I’ve Seen 2. You?

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My best meeting with a Striped Hairstreak (Satryium liparops) took place a very long time ago. I was looking through a small ‘butterfly garden’ at the old HQ of the Powdermill  Reserve Refuge in Rector, Pennsylvania. The refuge was in the lush, sylvan hilly country known as the Laurel Highlands, with Ligonier nearby. This region gets heavy tourism, what with Frank Lloyd Wright’s world-renowned Fallingwater, down the road in Mill Run and the very lush Bear Run Reserve across the road.

There, stationed on a leaf, I met this Striped Hairstreak. It was fresh, intricate and plain gorgeous. I shot away, it remained in place, moving only slightly in the next minutes! I tell you I kept marveling at how G-d had Created so much, including this tiny beauty.

Glassberg’s A Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America cites the Striped Hairstreak as “R-U” (Rare -Uncommon), with “one rarely encounters large numbers.”  Several years later I did get (for the first and only time in my life) banned from Powdermill, preventing me from much returning to that bountiful Reserve to perhaps again meet a Striped.

So, I’ve seen 2 Stripeds in my time. How many have you seen?

Jeff

Calling All Striped Hairstreaks

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I haven’t seen one for years, many years. They fly from Toronto to Northern Florida, but I haven’t seen one for more than a decade, much more than a decade.

Here’s the first Striped Hairstreak that I ever saw, at the Powdermill Refuge  in Rector, near Ligonier, Pennsylvania. I’ll never forget such a beautiful butterfly, it remaining for many minutes, serene and unphased by my Macro- approach.

Glassberg’s Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America describes them as “R-U” (Rare-Uncommon) and after having been banned from Powdermill, I’ve not seen one since. Come to think of it, that is the only place I’ve ever been banned from?

Just moved to the Macon, Georgia(Where Little Richard grew up) and feeling-Striped Hairstreak deprived, we’ve planted 2 Black Cherry trees, their hostplant. Calling all Striped Hairstreaks . . .

Jeff

My Striped Hairstreak Butterfly

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Forgive me, but I am very pleased with my capture here of a fresh Striped Hairstreak butterfly. Tiny, like all hairstreaks, it startled me when I first eyed it. I was looking for the usual larger butterflies, in the Powdermill Reserve of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, in Rector, Pennsylvania. Rector is in the sylvan Laurel Highlands of south-central Pennsylvania, and finding such a tiny, “Rare-Uncommon” butterfly there, should not have been a surprise to me.

When my Macro- lens came closer and closer to this beauty, it remained in place, and I marveled at how magnificent it was. A shmeksy! butterfly that is never found in abundance, and is alway seen as a solitary specimen, alone, naturally.

This is one of my early finds, and Yep, it stoked my passion to work to find and shoot common and uncommon butterflies, fresh, colorful and reminders of the Gift that we continue to receive.

Jeff

Meadow Fritillary? Huh?

Meadow Fritillary Butterfly at Rector, PA

Just today, a FB friend posted an image of a Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly, ID’ing it as a Meadow Fritillary. That reminded me of how fortunate I have been to have seen several Meadow Frits in these many years in the field.

Here’s a male Meadow Fritillary that I met in the reserve of the Powdermill Wildlife Refuge in Rector, Pennsylvania (the Laurel Highlands in central Penna). There was a summer once when I was there almost every morning, ’til a hostile Director told me to not ever come back. Powdermill habitat is rich in wildlife, e.g. that’s where I met my first Eastern Timber Rattlesnake . . .

Meadow Frits are small, fly with dainty grace, just inches above the ground. They appear fragile, with that tiny head, and have those oddly arched wings.

You can understand why folks who encounter them go, ‘Huh?’ Despite Glassberg’s shared “East LC-C” my extensive experience is they are not common and never locally common. Moist meadows and grassy field disappear by the day ( a developer’s dream, no trees to remove ), so you see a Meadow Fritillary, and you have every reason to be pleased . . . “Jackpot.”

Jeff

The Dog Days of August

 

Darner dragonfly and grasshopper in spider web photographed by Jeff Zablow at Rector, PA, 8/22/05

Darner dragonfly and grasshopper in spider web photographed by Jeff Zablow at Rector, PA, 8/22/05

What thoughts shoot through your mind when your trail brings you to this? It’s August in Powdermill Refuge in Rector, Pennsylvania (45 minutes southeast of Pittsburgh). You’ve already noted several large webs, all spun here by Black and Yellow Argiope spiders. Webs were notable for their composition. Each seemed to have its own unique design. Some held tiny insects, other webs, web strands, naked.

This web. Oh, look. Location. location, location, as your realtor will tell you. This female Argiope has the Laurel Highlands equivalent of New York’s Madison Avenue & East 57th Street or crossroads in London, Paris, San Francisco, Mumbai or Munich, the last 5 of which I do not yet know.

This early morning view is an eye full, and a little upsetting. Her strong protein fibers have captured and held an Elisa Skimmer (“widely distributed in northern states and Canada, but seldom becomes abundant” – National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders) and a grasshopper I am not able to identify. The grasshopper has been skillfully wrapped around in numerous web threads, the skimmer has not been wrapped. Both are still and surely gone.

Dreamers who aspire to piloting swift jets daydream of flying with the skill of Elisa skimmer. Field and track athletes certainly admire the feats of a grasshopper. All the soaring and jumping . . . stilled by those mighty threads.

What think you of this scene?

Jeff

NB, I thoroughly admire Argiopes and orb weaver spiders, complicated as these situations can be. Also, that morning, I saw no butterflies in webs. To be honest…Good.