I dropped off Petra at the groomers in Madison, Georgia this morning, and then headed out to Hard Labor Creek State Park, near Rutledge, Georgia. One of my hopes was to revisit this place, shown here. This was where Phil guided me to the habitat of Gemmed Satyrs (R-LC, Rare to Locally Common, according to Glassberg’s A Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America). He was a Ranger at the Park, and knew just about every square foot of the Park, and knew every butterfly there and almost anywhere in a 300-mile radius.
Yep, I could not relocate that place, and yes, I was not going to bother Phil. The Park Office there had just about the most lush, well planned butterfly garden of any state park or national wildlife refuge I’ve ever seen. At that bloom-laden Park garden, and at a nearby lakeside area, I did find Tiger Swallowtails, Dark Form Tigers (many . . . Why so many there?), Spicebush Swallowtails, Cloudless Sulphurs, Pearl Crescents, Gray Hairstreaks, Eastern Tailed Blues and many different Skippers.
Not seeing Gemmeds did sadden me, for they remain special to me, truth be told.
Not Dayton Ohio or Missoula, Montana. The coastal plain of Israel, the HolyLand at the village of Binyamina. Some 10 miles from the Mediterranean Sea, near Dina & Misha’s orchards.
Studying this Caper White, requires that I continue to remind myself that this is NOT a U.S. Cabbage white butterfly.
I must too remind myself that the number of butterfly species that one can find defies your imagination. G-d is a prolific painter of beauty, is what I often think.
Is this the best of my images of Little Metalmark butterflies? Maybe. I’m maybe too hard on myself here, for photographing them, as we did here on Shellman Bluff, on the Georgia coast, is beyond difficult.
Why Jeff, why are these gems of a butterfly difficult to capture on an image? They elude your serious efforts to shoot them because: 1) They are about 1/3 the size of the nail on your pinky (1/4?) 2) They fly about 4 inches above the ground 3) The flowers they nectar on are about 4 inches above the ground 4) They rarely stay in place, moving over the flowerheads, forcing you to refocus, refocus, refocus, . . . . . . . . . 5) The air of their habitat is very hot and super saturated with moisture, causing the sweat to cover you (me) 6) You must get your body down, way down to shoot them, and they move, necessitating that you rise and again reposition yourself.
That said, I was determined to shoot these Gems of Shellman Bluff. Determined. This one survives being pitched into the trashcan, and it begins to show the beauty of their metallic lines, when they reflect the sun’s rays.
What’s this all leading to? We return to Shellman Bluff in August, and if we find these Little Metalmark Butterflies, and if the weather cooperates, and if they are a fresh flight and if . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Me? I can’t wait. Of course Jekyll Island, Sapelo Island, Little St. Simons Island, they all are the Siren’s Song for this Jeff.
Went to Lizella, Georgia today, for our first visit to Nikki Taylor’s Dig and Design Nursery. After our 30 minute drive from North Macon, we pulled into her acres, and what did we find? Nikki has thousands, yes thousands of healthy, robust perennials for sale, all fairly priced. The selection was what you’re looking for: coneflowers, turtlehead, salivas (many), cardinal flower, agastaches, bronze fennel (to host Black Swallowtails), milkweeds, lantana (she has a variety that was swamped with butterflies, she agreed to make some of that beautiful lantana for us next year!) and more, much more. It’s the Best when a nursery owner is knowledgeable, schooled in her work, and generous with her time and pleased to answer your questions and more.
In flew a Variegated Fritillary ( Euptoieta claudia), it landing on a robust coneflower. I’ve not seen a Variegated this 2020 year, and it brought a big smile, for when they are fresh, as this one was, they are very, very easy on the eyes!
This Variegated fritillary butterfly was met at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland. You’ll see 100 Gulf Fritillaries for every one Variegated you’ll be lucky to see, so seeing one? Vundebar!
Ever wonder what images long term nature photographers love the most? Me, I’ve been seriously photographing wildlife and native plant life since about 1990. Of the estimated 100,000 images I’ve captured, this tiny fly, nectaring on a Jewelweed blossom, remans one of my favorites.
Why? It is one of the most soothing, calming pics I think that I’ve ever taken. Do you agree?
Seen and captured at Frick Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.