Marveling . . . This Time Upon Meeting A Long-Tailed Skipper

Long-Tailed Skipper Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in the Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, GA

When I began searching for butterflies, favorites and less favorite butterflies followed. After seeing thousands of Eastern Tailed Blues and thousands of Pearl Crescents, I became saturated, eventually passing them on trails, without stopping to examine or admire or to  gaze. Oddly, Spicebush swallowtails now bring minimal excitement to me, though I’ve planted Sassafras to lure them in (?).

My 20,000th Silver-spotted Skipper butterfly too found me less than excited when I meet one. Yesterday, the closely related Hoary Edge Skippers we saw at Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge (Juliette, Georgia) excited me, for they are rarely seen, and yesterday they were beautifully tinted and so very fresh.

Here’s a Long-tailed Skipper butterfly seen at the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia. Know that each and every one that I see rivets my attention. Why? I’ve only begun seeing them in 2015, so they’re newish to me. For reasons not fully clear to me, I have this desire to find ever fresher Long-Tailed Butterlies, fresher yet than I’ve ever seen.

I go with these impulses, trying hard to not examine them any more than I have to.

Long-tailed Skippers, bring them on, please.


Variegated Fritillary at Black Water

Variegated fritillary butterfly photographed at Black Water National Wildlife Refuge, MD

Which butterfly’s name do I usually flub? This one. The Variegated Fritillary butterfly. Not sure why the name doesn’t stick in my brain. I remember lots of stuff, going way back to Brooklyn in the ’50’s. We had a street loaded with kids my age. I once counted how many boys on East 58th Street were between 1.5 years order than me and 1.5 years younger than me. 40. For that reason it was easy to get a game of punchball going, or defend East 58th from marauding kids from other streets. I remember their names, mostly, still.

When this butterfly flies in, I usually fumble around in my brain for the word “Variegated.” Fritillary? That’s easy, but Variegated fritillary? It gets embarrassing when someone’s around, and turns to me for an ID. I’ll usually respond with, “was that [name a famous, attractive actress] who just biked past us?” Then up pops that word on my lips, ‘Variegated.’

Found from Massachusetts to Oklahoma, its only rarely seen in the U.S. northwest.

When it’s fresh, like this one at Black Water National Wildlife Refuge in Madison, Maryland, it’s an eyeful.