In the Company of the Pearl Crescent Butterfly

I love watching butterflies flutter through a meadow.

I was lucky to come across Sherry Felix's blog post, which helped me identify the butterfly I photographed as a Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos) butterfly. Thanks, Sherry!

The Pearl Crescent butterfly, found all across North America except the West Coast, inhabits open spaces like fields and pine woods. It sports orange uppersides with black borders and marks, while the underside of its hindwing showcases a dark marginal patch with a light crescent.

These butterflies sustain themselves on nectar from flowers like dogbane and aster. Female Pearl Crescents meticulously place their eggs on aster leaves, and the caterpillars, which also feed on asters, go through winter in their caterpillar stage. The flight period spans from April to November featuring three broods.

Right after emerging, Pearl Crescents often gather near puddles before dispersing into fields to drink nectar and mate. I photographed this butterfly in the Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve meadow.

Mistaken Identity

I never know what surprises nature has in store for me. Sometimes, it's about being at the right place and time, and I lucked out during this meadow tour.

I must admit that my knowledge about dragonflies and damselflies is limited. The photograph was captured near the end of a meadow walk at Bowman’s Hill Wildlife Preserve in New Hope, Pennsylvania. It was a hot and humid mid-morning, and the tour was ending. I had swung my XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR to a flower in the meadow, and in seconds, the dragonfly had landed.

While I’ve noticed some beautiful dragonflies buzzing near Van Horne Park and Skillman Park in Montgomery Township, they were always too quick for me to get a good shot. Not this time! I was ready with my camera, and luck was on my side as this dragonfly decided to pose for me right before the lens.

It's funny how sometimes you try to get a certain shot, and it just doesn't happen. But then, when you least expect it, bam! I guess that's one of the things about photography – you never know what surprises nature has in store for you. Sometimes, it's about being at the right place and time, and I lucked out during this meadow tour.

After researching online, I was confident that the dragonfly in my photograph was most likely a Brook Snaketail (Ophiogomphus aspersus). However, after posting the photograph to Friends of Homegrown National Park Pennsylvania Facebook group, I realised I was mistaken. Two group members identified the dragonfly in my photograph as Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis).

Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly is native to a large region, encompassing the eastern two-thirds of the United States and southern Ontario and Quebec in Canada, to the eastern parts of the Caribbean, including the Bahamas, the West Indies, Mexico, and even Central America, reaching as far south as Costa Rica. Due to its widespread presence and abundance, the International Union for Conservation of Nature has classified this species as of "least concern," meaning it faces no imminent threat of extinction.

The Eastern Pondhawk thrives in the tranquil waters of ponds and other stillwater bodies, making it a common sight in these habitats. Interestingly, when newly emerged, the dragonflies initially hunt away from water, returning to the ponds after approximately two weeks.

What is a silo?

Medium and are silos you should try avoiding by Jatan MehtaJatan Mehta (Thought Brew)

Or why and how to own the connection to your audience.

I read Jatan Mehta's argument about, and while I respect his perspective, I must respectfully disagree with some of his statements. Let me offer a rebuttal to address the concerns in his article Medium, and social platforms are siloes you should try avoiding.

Jatan Mehta asserts that blogging on platforms like can lead to being "semi-locked-in" regarding owning the connection to your audience. He argues that social media platforms often make it difficult to move your followers to a new platform and that and Medium have adopted similar tactics, hindering portability.

Before I start, one major issue I have with Jatan's article is the conflation of, a blogging platform with microblogging and social messaging platforms like It's crucial to recognise that doesn't include any social messaging features – it never has. He might as well be comparing pawpaw and papaya.

While I understand the concern about maintaining a connection with your audience, Jatan's argument overlooks some important aspects of using and similar blogging platforms. Let's delve into these points:

