It’s mid-winter here in the Georgia Piedmont. I did see a sluggish Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly last week, on a 67F day, in my yard. That said, the general butterfly hiatus is some challenging. That’s especially so when I open Facebook and the Ian’s and Bill’s photos from the likes of what Peru, Indonesia and Bolivia, India. Mike and Javi put me over the top, when they share butterflies just seen in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas!
Their sweet images of impossible butterflies tease out the little boy in me, and I start thinking of images I have gleaned that ‘they don’t have.’
My many trips to the HolyLand jump out at me as I scan my Media Library, and here’s one that sure qualifies for an exciting find. This Lasiomatta megara emilyssa jumpstarted my blood pressure when I spotted him sunning on a rock on a trail on Mt. Meron, in the very northern Galilee region of Israel. HolyLand butterflies dislike close approach, and for that I stopped where I did, Macro- lens and all, for closer approach would have left me with zero images. They flee, and they flee at high speed.
This butterfly is not uncommon, but at the same time is rarely seen.
Do I plan to travel to Indonesia, Chile or Slovenia? No. But I’m booked for the Lower Rio Grande Valley, and kind friends continue to beckon me, to far, far away locales.
We saw quite a few of them in the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas. They fly low, and perch often. They were my first Texan Crescents. I took a liking to them.
I wanted to capture and share their rich coloration. This Texan female pretty much fits the bill.
Some say that are occasional migrants to my middle Georgia, though in these 4 years of visiting the Georgia Piedmont, I’ve never seen one.
It’s in my thinking to return to the Lower Rio Grande Valley late in 2019. I know where to stay, I’d rent a car, but I know of no one who will aid me in finding the hotspots there: Falcon Heights, Santa Anna National Wildlife Refuge, Edinburg Wetlands or Boca China/Rd 4?
Oh I cried so when I left her that it nearly broke my heart, and if I ever find her we never . . .
I’ve spent some 2/10,000th of my life in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. That was the very last week of December 2017. Talk about unforgettable! We kept seeing butterflies I’d never seen before. Several times, here at this National Butterfly Center, we saw butterflies, the handful of folks nearby put out cell alerts, and folks actually drove to the NBC, just for the chance of seeing rare butterflies.
This was one of our Wows!! An Erato Heliconian Butterfly. A “Rare” stray to the USA from Mexico, some less than a handful of miles away.
Yes it’s flown to shade, and yes my Fuji Velvia 100 film was seriously challenged, but . . . the color that we caught here is just fine. That streak across the cells of the hindwing is a sweet yellowish-white. The broad burnt orange streak across the forewing does sing, no?
We enjoyed this Erato, rarely seen in the USA, and usually seen once every few years!
Jeff, a Happy Boy! again and again eye feasting on G-d’s winged beauties.
Y’all know by now that we went to the Lower Rio Grande Valley in the closing week of 2017. We’ve shared many butterflies that were new to me, and new to so many of you. Here I was, just a handful of miles (or less) from Mexico, and you just never knew what would come flying in here, at the National Butterfly Center in Mission.
This was the Tiffany of Butterflies, with new deliveries every hour, with the display cases changing as you watched!
Comes this one, nectaring on Mistflower. I expected it would be a snap to ID, and after scouring A Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America (The Princeton University Press, 2017) I still cannot tell what it is?
It’s almost surely a blue? Or is it. Ventral wing surface are good, and the upper wing color sure look blue.
Might I dream that the premiere butterfly experts, Jeffrey Glassberg, Mike Rickard, Curt Lehman and/or Robert Michael Pyle might help here?
Update! Nancy Asquith and Mike Rickard reached out to us to confirm, Cassius Blue ( Leptotes Cassius Cassidula ). Thanks Nancy and Mike.
What did I learn here? A thousand miles of travel, to the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, and I was rippin’ to meet new butterflies. Did I? If you are a friend of wingedbeauty.com, you know we did! So many new ones that I’ve shared here, and just about an equal number of butterflies that refused to stick around, leaving me without images of them.
So this instant riveted me. Those orange spots were as vividly red and the black spots within them were starkly black. The head had a smart orange cap, as did the tips of the antennae. I did have this recurring thought that she looked an awful lot like a Gray hairstreak.
When my slides were returned from Dwayne’s Photo in Parsons, Kansas my intuition was confirmed, she was a Gray Hairstreak butterfly, flying in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas.
How can it be that I travel so far from home, and see the same beautiful Gray female that I might see back home? Answer: Grays are found in all, all of the 48 mainland states of the United States. Kudos to the Gray.