Sunday, December 13, 2009

My 15 minutes of fame!

Everyone should get their 15 minutes of fame! Guess 5 years ago I got lucky! Have you had your 15 minutes of fame yet? If not then you have something to look forward to don't you!


This was the rarest butterfly I have ever found! It is a Thick-tipped Greta (Greta morgane) I found it in  Bentsen State Park Wild Birding Center Headquarters gardens in Mission TX on December 08, 2004 just over five years ago!

You ask how rare is it? Well no butterfly in this family had been seen in the United States in over 100 years, this was a first US record. The range for this butterfly is usually 300 miles south of the US border in Mexico. It remained at the park for two and a half days before leaving.


One of these photos was in the local newspaper on the front page above the fold. Since is was such a great find the paper ran it again to cap the year of on the front page this time below the fold.

Also Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine ran this article:

Butterfly Fever

With butterfly-friendly flora popping up all over South Texas, rare beauties are becoming easier to find.
By Karen Hastings
When North Carolina photographer Randy Emmitt traveled to the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas last December to expand his rare butterfly portfolio, he never expected just how successful the trip would be.
Emmitt knew subtropical South Texas was the place to find uncommon butterfly species, but what he found was even better: a dainty beauty with transparent wings - a thick-tipped greta (Greta morgane) - that had never before been seen in the United States. "The day I found it, I was hanging out with the local butterfly folks. Everybody had just left, and I was heading to the car and taking a last look at the flowers."
The mystery clearwing was dancing along the golden eye daisies outside the World Birding Center headquarters at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park. Emmitt quickly grabbed his cell phone and, within minutes, a crowd of 10 local butterfliers had returned to share his find.
"Somebody said it was 100 years since any (clearwing) had been found in the United States," says Emmitt. "I didn't expect something so big and so beautiful to show up, and yet be so unique. It just happened to be my luck."
Luck indeed. Emmitt had wandered into a butterfly phenomenon that unfolded across the Lower Rio Grande Valley last fall: Six different U.S. record species were reported in 52 days in one county at the southern tip of Texas.

The full article can be found here.

30 comments:

Ali Iyoob said...

Wow, I usually picture a rare butterfly as some skipper that has an additional spot! This thing is beautiful.

ryan said...

Cool story. Great that you could document it. It's a beautiful butterfly.

Town Mouse said...

Very cool! Abut are you sure that was already 15 minutes? Maybe you have 7 minutes left?

Annie in Austin said...

Hello Randy,

Your comment at Pam's Digging blog about doubling the size of your house is what led me here - what a surprise to see the famous Clearwing photo and read the story! I've received emails with this photo several times with the latest note coming in a couple of weeks ago.

My favorite part of the story is how everyone had just left and you stopped for one last look and found the rare butterfly.

Think I'll now send out an email to my friends, telling them to come and read this post.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Randy Emmitt said...

Ali,
All about being in the right place at the right time. The day before a Barred White was found in the garden I was visiting another first US record!

Ryan,
Thanks for stopping by! I added your blog to my blog list.

Town,
Brillant, maybe your right!


Annie,
A year after I found this clearwing another closely related Clearwing was found in the same garden!

Yeah I was just hanging out and not wanting to leave and there it was and I'd seen it in our local buuerfly house so I knew what it was in fact when I found it.

madcobug said...

A very rare and beautiful find. I love birds and butterflies. Helen

Ian Percy said...

Extraordinary! Wonderful photo and very interesting story

fairegarden said...

Oh Randy, this is just the happiest of stories! Your photo is marvelous and the background narrative is as well. You have done science and the world a great service with this capture. You deserve more that fifteen minutes, and I think this blog entry will take care of that! I am proud to know you. :-)
Frances

Carol said...

What a great find Randy. I wonder did you know at the time it was so rare? It might have been hard to hold still from the excitement! I imagine you use a tripod... pretty hard with butterflies though... which makes me admire your stunning photos all the more. The transparent wings remind me of a dragonfly. To think you nearly left without seeing this ... it is as if a gift waiting just for you... somehow you knew to look again. Great story! I gather with the warming trend there will be more species moving north. Gorgeous butterfly. Carol

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

This must have been so exciting! What a beautiful butterfly!

nancybond said...

As delicate a creature as it is rare -- what a magnificent find!

Shady Gardener said...

What a wonderful experience, Randy. The fact that you'd spent time in a place actually looking for butterflies (with your camera!) makes it so much more rewarding! Thank you for sharing your experience and your photos! It's a beauty! (Is it larger than most clear wings?)

Q said...

So very beautiful! As a fellow lover of the butterfly I can just feel the excitment. I also have seen these in butterfly houses but never in the wild. A rare stray that you photographed beautifully!
Still have all my 15 minutes to look forward to. Think I will photograph an Ivory Billed! LOL!
Happy Holidays to you and yours.
Sherry

Di said...

Randy, phenomenal! photo, experience... phenomenal. It was waiting just for you.

compost in my shoe said...

Way cool. And what a fantastic take.

Ginger said...

Oh wow I don't know how I missed this post on Sunday!
AMAZING photos! Congrats!

Kanak Hagjer said...

What an amazing photo of such a beautiful butterfly! Congrats, Randy. Loved going through the article...what a find!

Gail said...

Randy, That is the most beautiful butterfly i've ever seen...Magical with the clear wings. You richly deserve acclaim! gail

Grace Peterson said...

Randy~~ Nice photos. The butterfly is amazing and you deserve your time in the limelight.

sweet bay said...

Great find Randy! A beautiful butterfly -- almost looks like a cross between a damselfly and a butterfly.

Corner Gardener Sue said...

Cool beans, Randy, and to think you took these with your camera phone! You even got it in 2 different poses and on 2 different flowers. I'm tickled that I got to see that awesome butterfly, too. Thanks for showing us! That was a nice write up, too.

Doug Taron said...

The clearwings are stunning butterflies. Those are great photos. I've photographed ithomiines a bunch of times- but that was in Costa Rica where they are way more abundant. Even then, my pics did not turn out as well as yours.

azplantlady said...

Hello Randy,

That butterfly is so beautiful and unusual. What an amazing opportunity. Aren't you glad you had your camera with you?

Thank you for your thoughtful comments on my blog. I appreciate your visit very much.

Noelle

Thomas said...

Oh WOW! That's one heck of a 15 minutes of fame. I've never seen translucent wings on a butterfly before. You must have been so excited when you realized what it was. Do you know whether its been spotted again?

Jackie said...

Wow! That butterfly is incredible. Love the see-through look.

Roy said...

These are great photos Randy and something to be proud of.

Kim and Victoria said...

That's so very cool! And that is one gorgeous, gorgeous butterfly!

Janet said...

How very exciting for you! You deserve more than 15 minutes! What a remarkable find. I always marvel at your photos though, so I may be biased. Congrats!

Meredith/Great Stems said...

Wow -- that is truly a beautiful butterfly. I'm so glad you found it, especially with camera in hand!

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

Congratulations on the wonderful find, and on the story in the paper! You are an amazing photographer!