Late Spring Highlights, 2015

This post is for the eye specialists of Central New York, the surgeons and their wonderful supporting cast who I have gotten to know all too well over the past 6 months. I must be nice to them, because our journey isn’t over yet.

Green Frog (Rana clamitans melanota)

The month of June began with Dave and I disconnecting from the outside world, tent camping and fly fishing for trout in a “dead zone” in the mountains. We’ve been doing this for a long time. The destination, campsite and length of stay haven’t changed, but the journal entries are never redundant and each trip is better than the last.

Destination: a freestone trout stream in a mountainous, forested watershed

Camp life is a trip treat in and of itself, but the main objective of these adventures is to float a fake bug high and dry so it drifts, bobs and skitters with the current, drag-free….and fools a trout. Fly fishing is a repetitive process, a fluid continuum of false casting, presentation, catch and release (on the good days). The rod becomes an extension of the arm, and the stream an endless source of pleasant sights, sounds and expectation.


Green Drake mayfly (Ephemera guttulata) drifting along on the surface film; a favorite in the diet of trout

A parachute dry fly, one of many imitations of the Green Drake. To the human eye, an insult to the fragile beauty of the real thing. But, it works, seriously.

We fish for hours on end, especially when the trout are “looking up” and can be tricked into taking one of our flies. However, there are also windows of opportunity for exploring and photographing.

In this part of the world, Wild Columbine thrives in the moist soils and partial sunlight along forested mountain roads. Rocky woodlands, rock outcrops and ledges are also suitable habitat.

Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

Late spring marks the onset of butterfly season, and in these extensive deciduous forests the activity can lead to a sensory overload. Virtually everything in bloom is visited by nectaring butterflies, and swarms of puddling butterflies are a common sight. Damp, sunlit sites with exposed mineral soil – such as roadside mud puddles – sometimes attract dozens of butterflies. Swallowtails are the featured attraction, but a half dozen or more species may be involved. The visitors are mostly males, searching for soil minerals that might enhance reproductive success.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) nectaring on Dame’s Rocket (Hesperis matronalis)

Tiger Swallowtails (and other butterfly species) puddling on on a muddy site

A Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus) searching for a suitable place to puddle. The iridescent hindwing and spoon-shaped tails are diagnostic.

Spicebush Swallowtail probing damp soil for minerals

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Fleabane (Erigeron)

11 thoughts on “Late Spring Highlights, 2015

    • Always appreciate your nice comments and feedback Alison. Glad I could introduce you to the SB Swallowtail! Thank you and good luck with your recreational adventures as well. Your blog is one of my favorites.

  1. These are really nice photographs. As you know, the wild columbine is one of my favorite wild flowers. It is so delicate yet rich in color..

  2. Stunning images, Nick. I always learn so much from your posts. Keeps me coming back again and again. I can definitely relate to camping places that are still relatively untouched by “civilization”.

    • Thanks Gunta. I get a little emotional when reflecting on that particular trip and can loose my objectivity/audience in terms of text and photo selection. Sounds like I got it right. I’ve been out of the Like/Comment loop for a while, but am still following your work and enjoying it immensely.

      • I understand fully about how hard it can be to keep up with the Like/Comment loop. Truly. There are plenty of times when that becomes a struggle. I keep trying to limit my follows, but then, thanks to a comment at this post, I’ve added Northern Desert. Must see if I can cut someone from the list. Too many great blogs, not enough time… 😀

  3. Love these pictures and your commentary. Have you ever tied your own flies?
    I love wild columbine as well. I always get excited when I see one.
    Yes, this blog is a winner😃👍

    • Wow! You just made my season!!! Thanks Kathy…..I’ll have a little extra bounce in my step on the trail tomorrow. As far as flies and fly fishing, well, my father got me started in the late 1960’s and the rest is history. I’ve tied thousands of flies over the years, both traditional and customized patterns (e.g. the one in this post). I love hobbies that extend beyond one season and, like photography, fly fishing/tying fills that need. Agree, Wild Columbine is easy on the eyes, especially when everything comes together – background, lighting, etc. 🙂

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