What do I think? I think that 1 in 71,209 Americans know this butterfly. Critics probably argue that 1 in 94,456 Americans know of it.
True, my interests run to butterflies, but true again, when hikers come along trails I’m scouring for butterflies, trails rich with butterflies, I always stop them and ask, “Have you seen any butterflies along the trail?” The answer is alway, “No.” I smile, and they continue along their way. They are not attuned to looking for butterflies, and just don’t notice them as they work their way along trails.
Kind of the opposite situation exists when I work trails and habitat in the western United States (or on occasion in the eastern U.S., where farmer have told me they have seen Cougars, and park rangers and park office staff always defuse any possibility that Cougars live east of the Mississippi River). West of the Mississippi, I am a bit distracted, for there have been times that my sense of being watch rises to its highest . . . .
This Harvester butterfly, Feniseca tarquinius is “LR-LU” (Locally Rare-Locally Uncommon). It is found nowadays in Parks, Refuges & Habitat Reserves, where Alder trees/bushes grow and running streams are not far away.
The more I get deeper into pursuing butterflies, the more it tickles me that otherwise heavily university educated, expert so in their own interest or pursuit, know zero of butterflies, and the Harvester might as well be a John Deere!
Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania, 8 hours by car, due west of New York, New York.
Sometimes we look back, sometimes fondly. Here, I’m looking back to a Wetlands Study field trip we took, was it in 1998? What memories this releases. I’m here, taking this photo, and this was the one and only time we had another high school teacher along, she in the middle row at the right.
For almost everyone in this pic, Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania was their first time out of the city of Pittsburgh, and for most, their first experience in a wilderness. They were my Biology students at South Vo-Tech High School, on Pittsburgh’s Southside.
I tell you I look and look at this pic, and I smile, smile much. Who among them will ever forget this trip into a wonderland they’d never known before? Which of them will take their kids, whom I expect they now love, to such sylvan, magical places, to wonder at wildflowers, trees, butterflies, frogs, lizards, weasels, great blue herons, red-wing blackbirds, millipedes and Oh so much more?
I feel good, like I knew that I would!
Here’s one of my images that has long been prodding me, urging me to use it for a wingedbeauty.com post. Why have I kept it locked away from your sight? Try as I will with field guides, I cannot be sure which Duskywing butterfly it is?
A beauty it is, seen in Raccoon Creek State Park in Hookstown, Pennsylvania, about one hour west of Pittsburgh, and about 20 minutes or less east of the West Virginia-Pennsylvania line.
I dislike admitting, but Duskywings and many Skippers, well, they challenge, alot. Curt, Harry, Ken, Dave, or Jeff or Mr. Pyle, they’d all know.
We’re in our new home, of 3 months now. We moved from Eatonton, kind of sadly leaving our backyard, some 120′ x 120.’ That yard now has more than a hundred ( 3 hundred?) natives Georgia plants, set in 8 new, extensive beds. Almost all are hostplants for butterflies native to or occasional migrants to middle Georgia.
We moved to Macon area, and our new backyard already had about 20 large azaleas and others plants. Again we’ve been adding Georgia natives, including Black Cherry trees (3), Linden (Bee tree or Tilia) (2) and our neighbor next door now has two rare Florida Willow trees set in along the creek running through his property.
Native cherries, Linden and Willows are the hostplants for this attractive butterfly, the Red-spotted Purple. They fly throughout Georgia, and they have been my trail companions for decades, as Jeff quietly sang “I’m Just A Lonely Boy, Lonely And Blue, I’m All Alone With . . . .” especially during the years that Frieda L”H was valiantly battling Cancer. Often they’d follow me on trails, in the very same Raccoon Creek State Park (southwestern Pennsylvania) pictured here.
Our Black Cherry, Bee Tree and the neighboring Florida Willows are in and all growing robustly. We’ve set the table for Red-spotted Purples and we await their arrival, much.
Bergamot, that northeastern member of the mint family, will be open soon in meadows through that part of the USA. A fine strategy is to locate a stand of this 2-3 foot tall perennial, and return there the next day(s), on a sunny morning. Why? You will have an excellent chance to see and shoot butterflies, moths and more than make it their business to visit the Bergamot, it pumping out sweet nectar those morning hours.
This morning here, I was richly rewarded when a fresh Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly showed up, and as they do, furiously hovered over the Bergamot blooms, imbibing its nutrient rich nectar. Those purplish-blues of the right hindwing ventral surface glisten in the morning sun, the rich coral spots please, and the purplish-blue of the abdomen against the white spots of the body add to the beauty of this swallowtail.
Doak Meadow in Raccoon Creek State Park, Hookstown, Pennsylvania.