Whirlabout at Fashionable St Simons

Whirllabout Skipper Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Fort Federica, Saint Simons Island, GA

I asked Virginia, born and raised on a dreamy island on the Georgia coast, where I might find a goodly number of butterflies there. I waited, and Virginia suggested Fort Federica, an 18th century British fort built on the river, to fend off Spanish armadas that were anticipated.

She was right, for once I drove to tony St.Simons Island, Virginia’s hundreds of sylvan pastures, marsh and woods were gone. It seems the wealthy long ago eyed the Island, and St. Simons is covered with developments, just about all upscale, many very upscale.

I did find the butterflies I was looking for, lots of them, flying in the National Historic Monument, protected and privileged.

I remember when he flew in. You couldn’t miss him, festooned in comely orange and blasting those large black spots. I thought that I was glad that I shoot Fuji Velvia slides, for I wanted his rich color to share here.

A small grass skipper, that brought a smile to a certain photographer of butterflies, on a fabled island, once a British town and fort.


Identity? It’s a Mallow Scrub Hairstreak Butterfly

Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

Being introduced to a new Hairstreak butterfly is a treat. My first ever? That Striped Hairstreak in the Powdermill Reserve (Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s bird research station in the tony Laurel Highlands in Southwestern Pennsylvania).

My trip to the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas, years in the coming, paid off, Big. This fine, tiny Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak butterfly was found in the National Butterfly Center, amongst the rich plantings and shrubs there. Rarely seen as East as Louisiana and as west as California and no further north than Nevada, it’s like the one you fell in love with. At first it seems some like other tiny hairstreaks, and then you begin to appreciate the subtle, but appreciated differences. As it slowly works the flowerhead for nectar, those large black spots and their surrounding orange juice-colored rims sing to you, as do the trim black crescents with their sharp white borders. Tails intact, this one was, well, fine.

Just keeping bringing me new Hairstreaks, won’t Y-u?