Blue Ghost Fireflies

Blue Ghost Fireflies

So let’s talk about Blue Ghost fireflies a bit. If anyone ever says to you “would you like to go see some blue ghosts?” Your answer is an immediate YES! Or, you could do a little bit of Googling on your own. You’ll discover that you can go up to Dupont or Pisgah Forest and see them there. I’ll leave that to you. I won’t tell our destination because it’s private property and we did have an invitation.

When We Arrived

I knew we had found the right place when we saw the headlights from a car peeking through the trees. We pulled in to the drive and circled around behind the vehicle. We got out and met Don Lewis, who was also along on this expedition. Don once owned a large tract not too far from where we were and that is where he first got to know the blue ghost fireflies. He no longer owns that property, but has created a conservation easement for the preservation of the habitat for the fireflies. You can read about Don’s research at his website. It was not too many more minutes before our hostess arrived and we began our wait for darkness. That’s the thing about the blue ghosts—they wait until it is completely dark (like an hour after sunset) before they appear, unlike the ones we see, or used to see, at dusk in our backyards.

Waiting for the Ghosts

While we were waiting for dark, we were able to see something else that we don’t often see in downtown Greenville, or any other municipal area. We saw stars! Billions and billions of them! Light pollution really is a thing and you don’t realize what you are missing from the night sky until you have a chance to see a really dark sky. Try it sometime, you will be amazed!
And then, one by one, we began to see ethereal blips up on the ridge. They seemed to float and one of them might suddenly dive for the ground, looking for a mate. There were countless blips. It was hard to decide where to look, although we sort of knew that the fireflies were going to first appear on this ridge, drifting down through the clearing where we were sitting and drifting on up the ridge on the other side. Sometimes it looked as though the blips were just moving randomly and at other times it looked as though they had arrayed themselves in ranks and were just floating down the hillside. There were hundreds or thousands, I don’t know. It was just indescribable! It was magical!

So, if anyone every says to you “Do you want to go see. . .” drop what you are doing and go!

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