Gold-bordered Hairstreak At The Wall

Gold-bordered hairstreak photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

This butterfly caused no less than 50 people to jump into their cars and speed to the ‘Wall’ at the entrance to the Retama Village development in Mission, Texas. We were among those who came to see this Gold-bordered Hairstreak butterfly, a rare stray to the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

This was the one that brought ‘up’ my old Brooklyn ‘moxie’ it always surrounded by a circle of folks anxiously working their long telescopic lens, while I work with my Macro- lens, requiring that I get some 18 inches or so from most butterflies, and move within 12 inches for this tiny hairstreak. I was told that these Texas transplant folks believed me to be “Selfish” for crouching low and working my way to the shrub where this nifty butterfly was nectaring. It was felt, I was told, that my approach might scare this butterfly away, and thus prevent the next wave of 30 folks from seeing this ‘Lifer.’

This was a bonafide Joe Pesci moment for me, they considering telling me off for super cautiously approaching so as not to startle this hairstreak. I never, never do well with mobs, be they large or small.

Well, here’s your very rare Gold-bordered. At times, seeking images can be  . . . .


Conditioning My Eyes to See Hairstreak Butterflies on Wingstem

Gray hairstreak butterfly photographed at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

They prefer to rest on the leaves of certain small oak shrubs. It took me some years to condition my eyes to spot them. The critical cue is the geometry of their wing profile contrasted with their nongeometric surroundings.

Our subject here is nectaring on a native wildflower whose name is wingstem. Wingstem is a shrub that grows to a height of 6-7 feet and produces hundreds of bright yellow flowers that seemingly pump nectar. 2011 saw abundant wing stem. In 2010 wing stem was less evident.

Hairstreaks,like most gems, are very small, but very beautiful. There are many species about: Striped Hairstreaks, Banded Hairstreaks, White M Hairstreaks, Oak Hairstreaks, Acadian Hairstreaks the list goes on and on.

This is just to serve as a reminder that if you ever think you know everything there is to know well, there’s those Hairstreaks!

What 5 colors are on display on this Gray Hairstreak?