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Dr. Glassberg’s Excellent Adventure Day 2 Oklahoma

(Will NABA’s President Dr. Jeffrey Glassberg snap the Outis Skipper? Read on to find out! Pictured above is a Confused Cloudywing on an indian paintbrush – ed)

Woke up this morning and the blue skies in my eyes encouraged smiles. By 9 am, when I got to the first spot in Lexington WMA the temperature was 60 degrees.  And, in the sunshine, it felt good.  Walking along the road, I saw many butterflies, including lots of cloudywings and anglewings.  I looked closely at many of the cloudywings, because Outis Skipper is awfully similar – but no Outis. 

Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillar on wooly pipevine

At 10 am I drove to Bryan’s house and we went back out together, back to the same spot.  More and more butterflies began flying.  We saw Black and Pipevine Swallowtails, a Southern Dogface, a Silvery Checkerspot, loads of ladies and Red Admirals, Viceroys and Red-spotted Purples, Goatweed Leafwings and Northern Pearly-eyes, but no Outis Skippers.

Encouraged, we continued walking back and forth along the road.  A little after 11 am, we both jumped as we saw a small dark spreadwing skipper dart from the underbrush.  Landing near us – it was an Outis Skipper!! Finally.  I grabbed some photos and then it flew again, but only a short distance away.  It sat with its wings partially open, but stray bits of grass and twigs obscured the view.  Then, it flew off, not to be seen again.  I was elated! 

Yeah! The Outis Skipper!

In the afternoon, we drove around Lexington WMA and ending up seeing 43 species of butterflies – not bad.  You can see the list at the NABA Recent Sightings page.  The highlight of the afternoon was another Outis Skipper, this one nectaring at Green Milkweed.    

Confused Cloudywing on indian paintbrush
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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.