We’re a Limited Edition, those of us who love and pursue butterflies. I often wonder if wingedbeauty.com is the only true butterfly blog in the USA? I usually think that that can’t be so, for when I travel, and meet some like us on trails, I offer them my ‘business card’ (masterfully produced by Moo), I get little reaction, a brand of ho-hum. NABA too has never smiled at wingedbeauty. That’s gotta mean there are several dozen butterfly blogs about?
So my band of merry men and women I share this shot of a butterfly that Jeff thought about for many years. I had never seen a Gemmed Satyr, and should you read that post we shared, my interesting association with gems and jewelry nurtured my interesest in seeing the Gemmed. Phil guided me, in Hard Labor Creek State Park in the Piedmont region of central Georgia. Gemmeds prefer dappled shade, and this one flew lazily from one leaf to another, all in the shade of the trees above. I think I asked G-d to help me there and then, for my Fuji Velvia 100 film could not do this sweetie justice in full shade. Walla! It flew next to this leaf, presented itself to me with this excellent pose, and I saw and shot my first Gemmed Satryr.
We’re fast approaching Christmas and Chanukah, and Mr. Jeff’s mind is leapfrogging ahead to 2019. What other ‘Rare-Locally Common’ butterflies do I much want to introduce myself to in 2019?
Diana fritillaries, those very large gorgeous fritillaries in northern Georgia and Mitchell’s Satyrs in Alabama. Scoured the northwestern mountains of Georgia this 2018 for Diana, but without success.
Who’s going to guide me to my Dianas and my Mitchells? Don’t yet know. 24 years at this have found serious butterfly folks to be more than reluctant to do so. I’m just a lonely boy, lonely and . . . .
‘Jeff’s Earrings’ served as my first pick, responding to Caron, she asking what may be my 5 favorite butterfly images. My first photo was shared here yesterday.
Caron 2? For many years Raccoon Creek State Park was my favorite destination. Doak fields there is a more than 100 acre meadow, where after 3 to 4 hours, I usually saw not a single soul there. Perfect! After those hours in the summer sun, I would hike back to my truck. That 3/4 of a mile hike, went along a moist area, with trees on each side. For many years, I would see Northern Pearly-Eye butterflies fleeing ahead of me. They preferred that short stretch of Nichol Road trail, enjoying the dappled shade, moist forest borders and nearby little stream. I scored few shots of them, ever.
This time, about 4 years ago, my eyes searched the low growth of the trail edges. There it was, a very, very fine Northern Pearly-Eye. It was a good size and . . . it held to its leaf.
I so, so slowly made my approach, decided not to cop ‘insurance’ images. I was going in, robotically. I’m pretty sure I had Fuji Velvia ASA 100 (faster) film in camera. I began talking to this gem telepathically, ‘Don’t go, don’t go, Please.’
Pearly-Eye remained in place. I was no down on my left knee. Good. I slowwwwly raised my Macro-lens. Good. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Perhaps 35 or more exposures.
I waited the 2 weeks or so to get my slides back from Dwayne’s Photo. You must remember that day, Caron, for that day you heard a muffled scream of Joy!! when I louped them on my lightbox. Several were worthy of Caron’s List, Yippee!!!
More than 20 years of field work, seeking butterflies. All that time, here and there, I’d see shared images of Malachites. Big, big butterflies sometimes seen in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, and in southern Florida. No problem trying to figure out what they are when you spot them, for there’s nothing else like them. You think you see a Malachite, then it’s a Malachite. The size, rich minty green encapsulated amongst dark border, leaves no room for doubt. Problem was, I’d never seen one. Texas delivered my first ever Malachite.
Our previous wingedbeauty post was an Erato Heliconian butterfly. Uncommon in the LGRV, but onstage for my last week in December 2017 visit to the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas near the border wall. I was just miles from Mexico.
This Malachite here was seen relaxing on a broad leaf, in dappled shade. It was very close to where I’d seen the Erato. A fine, cooperative subject, it held this pose for some time, enabling some 4 or 5 folks the opportunity for good shots.
Many minutes after holding this wings fully open pose, it closed it’s wings, providing us with many minutes to study and photograph its ventral wings. It was magnificent. Some of the others had seen Malachites before, and I heard it said that this was the finest one they had seen. Good, very Good.
Me? I was thinking again of the craft of the D-signer, and I was reminded of those moments in my life when I was close to celebrity. They poised; coiffured and confident. That’s our Malachite here.
Awe, elegance, those kinds of words shoot into your thinking.