|Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus) on Whiteleaf Mountainmint (Pycnanthemum albescens)|
My May Best of 2014 selection is a wild orchid I found at Cooter's Bog in the Kisatchie National Forest, and I wrote about my growing and appreciation for this national treasure. Indeed, when I retire, I'm doing a book called Kisatchie Splendors.
So... in late May I visited a portion of the Kisatchie closer to home than Cooter's Bay. It's just west of Alexandria and quite wonderful. Spent a day there and have many wonderful photos. But that still wasn't close enough to get to, spend some time in the woods, and get home again in less than a full day--which I rarely have to devote to photography.
Thus in August, driving home from a diocesan obligation in Alexandria, I was on the lookout for access to that portion of the Kisatchie closest to Monroe that Highway 165 passes through. And I found a great spot just an hour and a quarter from home!
I've been there three times, first in August, then in September when I encountered this beautiful little Gray Hairstreak feeding on the very plentiful Whiteleaf Mountainmint. I stopped for a few minutes again in November, when very little was blooming, yet I found plenty to shoot: longleaf pine saplings, spent blooms of various kinds, gorgeous grass heads.
Hmmm. Wonder if the National Forest Service would be interested in helping fund the book project?