Butterfly Most Likely

Hackberry Emperor Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania

You’re working your way along the trail, forest to your right and left. Raccoon Creek State Park, in far western Pennsylvania. The heat of the day is beginning to be felt this morning. Sun is up, and it’s vaporizing the dew still resting on the billions of leaves around you. It’s the summer, and the heat is becoming a factor. Beads of sweat have got to be forming on your forehead, though they are still bearable, and don’t slow you down.

You see her out of the corner of your eye, a slur of comely browns, white, black and, is that cream? Moments pass, as you continue up trail. Then . . . there she is, didn’t wait for introductions, dismissive of personal space, and without concern about your personal situation, and your sense of propriety.

Who is the brazen female, who is now upon you, you a total stranger? The USA butterfly most likely to land on you, a Hackberry Emperor, found in wooded habitat, especially where hackberry bushes and trees are to be found. Maine to California, Miami to North Dakota and to Texas, too.

Did she choose you for your shmeksy! good looks, your come-and-get-me musky takeaway? Your kindness of heart, good deeds or connection with the Almighty? OK, for your really good choice of field get-up?

No, no, no. She’s on you for something else, most likely to score some perspiration salts from the now sweaty neck, or to broadcast her territorial claim to that stretch of trail, or just for the ride. Most don’t understand how fortunate they would be, to travel down the road a bit with you . . . she does. She’s a Hackberry Emperor.


Northern Pearly-Eye Butterfly on a Moist, Overcast Morning in a Wooded Habitat

Northern Pearly-Eye Butterfly

It rained the last night and the morning sun just rose a short while ago. Perfect conditions for our Northern Pearly-Eye Butterfly, basking in those warm rays of the sun. They prefer it when it is moist and that’s why you usually find them close to moving water. We discussed in an earlier post that this is one of the few species that is active on moist, overcast days.

Enodia anthedon prefers wooded habitat, so we see that this is one that will be an infrequent addition to your image inventory. It takes lots of get-up-and-go to go out with a camera on a moist, overcast morning and then spend appreciable time in wooded habitat that are filled with lots of biting critters and the rarely seen Northern Pearly-Eye. This is a butterfly which flees like a lightning bolt when it sees, hears or smells you.

So, this image is appreciated.

Our earlier post of this species likens it to Secret Service operatives. We have once again reminded you why this is so true. It never seems to nectar at wildflowers. What does it subsist on? Flowing sap, scat and the minerals taken up from mud.


A Duskywing Butterfly Feeding on Animal Scat

Duskywing at Raccoon Creek State Park

Duskywings! Little Skipper butterflies that meet and greet as you hike trails through wooded habitat. Several species can be met on the trail and they can be maddeningly similar.

Our Horace’s presented herself on May 8th, though she was too busy sampling scat to notice us. Erynnis horatius favors us with the spectrum of tans, yellows and browns that you now know that we love.

Just yesterday a friend offered that such butterflies really should be called moths. Uh uh! The differences are stark and genetic.