Your heart beat jumps when a Milbert’s Tortoiseshell Butterfly flies in! Mine does. You just never see them in pairs or threes, and do you expect to see one? No. East of the Mississippi River, they are a northern butterfly.
When this one flew in, and set on this Teasel flowerhead, I was so Thankful for being there, being there then. Add to that the Milbert’s slowly worked the Teasel flowers, one by one, methodically. Better yet, it did not flee when I made my long, protected Macro- lens approach. Icing on the tiramisu cake was that the one was . . . gorgeous. Just look at that flash of nourishing orange on the dorsal surface of that right forewing.
I’m humbled by such limited experiences. I expect that few of you have been so fortunate as I’ve been, to have met and spent many minutes with Milbert’s (this one went to several Teasel flowerheads before it flew).
Raccoon Creek State Park, Nichol Road trail, southwestern Pennsylvania, about an 8-hour drive from the Statue of Liberty boat landing.
(Teasel is an alien plant, FYI, although truth be told, many, many butterflies adore its nectar (as do bees, such as the one shown on the far side of the Teasel)).
I was captivated by the sweet beauty of those Small Copper Butterflies (Lycaena pulseas timeus) flying in the meadows surrounding Neve Ativ. That skiing moshav (village) on the slope of Mt. Hermon enjoyed lush wildflower meadows that Spring, and its Copper butterflies bedazzled.
She nectared long on this flowerhead, no rush, no concern. Her little stubs of ‘tails’ were there, and she had those faint blue dots on her hindwing.
Lycaenidae flying in the Golan of Israel, yummy!
She was nectaring on native Teasel flowerhead. When I found her, my rocket-fast examination of her wings gave me a sugar jolt! She was extraordinary. There’s always that 1/35th of a second moment of apprehension. Would she leave before I could position my Canon Elan 73 film camera with its Canon Macro- 100/2.8 lens?
Long time ago, very fine photographers, at Pittsburgh’s Filmmakers, opined that it’s preferable to position your main subject somewhere other than at the middle of the image. No time to do that here, for such a once in 10-years female Tiger might, probably might, go, go to another flowerhead or totally go.
I’m a ‘men,’ and some of us remember beauty long after we’ve been Blessed to meet it. I remember this one. The rest? We’ll leave that alone.
Raccoon Creek State Park, Nichol Road Trail, Hookstown, New York, some 45 minutes drive from Pittsburgh, give or take.
These years of seeing thousands of Facebook butterfly posts, kind of jades you to images of the butterflies that y’all post the most. There are butterflies that few post, year in and year out. Those are the butterflies that you and I most search for.
Here’s one that I have only seen 2 or 3 times. This hairstreak is seen alone, never with similar White-M Hairstreaks nearby. It is a bit larger than some other hairstreaks. My own experience is that it favors Goldenrod blooms, just as you see it nectaring on a Goldenrod (Solidago) flowerhead.
If, if it does the rare thing, and moves its wings slightly, your mind goes BOOM! for that lets you see the iridescent deep blue dorsal (top) surface of the wings. Even for that 3/4 of a second, you soon move on, ecstatic, for you realize you have an image of that incredible moment, for what? the rest of your life?
We’re here at Raccoon Creek State Park, in Doak Meadow, in late August. Do I recommend that western Pennsylvania state park? 100% for butterflies, for I’d seen more (way more) than 50 species there, including Goatweed Leafwing, Compton Tortoiseshell, Orange-barred Sulphur, Meadown Fritillary, Coral Hairstreak . . . .
Eight? Nine? The number of visits I’ve made to Israel since 2008. Wonderful visits, meeting one grandson! The a second grandson! Seeing Rachel set roots and flourish. Relishing the vigor, beauty and success of this gutsy little nation. Tasting the sights, sounds, aromas and foods that are so unique to this part of the world.
My visits there are split between being guested at Rachel’s, where I am given the bomb-shelter room, and excursions into the field. Americans don’t know about this, Uh, uh! When they build a home, like Rachel and Uri did, they fortify a room and that will be the bomb-shelter room. Two years ago I was there, and sirens went off, and that meant . . . incoming from Gaza. So we dashed into that room with 1-week old Boaz. I was livid, having to go into a rocket-proof room with my one week old grandson. If all your sympathy is with them, you try living like that, and let me know how much you love it? My youth on the streets back then hardened me in a way, and that episode still triggers anger.
An objective of my each trip was to capture a good image of Israel’s swallowtail, Papilio machaon. They fly at high speed, are there and then gone! All my effort has produced few photo opps of these beauties. This one was a turning point. I was a Ramat Hanadiv, March 2016, on their exciting trails, when she flew in, and began nectaring. Daddah! She continued nectaring on the flowerhead. I shot, shot, shot, shot, and then . . . she was gone.
Fair to good image of Papilio machaon? Check!