Late June 2018 and we’re at Akeley Swamp in southwestern New York State. You know what I was looking for. Butterflies. Along with that, there is always, always the possibility of comely wildflowers. The eyes don’t stop scanning, from minute one to back to the car (rental) time.
Was Asclepias syriaca, Common Milkweed in bloom? Yes. There were hundreds of flowerheads along the swamp trail, bearing hundreds of thousands of flowers. Few butterflies flew, that a disappointment.
One of the big Yippees! that morning was the discovery of Canada Lilies in fresh bloom. I tell you, you stood and stared at their stark rich red, and did so for several moments. What a sweet pleasure, that table set amidst the sea of green around it.
I liked this bloom especially, and as we, my Canon with its IS Macro- lens closed in on this one, look what I found!
Immature? An adult? Species? All I thought of was get this shot Jeff, for it’d be one fine post on wingedbeauty.com.
Do I have a crew of darner photographers to ID? I don’t think so, do I?
It’s been far too long since I’ve seen these beauties! This White Admiral Butterfly wowed! me in that amazing park in the middle of Toronto, Canada. I was there visiting a new friend, and when we went to that mid-sized city park, I saw this tiny path off of the main walk, dropped off into it, and entered a Shanghrai Lai. A pocket meadow filled with common milkweed and other blooms. Wowza! On them were more mourning cloaks then I had ever seen before, as well as other fresh butterflies.
Then this flash of sharp white, and my first ever White Admiral ( Limenitis anthemis a. ). Happy was I to add this to my life List.
These last 3 years have finally, finally brought me new friends, in diverse places, who actually answer my tentative: ‘What’s it like to seek butterflies where you are?’ with “What’s it like? Why don’t you get your bahookee (hope that’s a civil word) over here and see for yourself!” That’s how I’ve gotten to shoot out Georgia, Ohio and Maryland.
Canada has many butterflies that I have never yet seen, or have seen once, worn and bird struck . . . but no one yet to show me a trail here, a meadow there, a swamp, rocky outcrop, fen or bog ( I hear tell that they have many bogs ).
So I wait. Oh Canada!!!
Today is Memorial (Decoration) Day 2016. Many of the interactions I’m seeing are very touching and some are tinged with downright sadness. Many have lost loved ones, who fought with their own blood and life to keep us free. They taught us that in PS 244 in Brooklyn. It stuck. My Dad served in WWII. I served in a 155mm artillery unit in the NYARNG.
As my thoughts circle the gravity of this Day, I remember something I often concentrate on when I’m shooting in the field. I remember several times a year that I want to get a better shot of the underside (ventral) of the wings of Red Admiral butterflies. Opps have been elusive, but I am wired to be on the lookout for more and better.
Why? Because that Red, White and Blue that you see here reminds me of our American flag, which I have alway admired. Red Admirals are fast and wary, and I keep seeking to best this image, which must do . . . for now.
NB, This one was nectaring with 100% concentration on Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). This year I have about 40 of those Monarch hostplants in my own garden. It’s easy, and it’s so giving, to butterflies, moths, flies, bees . . . and more.
Not this morning. I just came back into the house, after checking the front and sideyard Common Milkweed plants. Most of the 40 or so flower heads have gone to seed now, and with just 7 or 8 still in bloom, that nagging thought returns.
Back in the house, to my Neumade slide cabinet, I took out all of my Monarch slides, and checked their dates. The oldest of them lacked pencil-written dates, though one from June 2002 gave me pause. June 2002, a female nectaring contentedly on Teasel. Who among us in the last 3 years has been fortunate enough to see that?
My July ‘keepers’ were taken where this image of a female was taken, in Raccoon Creek State Park, just 45 minutes west of Pittsburgh (8 hours west of New York City). July 12th and 27th, respectively.
My August best were taken in August ’09, ’10, and ’12, and ’14. The Septembers are dated ’07, ’10, and ’14.
I just don’t want to ever have to say to a young, interested child, “This is a picture of a Monarch butterfly, when they used to . . . . ”
Resigned to bad news, no. But I want this winged beauty in my future.