75 Comments
Jun 5, 2023Liked by Bryan Pfeiffer

Wonderful news, wonderful essay. Congratulations Bryan. You deserve it!

Expand full comment
author

Thanks, Kate. Let's find more little wonders out there!

Expand full comment

"And once you gain that kind of intimacy with an animal whose linage goes back 100 million years, perhaps then you will realize that a butterfly the size of your thumbnail is not only a gossamer insect, but an expression of time and place." That line brought a thrill to my heart. With all the arguments for or against protecting various species, more and more I fall with the feeling that we don't need persuasion to know that we're all part of life together with these creatures, all relatives.

Expand full comment
author

Lovely, Nia. Thanks. Yeah, that "life together" you describe is part of turning a butterfly I had been seeking from a thing or a pursuit to an ongoing event or experience. It's how I love to be outside.

Expand full comment

That is a *wonderful* way to put it -- going from seeking to an ongoing event or experience. Yes, exactly.

Expand full comment
Jun 5, 2023Liked by Bryan Pfeiffer

❤️

Expand full comment
author

Back atcha with a butterfly-colored 🤎!

Expand full comment
Jun 5, 2023Liked by Bryan Pfeiffer

Wonderfully written. Thank you for your story!

Expand full comment
author

Very kind of you, Christianne. Thanks for reading.

Expand full comment

Beautiful! So happy for you! And agree with all you've said. Thank you for finding him 🙏🏻

Expand full comment
author

You're most welcome, Satya. I share in your joy.

Expand full comment
Jun 5, 2023Liked by Bryan Pfeiffer

How wonderful! The Bog Elfins I have seen were living on trees in remnant bogs in two towns not far from where I live. Always it seemed like they were gifting me when I finally saw them going about their business. We are oblivious of so many of life's treasures. Thank you for reminding us. It its not a bad thing to slow down and look. Age helps too.

Expand full comment
author

Thanks so much, Sue. They're still extant in MA, right?

Expand full comment
Jun 5, 2023Liked by Bryan Pfeiffer

Yes. They are still here.

Expand full comment
Jun 5, 2023Liked by Bryan Pfeiffer

Beautiful Bryan. Last weekend I had a wondrous visit to Saco Heath. I swear there was a sign next to a black spruce talking about a critter that lives in its tips but when I went back to zMaine.gov they only talk about Hessels Hairstreak and Atlantic cedar. I just wish you’d been at Saco with me!

Expand full comment
author

I would have LOVED to have been there with you. I have indeed been to Saco Heath chasing Hessel's Hairstreaks and Bog Elfins alike! In fact, that's my Hessel's shot on the preserve kiosk. Let's get there sometime!

Expand full comment
Jun 5, 2023Liked by Bryan Pfeiffer

I read your essay Bryan and the words of Aldo Leopold came to mind: "There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot. These essays are the delights and dilemmas of one who cannot." There's a gaggle of us out here who love wild things and love that you're here to report on the "delights and dilemmas" of wild things like Bog Elfins. Thank you.

Expand full comment
author

Gosh, Steve -- thanks. It's an honor to write these essays, and of course to be mentioned in along with Leopold.

Expand full comment
Jun 5, 2023Liked by Bryan Pfeiffer

Beautiful. In all my years of conservation advocacy, I've never heard the argument that protecting uncharismatic or unprofitable biodiversity was analogous to protecting free speech, supposedly a bedrock of American greatness. That is one powerful argument, and I can't wait to use it the next time I find myself needing to defend those in the Web of Life who need defense!

Expand full comment
author

Please do use it! Maybe there's another essay in that idea.

Expand full comment
Jun 5, 2023Liked by Bryan Pfeiffer

That paragraph jumped out at me as well. Very powerful!

Expand full comment

I think there’s definitely opportunity for more essays comparing our relationship with nature to other concepts we take for granted. I describe you as my “ naturalist Philosopher friend” to people who don’t know you so maybe mine that vein more.

Expand full comment

Congratulations Bryan! What a great find, your persistence paid off. I recently had an unexpected encounter with an Eastern Pine Elfin. A lifer for me. Your essay struck a chord :) on to your next quest......

Expand full comment
author

Ah, a lifer Eastern Pine Elfin. You've made my day!

Expand full comment
Jun 5, 2023Liked by Bryan Pfeiffer

Loved this piece! Recently started noticing all the tiny brownish/rusty butterflies near our part of the country. Treasures all!

Expand full comment
author

Thanks, Teresa. Do enjoy those little flying things — or even the little sitting things!

Expand full comment
Jun 5, 2023Liked by Bryan Pfeiffer

That’s awesome! Hard work, perseverance, and a bit of luck. Congrats on the big find and the beautiful portrait.

Expand full comment
author

Thanks! Yep, perseverance is a fine way to describe it!

Expand full comment
Jun 5, 2023Liked by Bryan Pfeiffer

I'm new on this app and I'm happy that this is the very first post that I came across to. I'm in love with this!

Expand full comment
author

Well, an honor indeed!

Expand full comment

Do relatives of these butterflies close their wings parallel to the ground? I found one such insect (I’m not knowledgeable enough on the subject to know whether it was a moth or a butterfly) a couple weeks ago in New England. It had brown wings very much like Bog Elfins, except the wings were flat and parallel to the ground when closed (as opposed to monarch butterflies’ vertical closed wings). Not sure if it may have been a relative to the elusive Bog Elfin, but either way, I’m very excited for your find!

Expand full comment
author

Thanks for asking, Chantal. Nope, these elfins invariably pose with their wings up over the body. I don't recall ever seeing one sit with wings open. It's a trademark pose of the family: Lycaenidae (the "gossamer-winged butterflies").

Expand full comment
Jun 5, 2023Liked by Bryan Pfeiffer

Just wish I’d taken a photo of the black spruce sign. Such a dreamy place.

Expand full comment
Jun 5, 2023Liked by Bryan Pfeiffer

Congrats for finding this elusive butterfly!

It took me nearly ten years to find a smooth-billed ani in Florida. The one I finally found posed for photos! Very satisfying.

Sue Wetmore

Expand full comment
author

I hope you GROOVED on that Smooth-billed Ani!

Expand full comment
Jun 6, 2023Liked by Bryan Pfeiffer

I really grooved on that one and the ones I saw in Costa Rica.

Expand full comment