Not much secret that my favorite butterfly is the Mourning Cloak Butterfly. Many have read of that surreal experience I had just weeks after the loss of Frieda A”H. That Mourning Cloak unsettled me, and I admit that I was unable to suppress tears that day. Whenever I am fortunate enough to again see a Mourning Cloak, I am instantaneously moved, much. Butterflies can do that, no?
Asked what is my #2 favorite butterfly, here I’m forced to think. Candidates for that distinction are the Great Purple Hairstreak, the Milbert’s Tortoiseshell, the Compton Tortoiseshell, the White M Hairstreak, the Two-Tailed Pasha (the HolyLand) and the Tawny Emperor.
Here’s a gorgeous Tawny Emperor butterfly, dazzling my eyes in a sea of browns and tans. At Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania, just 8 hours from Broadway, New York, New York.
Glassberg’s A Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America introduces you to 16 Long -tail Skipper butterflies, historically seen in the continental United States. That’s a whole lot more Long-tail skippers than I’ve seen to-date. Most of those I’ve not yet seen fly in the southwestern United States.
This is the Long-tailed skipper butterfly that I’d see occasionally in the southwestern Pennsylvania area. This Long-Tailed Skipper Butterfly (Urbanus proteus) is seen daily here in middle Georgia. It’s one of those butterflies that make you smile, and I do when I see my first Long-tail each morning. Why do I smile when I see them? This one here is is a bit worn, but me? I just love when they fly in to where I’m searching for butterflies, and next they take a perch, much like our cat Jasmine seems to like being near me, but always keeping a bit of distance.
Where’d I meet this one. In the Butterflies and Blooms Briar Patch Habitat I in Eatonton, Georgia, in middle Georgia’s Piedmont region.
Long-tailed Skippers bring it on.
Me? I often enjoy reminiscing, enjoy meeting up again with images that please me. This morning I considered several, and this one came up the leader, an image that so reminds me of good, fruitful days.
Spying on a Northern Pearly-eye Butterfly basking in the early morning sunlight’s rays is a rarity. Approaching without him fleeing is even more unlikely, and copping a good image, before he flees? Near to impossible. Truth be told, I’ve seen few images of such.
His dorsal ‘eyes’ are vivid and brightly bordered by sweet yellow. The 4th hindwing eye can be seen on both hindwing. Wing surface detail is good and head and antennae look good too.
At Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania. Jeff loved that day.
Sometimes I review my images and I’m pleased that I have some that are just plain unusual, “rare.” Jeffrey Glassberg in A Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America notes that this Leonard’s Skipper butterfly is “LR-U,” locally rare to uncommon. Good, for I remember when and how I scored this sweet image.
It was well into September at Raccoon Creek State Park in Southwestern Pennsylvania. I wanted to go there that morning, but had an internal debate, ‘Why go when it was so late in the season and everything that could be seen by me, was?’ I went.
She flew onto a mowed trail in Doak’s 100+ acres meadow. ??????? What was she? I’d never seen such a sweety before. And she was a stunner!!
She my first Leonard’s. A rare skipper that first appears in very late summer!
A rare American skipper butterfly, and . . . Never say never! Thanks Fuji, for your Velvia slide film caught her lush color just fine.
Photographing butterflies necessitates lots of time in the field. Searching, scouring, and even cajoling those reluctant winged beauties to leave their hiding places, and allow themselves to be photographed. Scores of hours are spent working the same trails. Trails that you know and enable you to anticipate where you will score good butterfly images.
You become familiar with those favorite trails. Your eyes know them. When something ‘different’ appears, those same trained eyes notice it. Spring in Raccoon Creek State Park, in southwestern Pennsylvania brings these ‘What is that!’ wildflowers. I spot them in a nanosecond. All else is browns, evergreen greens and nascent soft greens. Indian pipe is white, white, white. You’re almost tempted to have pity on these tiny little waifs, as in ‘Who or what has done this to you?’
They’re kind of friends of the Spring hiker, and their appearance each year, along wet trail margins, is comforting, reassuring. They force you to remember your old high school Biology: Plants use their chlorophyll to produce food. Find a plant like these, Indian pipes, and know that they must have some alternative method of manufacturing carbohydrates (food). How do they do that? They grow where they have found rotting plant material, and they intake those newly freed materials, converting them to usable food. ‘Nough said?
I smile when I see Indian pipe. They look so delicate, fragile. There they are, out there in the wild, not so delicate or fragile. Independent, earnest and successful. They also get an ‘A’ for causing the casual hiker to delve through sooo much stored in the head Biology.