Rose and Jerry assured me that we’d find one of the most difficult of Southern butterflies, the Southern Pearly-eye butterfly. They inhabit moist, treed lowlands where cane grows. Glassberg in his Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America has Southerns as the most difficult of the Pearly-eye butterflies to locate.
Most difficult is an understatement. We met in the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge in central Georgia, U.S.A. and we headed out to what a Park Ranger forewarned me was a risky habitat that harbored mosquitoes that have transmitted diseases to earlier visitors! I’d grown up amidst a host of risks, and learned to live in a world of other risky situations . . . but entering that steamy, super-saturated lowland did make me wonder if the risk was worth it? Every step was a slough through mud that slowed you down to a crawl, the mosquitoes and flies were fierce, trees and limbs were down everywhere, breathing was difficult, the air hot and seemingly low in oxygen . . .
Rose and Jerry seemed undeterred by all of those negatives, they almost bounding through it all. Amazing, I thought.
Here’s one of the Southern Pearly-eye Butterflies that Rose spotted, and talked me over to. They were almost unapproachable, fleeing on my stumbling, noisy approach. No matter that, for here’s a fine, fresh Southern, and after examining it, study the terrain. See what I mean?
Thank G-d I did not contract any of those horrible diseases. Imagine, a habitat that makes you cringe, just thinking of it, yet a habitat that had all 3 of the Pearly-eye species that morning! All 3!!
Don’t we occasionally need to be reminded how fortunate we are? I had one of those epiphanies that morning when I entered that meadow in the Lynx Prairie Reserve in Adams County, Ohio.
Look and see what I saw. A trio of totally fresh Edwards Hairstreak butterflies, enjoying the rich nectar of just as fresh Butterflyweed blooms. Three gorgeous hairstreaks, they only yards away from the forest border and their hostplants there, Bear Oaks.
I shot away, copping this image, me the entire time thinking: How happy I was at that time, counting myself among the fortunate. There are perhaps 193,509,227 people living east of the Mississippi River. How many of them have ever seen this, as I did, in that meadow, just a handful of miles form the Kentucky border?
Glassberg’s A Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America introduces you to 16 Long -tail Skipper butterflies, historically seen in the continental United States. That’s a whole lot more Long-tail skippers than I’ve seen to-date. Most of those I’ve not yet seen fly in the southwestern United States.
This is the Long-tailed skipper butterfly that I’d see occasionally in the southwestern Pennsylvania area. This Long-Tailed Skipper Butterfly (Urbanus proteus) is seen daily here in middle Georgia. It’s one of those butterflies that make you smile, and I do when I see my first Long-tail each morning. Why do I smile when I see them? This one here is is a bit worn, but me? I just love when they fly in to where I’m searching for butterflies, and next they take a perch, much like our cat Jasmine seems to like being near me, but always keeping a bit of distance.
Where’d I meet this one. In the Butterflies and Blooms Briar Patch Habitat I in Eatonton, Georgia, in middle Georgia’s Piedmont region.
Long-tailed Skippers bring it on.
It’s been months for me and months for you. No? We haven’t seen a darner in what? Months?
Scrolling through our Media Library, I decided that it was time to share an image of a fine darner, set amidst the lush greenery that we also want to wade into.
This one met at OMG! Lynx Prairie Reserve in Adams County, Ohio, June, and just a handful of miles from the Ohio/Kentucky border.
After I dumbly caught a large darner in mid-flight, with my bare left hand when I was about 9 years old (that was more painful than I could have ever dreamed), not one of the 104,558 darners that I have met since have ever bothered me. I love darners.