It’s those moments, when you bend down to savor absolute beauty, that uplift, encourage, sustain and renew. This Spring Azure butterfly, tiny enough to rest on a Spring ephemeral bloom, does all that for this hardened photographer of those same butterflies.
Does it do that for you, on these frozen middle days of February?
Raccoon Creek State Park, my very productive northeastern USA destination in southwestern Pennsylvania.
Come and enjoy with me. I gaze at this Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak Butterfly, it nectaring on a wildflower in the National Butterfly Center’s Perennial Garden(s). Glassberg’s A Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America notes that in South Texas this is a “C” for commonly found butterfly. True that for south Texas, but from where I’m sitting, now, south Texas is some what, 1,300 miles away?
What a sweet treat to stop and take in the mellow beauty of this tiny hairstreak butterfly. I see what I adore? Do you like the same as I love? I cannot know.
The last year has unsettled me some, and the beauty of this little gem becalms me, settles me. I know that I need more, much more of this, and I so look forward to this 2021, to deliver on that need. You too?
Mission, Texas, just a handful of miles from the Mexican-Texas border.
I’d seen this tiny butterfly several times, this one on that favorite trail of mine on Mt. Meron. Every time I’d meet one, that name challenged. True we were not too far from Capernum, Tiberias and Yom Kinneret AKA the Sea of Galilee.
A man named Guerin (with an accent on the e) chose the name in 1849. When there, in the HolyLand, Israel, meeting this butterfly led me to trying to picture what the area looked like in 1849?
Guerin named this little flier Azanus Jesous. This is the butterfly with the name, that name uncontested for these 171 years.
Me? I’m looking forward to you offering feedback. I await you.
We see this ultra tiny blur of grayish-white, on a trail somewhere, or in our garden here in the Georgia Piedmont. Don’t we brush off the tendency to disregard this tiny butterfly, for almost each and every time this happens, we gather ourselves together and crouch down to see more. Is it an Eastern Tailed-Blue, or an Azure or maybe maybe an uncommon Blue butterfly?
While we are concluding that this one is an Eastern Tailed-Blue, we’re at the same time examining it for: fresh color, that pair of ‘tails,’ those pookie eyes matched with that snappy pair of striped antennae, those incredibly tiny legs, that look way strong enough to support such a diminutive body, and as here, a pair of very shmeksy! reddish-orange spots.
Next is the decision, with several fine images of Eastern Tailed-Blue Butterflies in the slide cabinet. Do we expose rather expen$ive Fuji Velvia 50 slide film, to try for quality, usable images of this comely beaut?
We were at Lynx Prairie Reserve in Adams County, Ohio, and I sure did. Conditions were excellent, this butterfly posed so well, you never know when you will once again meet up with such a fine Blue and, who here has the strength to not try for a good shot of an exceptional individual?
Barbara Ann? Kelly? Curt? Melanie? Deepthi? Laura? Virginia? Jim? Cathy? Beth? Peg? Roxanne? Deepthi? Ken? Phil? Elisse? Leslie? Melissa Misconstrued? Joanne?
May 17th on Raccoon Creek State Park’s Lake trail. A departure from almost all of our other posts, some will recognize what they see here and it will take a moment more for the majority of you?
Celastrina ladon is a tiny butterfly that flies early in the Spring (so its name) and is one of several Azure species found in the eastern tier of U.S. states.
On the trails that they prefer, it is easy to overlook them, as the fly away ahead of your approach. You will also encounter them as they fly over cut meadows, searching for clover and other small flowering plants. Overlook them and you are missing an intriguing butterfly, whose caterpillars, for example, are ant-tended. “Ant-tended?” Yep, their caterpillars are watched over by ants. Now why would ants do that? Azure caterpillars exude a sugary material and the ants value this unique source of nutrition, and so guard the caterpillars from harm’s way. And just how and when did that relationship get started?
That white material that these 3 are taking in through their proboscises? The uric acid in the waste dropped by a large bird. Huh? These butterflies that we see here are more than likely 3 males. Male Spring Azures spend most of their time flying. This extreme activity burns a great quantity of energy and causes much wear and tear of the proteins in their flight muscles. To replenish that energy and to replace those spend proteins…such butterflies need ready sources of the elements nitrogen, sulfur, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus,etc. So now you complete the puzzle. Why are these butterflies so focused on consuming the uric acid left by a bird? Neat huh?
In May and June Spring Azures begin to disappear from their habitat and the closely related Summer Azures take flight. Year after year after year.
So much to be learned about such a tiny, tiny winged beauty!