She led me again to this incredible swamp in far western New York State (Farm-to-table far away from the New York City mayhem happening now). Two years before, we’d gone to Akelely Swamp, a refuge recreated from a once railroad right-of-way that cut through this far as the eye could see swamp.
Once again Barbara Ann (OBM”) spent 99% of her time seeking wildflowers & orchids, and me? Butterflies! I found many butterflies, but I also was way ahead of her on the trail, and I found . . . Canada Lilys in their pre-peak excellence.
I went back to tell Barbara Ann of my discovery, and she high-tailed it to them. She loved them. Loved seeing them. Her smile that first moment was from ear to ear. This was a nearby group of them, close to that first seen one.
I did find that Hickory Hairstreak, that news was a ripple in the swamp compared to her exhilaration upon finding these Jewels of Akelely Swamp!
Great memories of a gifted orchid lover and gifted naturalist.
Barbara Ann’s husband Sig passed just some weeks ago. Missed, they are.
It never goes away. I expect that I speak for all of us who love and search for butterflies. Whether you arrive at your refuge, meadow, fen, garden or roadside berm, that euphoria that electrifies you when you spot a tiny, tiny Hairstreak butterfly, never lessens.
We stop, verify that it is a Hairstreak, a fresh Hairstreak (the price of film now matters) and as quickly as those years in the field allow, which of the hairstreaks you have found. Me, I best know the hairstreaks of the eastern half of the United States . . . but. I’ve seen hundreds and thousands of these abundant hairstreaks, but others, that count drops to one or two. Or, zero.
This winged beauty is a Red-banded Hairstreak. Fresh, zero bird-struck with gorgeous, rich color including that handsome blue patch and generous red bands.
So many Red-bandeds bear wing damage or extensive wing scale loss. This one, seen at the Butterflies and Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton Georgia is a crowd pleaser for sure. When I’ve shot away, those 20 or more exposures, am I able to slowly back away from this shmeksy! gift from G-d, and share my war-up “YES! May well be you heard it, be you in Brooklyn, Dallas, Mission, Seattle, Atlanta, Mishmarot, or Valdosta.
How I love what I do!
Those 700 miles bring much that’s new. Scouring the Woody Pond perimeter at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge produced this new fly.
I’m not sure what it is. I was sure that it was film worthy, and I had no doubt that you’d help us ID it. I’ve never seen this one before, and I’m guessing that its found in the southeastern United States.