Seeing a Rare Hoary Edge Skipper Butterfly Makes My Morning

Hoary Edge Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

They surprise. You’re seeing lots of Silver-Spotted Skippers through the morning, and you begin to disregard them. When you’ve reached complete and total disinterest in those Silver-Spotteds, every once in a long while, your senses unexpectedly discombobulate. Your brain signals that you’re now looking at a Silver-Spotted Skipper that’s not a Silver-Spotted Skipper. A bit flummoxed by that, you’re mental library quickly reconnects, and you have a ‘Boing!’ You’re looking an the ‘Uncommon’ Hoary edge Skipper Butterfly. That is a morning maker, it is.

That smudgy white on the trailing edge of its hindwing, as well as the broad golden band on the forewings, identifies this butterfly as a Hoary Edge. This one was seen at Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania. Here in Georgia I’ve seen them in my 303 Garden, in the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, in the Butterflies and Blooms Briar Patch Habitat I in Eatonton and in the Ocmuolgee Mounds National Historic Site in Macon.

Don’t see them every day or every week, but when I do, Smile!


Red Spotted Purple Butterfly’s Red Spots

Red-spotted purple butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow in Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

When I meet a Red Spotted Purple Butterfly I check to see if it is fresh (recently eclosed from its chrysalis) and if it bears red spots on its forewings. On its upper (dorsal) forewings. Most of them lack prominent red spots.

I followed this one, at Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania because I saw that it had beautiful red spots at the apex (outside corner) of its wings.

For reasons yet not clear to me, I Love those red spots, and smile when I find them!


NB, Were those Georgia Asters in the background?

Black Tiger on Buttonbush

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly (Black Form), photographed by Jeff Zablow at Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, GA

August, and the Buttonbush were going strong, at the edge of Pond 2A at Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, in Juliette, Georgia. I’ve become a big fan of this wetland wildflower, and I stationed myself here, to enjoy and shoot what might fly in.

Battlestations! In flew this Shmeksy! female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly. She was not the familiar yellow/black Tiger Swallowtail. She was the less common ‘Black form’ female. I liked her from the start.

She shared large sweet Blue blazes, especially along the trailing edges of her hind wings. Those wings seemed outsize to me, and, she sported good sized orange spots. Though her forewings show that she eclosed days or weeks ago, her ‘tails’ are sizable and remain intact and there is some wear on her forewings, but not enough to diminish her beauty.

Favorites, together, on a near perfect sunny morning, in a very special National Wildlife Refuge in the central Georgia Piedmont. Best of all, I’m there to taste it.