Red-Banded Hairstreak in the Briar Patch

Red-banded Hairstreak Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in the Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, GA

There is so much air traffic in the Birds & Blooms in the Briar Patch, leaving you wishing that your head could swivel 360 degrees, and new, not yet introduced butterflies enter, sample and exit the tens of thousands of nectar-dripping flowers. Lots of them are large. Swallowtails, Fritillaries, Hackberrys, Monarchs, Painted Ladies are all noticeable, and Jeff’s eyes acknowledge their comings and goings. All purposeful, nectar seekers, mate hunters, and territory claimers.

At the southern section there, a line of giant Mexican sunflowers (Tithonia) does just about what the nearby Publix Markets does. It was there that my eyes registered something a-flight, a tiny butterfly, and, and, there was that red band, that gorgeous red band. Red-banded Hairstreak!! Approach, approach, good, still there. Technique positioning, good. Is it fresh? Yes! I Love this butterfly. Calycopis cecrops. The red band is edged outwardly in white, it has 2 pairs of tiny tails and the blue patch at the hindwing edge is baby blue. This is one tiny, neat butterfly. Striped legs, orange tipped antennae, and those pookie eyes, bordered in white.

Eatonton, Georgia, and a dandy of a hairstreak. A tiny looker, for sure.


Gray Hairstreak on Goldenrod

Gray Hairstreak butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek Park, PA, 9/21/06

Whatever it is that puts that look in your amiga’s eyes when attractive male leads take center screen…here is another handsome figure, capable of that same star power. September 21st finds him in Nichol field, the 100 acre +/- field in Raccoon Creek  State Park, southwestern Pennsylvania. Set out before him are tens of acres of goldenrod, so there is no need to rush. That calm helped me, too, for he wasn’t apprehensive or reluctant to my approach.

Savor his many fine details. Two pairs of hindwing tails, rich reddish patch, with black dot on each hindwing border, well-defined post median dash-line in 3 distinct colors, that smart orangish leading edge on his forewings, the orange club tips on each antenna, those pookie eyes, the grays of the wings, that last so typical of his fellow hairstreaks.

Favored with a taste for all sorts of nectars, this adaptive feature brings them to a very great variety of wild flowering and garden plants. Strymon melinus flies in the east, from Maine to the Keys, from as early as April to as late as Novemeber…and is aloft all year in southern Florida.

Gray hairstreaks are small butterflies, but bestowed with much beauty. May I ask THE question? Have you seen one? Won’t cost a cent, and will bring much Yes! into your life.

Oh yes, they are not too difficult to find. Once you find a fresh one, truth be told, they often pose quite well, and move methodically from one look to another, so good images can be additional reward. ‘Nough said?


One of 70 Hairstreak Butterfly Species


June 22nd and we’re in Rector, PA and whoa!, what do I see standing motionless on a leaf? Satyrium liparops . . . fresh, intact and almost regal in bearing?

Encountering a Striped Hairstreak Butterfly is infrequent and exhilirating. Remembering that they are superb models, posing for minutes on end, heightening the experience.

Our image captures the blue wash, red caps, ‘stripes’, tails, pookie eyes and those natty legs.

Compare this gent with the other Hairstreaks that we’ve posted, Gray Hairstreaks and Acadian Hairstreaks and you may, as I did, develop a fondness for these  Lycaenids.

Should you wish to take on yet another life challenge . . . set out to observe the other 69 Hairstreak species in the U.S. and Canada. That should keep you busy for a couple of years!