I imagine that you have yours, for I know that I have some myself. These decades of searching for butterflies in North America and the Middle East (Israel) have produced a very short list of butterflies that I especially love.
Here at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, along the Georgia coast, my imagination was caught by this native Sumac bush. It grew within. a foot or two of Woody Pond. That pond is the home of herons, storks, ibises, rails, egrets and alligators. Ellen Honeycutt has written of the Sumacs native to Georgia, and this Brooklyn boy was fascinated, Fascinated because 1/2 of my adult life, spent in and around New York City, I’d always heard that Sumacs (alien) didn’t belong, despite that there were 10’s of millions of alien Sumacs thriving thereabouts.
As I was examining this Woody Pond Sumac, it just beginning to bloom, who flies in? One of my butterfly favs, this Viceroy butterfly (Limenitis archippus). The Sumac kept it in partial shade, but the deep, rich color of this Viceroy was compelling, and there I was admiring a handsome specimen of one of my favorites, most beloved butterflies.
Decades of Love triggered, at Laura’s Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge.
“Wrought” is the word that popped into my mind. This evokes the work of Caron and Phyllis and Peggy and Sherrie and Yaron and Kenne and Marcie and Melanie and Kelly and the rest of you who go out and work to capture the beauty that can be found if you know where to look, what to look for and how?? to get it.
This moment in time, of a Silver Spotted Skipper on Liatris in rich bloom, was enjoyed at Cloudland Canyon State Park, Georgia. When I want to compare a slew of exposures taken in machine gun staccato, I sit there with my light box and loupe, and examine for positives, what are the positive captures in each image.
This one scored well. I was pleased with the translucent yellow cells of that left forewing, the right eye which seems to be keeping an ‘eye’ on me, the good look at the head and antennas, those right legs, the good position of the butterfly (not at center but a bit right of center), the absolutely yummy! color of fresh, happy Liatris and that comely green wash that serves as background (I’m shooting Macro- and depth of field helps sometimes). What did I miss?
August 2018 in a very sylvan National Wildlife Refuge, looking beyond the wood storks, egrets, rails, herons, lizards and alligators.
All reminds me of the wonders that H- has wrought.
That August trip to Townsend, Georgia was fantastic. I photographed butterflies and more in Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge (a national birder destination) and at Ft. Federica on St. Simons Island.
Go back in 2019? Oh, I hope. Little Metalmark butterflies and Eastern Pygmy butterflies eluded me, and I so miss these tiny winged beauties.
The coast of Georgia features a ‘necklace’ of very special refuges, and I never did get to Sapelo Island, Jekyll Island and . . .
My life will be forever richer for the sights and critters that I saw those 6 days, alligators, wood storks, egrets, great blue herons, green herons, rails and maybe 1,680 butterflies.
This was a big year for Gulf Fritillary butterflies, like this one, nectaring on resplendent Liatris blooms.
Good for you Georgia, successfully preserving so much of your Rich coastal habitat!
The trail skirted along the edge of Woody Pond. Laura was right, Harris National Wildlife Refuge was rich, rich in wildlife. It’s on the coast of Georgia, and those 6 days there in August 2018 delivered, big time. It’s a national destination for birders, anxious to see hundreds (yes, hundreds!) of wood storks nesting in vast rookeries there. Egrets, rails, anhingas, warblers, it’s dreamland for birders.
This image was taken in the 3-foot strip of vegetation that separates the trail I was on from the pond. That’s all well and good. What you need to know then, is that Woody Pond, just 3-feet away, is the home of maybe 100 alligators: 10-foot and 12-foot and 14-foot gators.
Looking at this gorgeous Viceroy butterfly nectaring on Sumac blooms that opened the day before was an unexpected treat. Ellen Honeycutt, for the Georgia Native Plant Society had just shared on Facebook of the high value of native Sumacs, and here I was watching a shmeksy butterfly! It was a Viceroy nectaring on day old Sumac blooms.
Know I was a bit cautious (Well very cautious) leaning into the Sumac-Viceroy OMG! moment. Why? Because that planted me less than 3 feet from Very, Very Big alligators, something that the mean streets of Brooklyn never prepped me for, Truth Be Told. Proof? You want proof? Well, that was the day after the News Media of the Southeast reported the death by Alligator of a woman in Hilton Head, South Carolina. She was apparently walking her little dog on leash at the edge of an upscale development pond, and the ‘gator charged them, and dragged the woman in, to her death.
Photographing Viceroys with blue spots at the very edge of Woody Pond on a native Sumac tree.