A Very Special Image Of A Pygmy Blue

Little Metalmark butterfly at rest, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Shellman Bluff, GA

As we prepare for our August drive to the Golden Islands of the Georgia coastline, this image brings back sweet memories of my first trip to that region, with Nancy and John. I wanted to meet, for the first time, Eastern Pygmy Blue butterflies and Little Metalmark butterflies.

My old friends knew where to search, and we found them! All of them!

I Love this image of the dorsal (upper) surface of an Eastern Pygmy Blue Butterfly. You must know that this is one of the USA’s tiniest butterflies, and they fly just inches above the ground. It is written that they almost NEVER open their wings to show their dorsal surface.

When your own image of a butterfly’s upper features is finer than that of the 2 best field guides, that warms the heart, encourages the Will. Pleases Jeff a whole lot.

Jeff

Back To The Future For Little Metalmark Butterflies

Little Metalmark butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Shellman Bluff, GA

Is this the best of my images of Little Metalmark butterflies? Maybe. I’m maybe too hard on myself here, for photographing them, as we did here on Shellman Bluff, on the Georgia coast, is beyond difficult.

Why Jeff, why are these gems of a butterfly difficult to capture on an image? They elude your serious efforts to shoot them because: 1) They are about 1/3 the size of the nail on your pinky (1/4?) 2) They fly about 4 inches above the ground 3) The flowers they nectar on are about 4 inches above the ground 4) They rarely stay in place, moving over the flowerheads, forcing you to refocus, refocus, refocus, . . . . . . . . . 5) The air of their habitat is very hot and super saturated with moisture, causing the sweat to cover you (me) 6) You must get your body down, way down to shoot them, and they move, necessitating that you rise and again reposition yourself.

That said, I was determined to shoot these Gems of Shellman Bluff. Determined. This one survives being pitched into the trashcan, and it begins to show the beauty of their metallic lines, when they reflect the sun’s rays.

What’s this all leading to? We return to Shellman Bluff in August, and if we find these Little Metalmark Butterflies, and if the weather cooperates, and if they are a fresh flight and if . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Me? I can’t wait. Of course Jekyll Island, Sapelo Island, Little St. Simons Island, they all are the Siren’s Song for this Jeff.

Jeff

Tinier Than A Two-Year-Old’s Fingernail

Eastern Pygmy Blue butterfly sipping nectar, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Shellman Bluff, GA

Imagine a butterfly that is tinier than a 2-year old child’s fingernail! Add to that it flits from tiny flower to tiny flower, frustrating the gentleman trying to capture a Macro- image of it. Where does it fly? Just a handful of inches (5″) from the ground.

I was determined to capture some OK images of such an Eastern Pygmy Blue Butterfly. We found them in 2 locations along the Georgia coast, Shellman Bluff and Jekyll Island.

Here then is an image of one of North Americas’s littlest butterflies, the Eastern Pygmy Blue Butterfly, seen in Shellman Bluff, along Georgia’s Atlantic coastline.

Tinier than a baby’s fingernail, it is.

Jeff

Rare Pygmy Blue View

Little Metalmark butterfly at rest, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Shellman Bluff, GA

Glassberg’s wonderful A Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America notes that “Eastern Pygmy-Blues rarely open their wings when landed.”

I’d remembered that. After quite a long time spent shooting them in Shellman Bluff, Georgia, this small miracle happened. I came upon a fresh Eastern Pygmy Blue butterfly that landed, for a brief moment. Then . . . it opened its wings and kept them open for moments!

I must have smiled from ear to ear, for this “rarely” is seen.

Here is a rare view of butterfly beauty. I took it. I much appreciated this opportunity, this day in Shellman Bluff.

Jeff

Lilliputian Metalmark

Little Metalmark butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Shellman Bluff, GA

Nancy and John had a proven spot to find Little Metalmark butterflies. I was very, very excited to finally meet them. When we arrived at the spot, I was amazed. Amazed.

The Little Metalmark butterflies were tinier than tiny! Photograph them? You had to crouch down and constantly move your camera, as they methodically worked the equally tiny flowerhead of these yellow blooms.

Scoring a good image? A Big Challenge. They move, you adjust your camera. They move again, and again and again. My goal was to catch those silver-looking bands as they gloriously reflected the strong Georgia coastline sun.

I’d find an especially fresh Little Metalmark, only to watch it fly to another flower. I’d have to get up once again, from hugging the ground, and reposition myself. I did this over and over and over again.

The late morning sun was merciless, the sweat ran down my forehead, and these Cartier-like gems kept doing there bounce from bloom to bloom hunting.

Here’s one of my more satisfying images. Lilliputian Gems, those Little Metalmarks.

Jeff