My Northern Pearly-eye Butterfly

 

Northern Pearly Eye Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania

Here’s one that folks rarely share. When I do see a posted image of a Northern Pearly-eye, that little smile appears. I was fortunate to have met this individual on Nichol Road Trail in Raccoon Creek State Park, some 40 minutes west of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

When I spotted it, I was immediately juiced, for it was a magnificent Northern Pearly-eye, and it was perched so majestically on that leaf. They prefer to be at the edges of trails, and almost always very near to water, usually a small stream/creek. All that applied here.

I approached, sooo slowly, all the time asking, of G-d I guess, that this remarkable butterfly stay, not bolt.

I shot away, maybe some 40 exposures (Fuji film, Velvia 100), and these 3, well I found it too difficult to choose one from among them.

Whyi? The colors, though not bright ones, are rich and attractive. The pose of this one is excellent, on those leaves with their deep, becoming green. The background, reduced light, so evokes the favored habitat of this bruishfoot Satry. The outer rims of those forewing eyes are as gold as gold. The hindwing eyes shoot out flashlight white at their centers. The bands on the wings are stark. The eyes are good, the legs seen, the clubs have black, and much more.

I am forever appreciative that I was there, then, and met a gorgeous, understanding butterfly.

Jeff

Guess Where We Met?

Mourning Cloak Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in Toronto Canada

Mourning Cloak Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in Toronto Canada

Oh Super! the caption affixed to this image gives it away immediately. I was going to offer Borneo, Cuba, Kenya and Mongolia . . . but you now know we met in Toronto.

Favorite ice cream? Breyer’s Mint Chip. Favorite meat? Grilled Lamb chops. Favorite trail? Nichol Road trail in Raccoon Creek State Park. Favorite state? Pennsylv/eorgia.

Favorite butterfly? This Mourning cloak butterfly. They fly in March, April, May, June . . . then you can’t find them until . .  September, October and maybe, maybe a bit into November. When you see one like this one, Busting with rich color, it’s like that time when you were 16 or 17 and you entered the . . .  and there she/he was and you almost couldn’t . . .  And it’s about the same, you’re thinking don’t, don’t leave stay there and let me get my act together, ’cause . . . .

It was one like this one that busted me up  that morning on Nichol Road trail, so soon after she passed . . .

From Maine down to northern Florida, and across North America.

Citing favorites is a fool’s errand, but you do expect me to not hold back here, so . . . it’s this one, the Mourning Cloak.

Jeff

Horace’s Duskywings Coupling

Duskywings Indelicata photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek Park, PA, 5/05/08
May 5th on Nichol Road trail in Raccoon Creek State Park. I almost missed seeing this. Male and female, after completing their appraisals of one another, now successfully coupling. Minutes went by. They remained motionless.

Provide butterflies and all other creatures with undisturbed habitat, fostering the host plants their caterpillars feed on, and the nectar or alternative food (scat, fruit, sap) that nourish the adults, and they will replenish their numbers. No need for corporate, or volunteer or government intrusion. Just don’t destroy the land they call their home, don’t indiscriminately release pollutants to the air and water, and … voila! generation after generation of amazing and beautiful butterflies.

No instruction manuals or how to videos, or coaches were to be seen. Vital, necessary behavior, after the ravages of a long, hard winter of zero degree temperatures.

Jeff

Comma Butterflies

Comma Butterflys at Raccoon Creek State Park

August and 3 Comma butterflies have settled on a workable arrangement for all to share scat set on the Nichol Road trail at Raccoon Creek State Park.

Preferring to be at woods edge, this section of trail is ideal Comma habitat, with a small stream running just 15 feet from this spot.

The Eastern Comma (Polygonia comma) on the left bears the browns and consistent markings that are pretty reliable. The Comma on the right I identify as a Gray Comma (Polygonia progne). Agreed?

Commas keep you company along certain stretches of trail. They much prefer shade to direct sunlight. Very, very rarely do you see them fly to flowers.

Commas are vividly colored when ‘fresh’ and wear over the weeks that they fly. They are examples of the species of butterflies that like puppies, exude ‘personality.’

Difficult to photograph, as we’ve noted before, our subjects here were so fixed on their purpose that they allowed my belly to the ground slow approach. The things I do for a good shot!

Jeffrey