Milbert’s Tortoiseshell – Do you see what I see?

Milbert's Tortoiseshell Butterfly

Painters keep painting. Writers keep writing. Athletes keep playing tennis, softball and coach their beloved baseball, basketball or football, if they can. Gardeners keep gardening. Folks hunt and fish for a lifetime, if they can.

When I caught this image of Nymphalis milberti, at the Outdoor Gardens of the Phipps Conservatory, I was ecstatic. Her coloration was fresh and rich in color. Rarely seen, and at the southerly edge of its range, it was also well into the perennial beds, preventing me from stepping in to get closer. So, this image was taken at some distance, and each time I view it, I return to the same thought, I want to get a closer image of an equally magnificent Milbert’s.

So 2014 looms ahead as, I hope and pray, a bust-out year. Given limitations of time and $, I aim for some combination of destinations, to broaden our selection of butterfly images and knowledge. Challenge with a capital ‘C.’ I’m not Pyle. I am a member of NABA and Xerces. Nevertheless I have a paucity (an especially useful word here) of contacts and useful advice about the potential destinations that I want to get to: The Keys, Mts. Greylock and Everett, Mt. Meron, Ontario, Portal, a special locale near Albany, Telluride and Regal frit habitat. Fuji film, macro-lens, gluten-free wafers, Redwing boots, Brown hat and raring to go.

You see an image of Nymphalis m. I see challenge. Long drives, airports, motels (?), scouting for gluten free stuff- and then joy! Sheer joy ahead. G-d willing.


Question Mark Butterfly

Question Mark butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park

Aargh! I erred by not noting the date that I shot this slide. They show seasonal differences, helping us identify this as a “Summer form” Polygonia interrogationis. These Summer brood fliers have darker markings and shorter hindwing tails. If it were a Spring or Fall generation, the coloration would have been lighter and more orangey, with longer tails. So this must have been a late June or July photograph. I’ve got to be more careful with such things.

I notice often that my posted images differ from those of other photographers. This one here shows the butterfly resting in the high grass, a preferred morning situation for this butterfly. Many who share their butterfly images show the butterfly occupying nearly all of the image, with very little habitat included. I’ve given this much thought over time. The scientific extreme closeup photo or a photo like this one, showing the butterfly along with a good deal of its surroundings. I’m often tempted to pitch these into the trash, perhaps to conform to the general influence of those other field photographers.

But then I decide, Nah! I’ve always marched to my own drummer and I sometimes wonder how others got so, so close to these wary imagoes (That 19th century term for adults)? I’m also reminded that I don’t like it when media or movies bring their cameras right up to someone’s face. That seems too personal and shares skin features and blemishes that should remain hidden.