We were having a wonderful 5 days at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge in coastal Georgia. So many butterflies, ‘gators, egrets, storks, rails, hawks, bees, wasps, beetles . . . and that never to be forgotten morning when on the Woody Pond trail, just 4 feet from the pond edge, SUDDENLY, without warning, an alligator, sounding like it was 20 feet in length, ROARED!! Immediately, a chorus of ‘gators all roared together. I will not ever forget that, as if I entered a Brooklyn alleyway and came face to face with . . . .
I spotted this little yellow butterfly flying to and fro in the low grasses, and I spent many minutes pursuing this Barred Yellow (Eurema daira) butterfly. Up and down I went, as it descended, then flew upon my approach. Hide and seek it was, this being my best capture of the lot. See the yellow showing on it left forewing?
Me, at this stage in life, playing Hide ‘n Seek? Funny, no?
We were methodically working a trail in Lynx Prairie Reserve in Adams County, Ohio. So many butterflies and plants that I’d never seen before. Lynx Prairie was just a handful of miles from Kentucky, and knowing that I was seeing the best of both Ohio and Kentucky? Exciting. Very exciting.
When we came to this one, Angela ID’ed it as an Asclepias, one of the many species of Milkweed that Monarch butterflies deposit their egg on. I stopped and stared, and stared, as the others continued ahead on the trail. Most of them were accomplished botany enthusiasts. Me, well I’ve got lots to learn. An Asclepias?
For those who are complacent, thinking they know ‘it all,’ come into the field, and Zap! That epiphany, that there is so much you don’t know, and so much that you can know. Me? G-d sure created a whole lot!!!
It was a trail of surprises, this one on Mt. Meron in the Upper Galilee. So many butterflies, and so many surprises. This was the trail I worked, to find my goal for that week’s butterfly search. With no guidance, I reasoned that if I was in the right place, at the right time = June, just maybe I might find a flight of this rare (Protected) hairstreak butterfly.
I was booked for 5 days in the SPNI Meron reservation, in one of their field houses for visitors. I set out very early that first morning, on the main trail in the SPNI reserve. Some 1/2 miles or so down the trail, at a modest clearing with tiny flowers, there they were. Apharitis cilissa. Tiny, perky little hairstreaks, their upper wing surface speckled beautifully marked underwing surface. Most of them kept their wings closed as they nectared or perched. Some did undulate their closed wings, showing hints of lovely burns orange upper wing.
I worked hard and long to score a shot of those wings fully open. This male glowed in the early morning light, and here he is, resplendent in that flowerbed, along a trail in the very Upper Galilee.
Irony. Just some 2-3 miles north of here, the border with Lebanon, and the murderous Hezbollah, armed and financed by Iran, the same butchers who murdered our brave U.S.Marines.
Our Papilio polyxenes is nectaring on tall verbena. His wings are moving faster than the eye can see, as Eastern black swallowtails do as they hover over flowers.
We’re a bit distant from him considering we are shooting macro- but the end-product is eye-pleasing and those swallowtail tails look quite handsome!
Solitary like many swallowtail species (see our posts of Tiger swallowtail, Spicebush swallowtail), a fresh one is quite a remarkable sight and tears you away from whatever else you were searching for.
Tall verbena planted in a good-sized grouping is a magnet to draw so many butterflies. Nectaring from May to October, they are one of the best investments still available for the prudent gardener. About 24″ tall, the flower head provides photos that are extraordinary, because when you shot with one knee resting on the ground, you can include your home, your barn, your pup, your kitten or . . . in the background.
Enjoy our 4 earlier posts of Eastern Black Swallowtails.
Our instant photo was taken in the middle of the city of Pittsburgh. What say you to that?