The flight to San Antonio Texas, boarded very early in the morning, because of that I slept in a hotel near Atlanta’s Hartsfield International Airport. We flew the 1,300 miles or so, rented a car at the airport, and drove more than 4 hours to Alamo, Texas. Those 5 days in Mission, Texas were unforgettable. Every day I met new butterflies. I would turn and there’d be new butterflies.
Many of those new species were more than rare, call them very rare. I was almost dazed at the serendipity (is that the correct word here?) of it all. Christmas week in Texas, almost at the border, and so much to be Thankful for.
This Malachite butterfly was the most memorable of them all. Fresh, poised, elegant and ‘Rare,’ it remained in place much of the time. Injured? No. Weakened by poor health? No. It’s senses dulled by some problem? No.
On seeing the Malachite Butterfly, I appreciated it all, I internalized the incredibility of what I’d experienced and yes, I knew that G-d had again shared great beauty with . . . me.
National Butterfly Center, Mission, Texas.
When I meet a new butterfly for the very first time, a lifelong memory gets created. I remember this day, back in 2016. Rose and Jerry Payne were kind enough to meet me at the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge. Happier than a duck!, what with the agreeable guidance of 2 accomplished lovers of butterflies, we headed to that swamp in the Refuge. Score! That’s where I met my first Southern Pearly-eye butterfly. Then there was my first Creole Pearly-eye butterfly. Triumphant, even after those hours of sloughing through dark, super-humid swamp, Rose asked: Is there any other butterfly that you’d like to see in the Refuge?
Yep. I’d be happy to see Silvery Checkerspots, Rose. Off we went. When they stopped and parked. Rose and Jerry spread out, and in moments, Rose called me over. This is my first ever Silvery Checkerspot! A very fine one, fresh and complete. Those white spots on the trailing edge of the hindwings sang to me. A Silvery!
What do I want to see in the coming weeks/months? Hessel’s Hairstreak, Elfins and Diana fritillaries. Yes, I know that’s asking a lot. The years have been kind, and now I can call many kind lovers of butterflies my friends. That so increases the odds for me. Happy, I am. I’ll return to Ohio in June and then to the Lower Rio Grande Valley in November.