Two decades of searching for Compton Tortoiseshell butterflies (Nymphalis vaualbum) came and went, and a butterfly I ached to meet eluded me, having seen it only 3 times. Compton Tortoiseshells are butterflies of the Northern North America . Those 27 years that I lived and worked in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania put me squarely in its range.
The problem was that they are ‘R-LU’ (Glassberg, A Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America), meaning rare to locally uncommon. They are never seen in any abundance, and . . . they deny any approach.
I adore (AKA Love) their good size and dramatic, handsome wing coloration. Hundreds of visits to Raccoon Creek State Park in those years, often arriving at 8:00 AM or so, and that paltry score of three meet-ups.
Please understand then that this image delights me, though I know it must give you pause, it quite a distance from my Macro-lens. Know too that a moment later, it was . . . gone.