Where? Well you already know we’re in Arizona. Just an hour and a half west of Phoenix, in that arroyo (dry creek bed) that I visited a couple of times, and almost lost it all to heat exhaustion (didn’t use my cell when I realized I was going down, that male stupidity ( Guilty! ), not wanting to inconvenience 911, when I thought that Brooklyn here had been through deadlier scraps . . . .).
I loved that arroyo, in White Tank Mountains Regional Park. The good sign warned to stay away, do not enter, for among the reasons, flash floods apparently rage through, when it rains. I never ever saw anyone else in that rock-strewn arroyo bed. Hope the Statue of Limitations is now up?
Well, mother-in-law moved back to Brooklyn about 6 months ago, from Sun City West, and that was why I went there in the first place. I for years wanted to also visit Portal, Arizona as Vladimir Nabokov did in his pursuit of blue butterflies, in the southeastern Arizona mountain system that included the Chirichaua mountains, sp?). Never got that off my list, for not ever finding anyone to join/guide me to good destinations in those huge mountains.
So I reminisce, seeing this sweet, sweet memory from that gorgeous/deadly arroyo, and think, . . . Adios Arizona!
Facebook has taught me a new word, “Arrgh!.” Just the perfect word for someone who is in Shellman Bluff, Georgia, chasing Little Metalmark butterflies, from tiny bloom to tiny bloom.
We’ve chronicled earlier that this butterfly is one of the tiniest in North America, and it prefers these tiny yellow blooms, which rise just 3″ from the ground. These little Tinkerbells of butterflies do not linger long on a bloom, nectar -up quickly, and they they are off to the next flower top, 4 feet away. Me, I’ve just scrunched down, Canon camera equipped with Macro-lens, and just when I am ready to capture that image . . . my ‘subject’ has flown, and me, I’m alone down there, ‘naturally. You must sober up then, remember how seriously you want a good image, how long you’ve travelled to get it, and how much you want to share . . . with . . . You.
My major objective? Those silvery metallic lines on forewings and hindwings. How do I want them? There lies the challenge. I want them as they reflect the bright coastal Georgia sunlight. I want to catch the “solder lines” effect.
Well, I seem to have achieved that here, in part. What does that mean for me? It means that I’m aching to get back to that little wildflower bed, and ‘cross the red zone’ and ‘score!’ an ever better look (Tonight is the Super Bowl).
Place your bets!
See that’s the thing. Twenty years in, and I’m still learning. Anxious to add new native butterfly targets to my home garden, I noted that friends and knowledgeable folks included Buttonbush, when asked “What are the best shrubs to add to a garden designed to attract butterflies?”
Some of my new adds in my Pittsburgh garden have been excellent: Common milkweed, Mexican sunflower (not a native, but a winner!), Asters,Greenhead coneflower. Others have disappointed: Clethra, sadly, never took.
I planted 3 Buttonbushes ( Cephalanthus occidentalis ) in our ‘peanut’ garden in June. All three flourished, but have a lot of growing to do, to reach that 3′ – 10.’ They prefer ‘wet feet’ in moist soil, and that part of my garden usually retains good moisture.
2017 may, should bring our first nourish of blooms, hopefully like these, met at the rich reserve of the Jamestown Audubon Center, in western New York State. Just down that same trail, I met a nice population of Baltimore Checkerspot butterflies. Nice trail that. Wetlands give.