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Missouri, Day 5

(Above featured image is a female Juvenal’s Duskywing on Wild Hyacinth, photographed by Dr. Glassberg in Benton County, Missouri – ed.)

Today, it’s sun all the way. However, with so much time already in the field, my expectations of seeing an Ozark Swallowtail were low.

I decided to take a different approach. On my car navigation system, I selected POI (points of interest), typed in Ozark Swallowtail and punched in “GO”. After a slight lag, I thought I heard a laugh. Then, I imagined Siri saying “that’s so funny.”

Not having any help from the cloud, I explored an area north of Truman State Park and found more Pipevine Swallowtails. Also my only Southern Cloudywing and Sleepy Duskywing of the trip.

Southern Cloudywing

Back along Hwy UU and in Truman State Park, I found only the usual suspects.

Tomorrow, I fly back to New Jersey, my plane leaving at 6 am. So, I’m looking forward to my next try for Ozark Swallowtail, in 2021.

[I now believe that the larkspurs at Harry Truman State Park that I thought were Glade Larkspurs, are Carolina Larkspurs, a much more common species.]

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Missouri, Day 4

(Featured image is of a Juniper Hairstreak photographed by Dr. Glassberg in Benton County, Missouri on April 25th – ed.)

I again awoke with clouds in my eyes.  But the weather report for today was for part sun after 2 pm – so there was some hope.

As was so much of this trip, the morning was spent waiting.  With so much time where weather made field work pointless, I’ve listened to a lot of music on the car radio.  At the top of the list was a recording of Leon Fleisher performing Brahm’s transcription for piano of Bach’s Chaconne from his partita No. 2 for violin.  I had never before heard this recording and it was enthralling.  It was actually worth the cost and effort of the entire trip. No kidding.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Although the weather prediction was for some sun after 2 pm, the sun actually appeared around noon and the butterflies then appeared as well, especially hairstreaks. In the sunshine of the rest of the afternoon, I saw 11 Gray Hairstreaks, 26 Juniper Hairstreaks, 1 Henry’s Elfin and 1 Red-banded Hairstreak.  In what was a pretty good day for butterflies, in all, I saw 21 species today. 

Juniper Hairstreak on Rose Mock-Vervain

Unfortunately, Ozark Swallowtail was not one of them.  Either Ozark Swallowtails are now rare, are in a temporary down cycle, or have a weather altered flight time this year. 

I still have tomorrow – but it doesn’t look good.

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Missouri – Day 3: April 24

(Featured image above is a Three-toed Box Turtle Jeff photographed in Shawnee Bend Park, Missouri -ed.)

Woke up this morning to discover that the weather gods were even angrier. Thick gray clouds and drizzle. So, not much happened.

I did get to drive through Tightwad, Missouri for the umpteenth time. Unfortunately, I used most of my allocation of Tightwad jokes in the article in the winter 2018 issue of American Butterflies, so I’m not giving up any of the rest of the jokes until I die.

Toward mid day, the sky brightened slightly – still no sun – so I traveled to Shawnee Bend State Park where a three-toed box turtle was sauntering across the road. I briefly debated the ethics of shipping it to Asia to defray the costs of the trips, but then decided to move it to the side of the road. Once at the park, I took a walk down the Shawnee Bend Bluff Trail.

I saw exactly three individual butterflies, an Eastern Tailed-Blue, a Red Admiral and a Gemmed Satyr. Here are photos of each them demonstrating, once again, that one can obtain photos of the majority of individual butterflies one sees if one works at it.

Eastern Tailed-Blue
Red Admiral
Gemmed Satyr