There we were at Big Bend Wildlife Management Area in Florida’s Panhandle. It was a search for southeastern butterflies, and we found them: Georgia satyrs, Palamedes swallowtails, Tiger swallowtails and more, much more.
It sure surprised me when we spotted this one, a Little Wood Satyr butterfly (Megisto cymela). I’ve lived in Georgia for less than 3 years, and this one? I always associate Little Wood Satyrs as northern butterflies. They’re found in all of the northeastern states of the United States, and further west all the way to the Dakotas, Oklahoma and Texas.
A careful examination of its range map shows that Little Wood Satyrs are found in northern Florida, and that’s where we were.
Watching this sweetie fly onto this leaf, to take in the early morning sun, brought a smile. A small butterfly, it brings to mind that childhood fav, Tinker Belle, that Peter Pan companion.
It brought a smile, and a thought. I thought that this little butterfly deserves a tune, to celebrate its discovery that morning, at Big Bend.
The tune? I so hope y’all come up with just the right one . . .
Isn’t that how life often unfolds? I was working the Wetland Trail at Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania. I reached the pond edge, and slowly moved along the shrubs that grew inches from the water. My eyes are trained now to spot things different, butterfly-sized.
There it was! Mama Mia!! The first Bronze Copper butterfly I’d ever seen. Stay calm, Jeff. Slowly prepare to shoot it. I was so excited, for the early morning sun was at my back, there was no breeze and the sky that morning was blue. Glassberg in his A Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America has this species as “LR-LU” (Locally Rare – Locally Uncommon).
I’ve only seen one a single time after that, and that was years ago. Was this a chance meeting? After a lifetime of sometimes fighting, living amidst sometimes danger (very), watching helplessly as Frieda A”H slipped away, and those years of carrying long steel on my person, I’ve come to see such a bit differently. Here I am, and I’ve endured much, yet lookee, lookee, I am now sharing A Bronze with you, my Bronze, and a beaut!
For me, a Thank You G-d moment.
Decades of searching for butterflies, and by now I’ve seen a lot. I remember many of those encounters, and this meet-up continues to be among my favorites.
Why does one of 50 trips to find and shoot butterflies stand out in one’s mind? When I came upon this Tawny Emperor butterfly, very early on a Raccoon Creek State Park morning, I was stunned. I do not exaggerate. This butterfly, basking in that early morning sun, was so so very handsome looking, with its complex wing markings and seemingly over-sized wings.
Tawnys are not very common. Hackberry Emperor Butterflies are much more common. I have written of this encounter here, before. It moved me, much. I realized that I was shooting my 50+ exposures, working to capture one of the finest Tawny Emperors ever!
This very image adorns our dining room wall. It so reminds me of the beauty that G-d creates, for us to note, and acknowledge.
We found him in a meadow on Pigeon Mountain. We were in the northwestern corner or Georgia, the Georgia mountains, close to Cloudland Canyon State Park. He was basking in the warming early morning sun. Butterflies, especially male butterflies benefit from the morning sun’s comforting warmth, enabling them to begin flying at top speeds, rather than seeing them up to risk reduced speed, and probable predators.
This male Eastern Tailed-Blue butterfly is a handsome Lep, and one that stands out from those I’ve known these last decades. Those I’ve seen in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Ohio. Toronto, New Hampshire, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia and Delaware had orange Spots on the trailing edges of their dorsal (upper) hindwings. He lacks those orange spots.
Is he alone is not having dorsal hindwing orange spots? Do all of the Eastern Tailed-Blues of the Georgia Mountains and nearby Tennessee lack them? The Western Tailed-Blues have them, but they now are found some 1,700 miles west of Pigeon Mountain.