  1. Standardisation and Portability: Jatan acknowledges that blogs are largely standardised, allowing easy movement from one platform to another. This is even easier if your website has a domain name. This is a crucial advantage of blogging platforms like Unlike social media platforms, where your content's fate is tied to the platform's existence, a blog can be exported in a format other platforms can understand. Thus, even if were to suspend your account (an unlikely scenario for most users who adhere to platform guidelines), you still have the option to take your content and migrate it elsewhere without losing your valuable thoughts and contributions.
  2. Audience Ownership: Jatan raises concerns about owning the connection with your readers and followers on While it's true that some blogging platforms, such as Medium, force you to retain followers within their ecosystem, it's essential to consider that your primary means of communication with your audience on is through your content – your blog posts. Your readers subscribe to your blog and follow you (via RSS) to receive updates directly from you. While there might be other mechanisms like "Follow" buttons or email subscription lists, the heart of your connection with your audience remains rooted in the content you produce, not just the platform-specific features. Regarding Jatan's notion of exporting his followers and forcing them to follow him on another platform is far-fetched. How exactly does he plan to make that work?
  3. Diverse Engagement Options: provides multiple avenues for engaging with your audience. While some may prefer direct email subscriptions or RSS feeds, others might find value in following your blog through the platform's built-in "Follow" mechanism. Different people have different preferences, and offering a variety of options can be advantageous in reaching a broader audience. Automattic has acquired the ActivityPub plug-in! With this development, I'm confident that will soon be able to facilitate rich conversations with Mastodon instances. This integration holds great promise for enhancing the platform's capabilities and fostering more dynamic interactions across the web. Remember that engagement methods should complement one another rather than create a rigid either/or choice.
  4. Medium's Algorithmic Challenge: Jatan highlights his struggles with Medium's algorithm, which impacts the visibility of his posts to his followers. While algorithmic challenges can affect content reach on some platforms, this is not an inherent limitation of all blogging platforms, including The reach on is noticeably lower compared to other platforms. The community size is relatively small, and Manton's intentional design choices constrain the behaviours that expand reach., for instance, provides various ways to optimise your content's discoverability, such as SEO tools, tags, and categories. Engaging with your audience through is a more direct and transparent process compared to social media algorithms, where your content's reach is often at the mercy of platform-specific algorithms.

  5. RSS and Email: Jatan mentions RSS and email subscribers as the solution to platform lock-in. He’s on the right path to how to avoid platform lock-in, whether or otherwise. He conveniently ignores that supports both. supports RSS follows via JetPack’s Reader. They call this feature "follow". As a user, I can follow any blog vis RSS feed, whether hosted on or Anyone can sign-up to get my newsletter. They don’t need a account to do so. When I want to leave, I can export all the email addresses to a CSV file and import them into my new platform. I can export all my JetPack Reader follows as an OPML file and follows those blog in another RSS aggregator.

  6. Comments: There's an important distinction to be made when leaving comments on posts versus websites. On, leaving a comment to a blog post requires having a account, whereas on, no account is needed to leave a comment. relies on the Akismet service, which has proven incredibly effective in keeping spam at bay. After over 20 years of using WordPress, I can confidently say that Akismet has not failed me. It's a reliable tool that ensures the comments section remains a clean and engaging space for readers and bloggers alike.

Manton wrote about silos in his book:

Not all centralized services are silos. The key trait of silos is isolation. Silos wall-off and limit our control over content, usually by storing all content at the silo’s own domain name rather than allowing personal domain names.

Jatan's's preference for email and RSS-based direct engagement with his audience is valid. I’ve always encouraged my readers to use RSS. Additionally, the portability and standardisation of blogs ensure that my content remains under my control. While platforms may offer additional engagement options, the primary connection with your audience lies in the value of your content. Embracing diverse methods of engaging with your audience can amplify your reach and impact, making blogging platforms like valuable tools for building an online presence and sharing your thoughts with the world.

As Manton said in his book under the section, Owning your content.

I think in the tech world — and especially as programmers — we tend to make things more complicated than they need to be. We know too much about content ownership, most of it irrelevant for mainstream users.

If you want to control your content on the web, post it at your own personal domain name. That’s it. Everything else you want to do is icing on the cake.

Owning your content isn’t about portable software. It’s about portable URLs and data. It’s about domain names.

When you write and post photos at your own domain name, your content can outlive any one blogging platform. In all the years of blogging at, I’ve switched blogging platforms and hosting providers a few times. The posts and URLs can all be preserved through those changes because it’s my own domain name.

If you can’t use your own domain name, you can’t own it. Your content will be forever stuck at those silo URLs, beholden to the whims of the algorithmic timeline and shifting priorities of the executive team.

I’ve had my domain for nearly 20 years, and this blog has lived on Blogger,, and MoveableType before I settled on self-hosted WordPress. As long as I can export my content and my audience has access to RSS, I’ll never be locked in.

NOTE: Both @moonmehta and I are part of the community. I even supported their Kickstarter! However, it's worth mentioning that my primary website is self-hosted on WordPress. For those interested in a self-hostable, single-user, IndieWeb-friendly microblogging open-source software, check out