Forgive me, but I am very pleased with my capture here of a fresh Striped Hairstreak butterfly. Tiny, like all hairstreaks, it startled me when I first eyed it. I was looking for the usual larger butterflies, in the Powdermill Reserve of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, in Rector, Pennsylvania. Rector is in the sylvan Laurel Highlands of south-central Pennsylvania, and finding such a tiny, “Rare-Uncommon” butterfly there, should not have been a surprise to me.
When my Macro- lens came closer and closer to this beauty, it remained in place, and I marveled at how magnificent it was. A shmeksy! butterfly that is never found in abundance, and is alway seen as a solitary specimen, alone, naturally.
This is one of my early finds, and Yep, it stoked my passion to work to find and shoot common and uncommon butterflies, fresh, colorful and reminders of the Gift that we continue to receive.
That bone-dry arroyo was working just fine for me. I’d found this dry creek bed on an earlier trip to White Tank Mountains Regional Park, just west of Phoenix. I have a vague recollection of a sign posted near the arroyo, something about not entering the arroyo ever, for a flash downpour miles away could prove deadly here. In retrospect, I might have honored the sign, but . . . hours of searching White Tank produced almost nothing. When I drove to a 3-car parking area, and happened on the arroyo, that earlier year, I descended down to its bed, and Bingo! Butterflies, not lots of them, but there were plants in bloom here and there, and I tried waiting at a plant with flowers, and almost every wait yielded, drew butterflies.
This one flew in to these diminutive blooms, and I knew at once, my first ever Queen butterfly. We don’t have them in the places I lived in before (Brooklyn, Queens NY, Long Island NY, Sheffield Mass or Pittsburgh). He was a dashing Queen and I decided on not gambling, not moving in with my Macro- lens, to get the full benefit of those magical 18″ from this large butterfly.
I planted my feet, loved that this was a tall wildflower, and I shot away. This image was captured with Fuji slide film and yes, his color was as rich as you see. That deep blue Arizona sky added to my delight when this slide was returned to me.
The wildflower? I still do not know its name. How do they flower despite many weeks of xeric dry 97F weather? I think they have very deep roots, and take moisture several feet down in the arroyo bed.
My first Queen.
Exactly! And that’s where I met this handsome example. This Salt Marsh Skipper was nectaring in the ‘butterfly’ garden at the Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge near Townsend, Georgia. We were at the coast, just moments from the nearest Saltgrass, their hostplant.
They fly in the salt marshes of the United States, from Massachusetts, along the coastline all the way to Texas. They among the grass skippers. They’re easy to identify, with that long horizontal pale strip on their hindwings.
They are very kind, much tolerating the intrusion of the Macro- camera lens, to just inches from them. It seems that nectar near totally dominates their being, and my approach, no problem!
They ground me in reality. We sometimes get too big for ourselves, asking why this or that creature ‘deserves’ to continue its existence. Would not a nice development of fine homes be more important than that population of skipper butterflies that lived there for say, 200 years? Uh, NO. I’d say that there are some 200 or more good reasons to splat! that suggestion, as we do to Musca domestics on a July day.
Late June 2018 and we’re at Akeley Swamp in southwestern New York State. You know what I was looking for. Butterflies. Along with that, there is always, always the possibility of comely wildflowers. The eyes don’t stop scanning, from minute one to back to the car (rental) time.
Was Asclepias syriaca, Common Milkweed in bloom? Yes. There were hundreds of flowerheads along the swamp trail, bearing hundreds of thousands of flowers. Few butterflies flew, that a disappointment.
One of the big Yippees! that morning was the discovery of Canada Lilies in fresh bloom. I tell you, you stood and stared at their stark rich red, and did so for several moments. What a sweet pleasure, that table set amidst the sea of green around it.
I liked this bloom especially, and as we, my Canon with its IS Macro- lens closed in on this one, look what I found!
Immature? An adult? Species? All I thought of was get this shot Jeff, for it’d be one fine post on wingedbeauty.com.
Do I have a crew of darner photographers to ID? I don’t think so, do I?
This gorgeous Palamedes Swallowtail butterfly was nectaring on thistle. Now I don’t know the name of the thistle, at the edge of Woody Pond in Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge on the coast of Georgia. I’ve learned that Harris Neck Refuge has a number of very earnest supporters, so I hope Laura and some of the wonderful people I met there in late August 2018 will help name this spindly thistle with its almost white flowers.
Those thistle flowerheads were busy with many different butterflies. This visit by a Palamedes was special though. You’d think that I would bring my Macro- lens closer to the butterfly, for a Macro- lens can approach 1:1 imagery, as long as they are very close to your subject.
I was at that 3′ strip of green growth at the pond’s edge, and Brooklyn boy did not want to get a single inch closer then I was, with all due respect to the alligators that may or may not be in the pond, an arm’s length away.
I was recently gently chided for this reluctance. You must know that those ‘gators, heretofore mostly unknown to me, soooo reminded me of the Connected guys I grew up with. There they are, right where you are, and you know them, they know you, but mostly leave them alone, and all will be good and dandy.