I move along this or that trail?’ and ‘It was so much fun watching the Wood nymphs play Peek-a-Boo with me just 2 or 3 years ago!’ Totally “Missed seeing Monarchs surprise us all and come on stage” to resounding cheers, in June!
That’s the year I’m living here in ’16. Then who does this year seem to belong to, at least for now? I say, the Tiger swallowtails, Papilio glaucus. Males are almost everywhere, doing the wild and crazy swooping, diving, swerving and otherwise wild flying in search of females. Their females have certainly played hard to find, too.
Enjoy your Independence Day, and report back, won’t you?