Human Sacrifice . . .

Gulf Fritillary Butterfly photographed at Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, North Carolina

She is resting along the trail on one of the many dikes at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, in southeastern South Carolina, some 30 minutes drive from Savannah, Georgia. Gulf Fritillary butterfly (Agraulis vanilla), fresh, exquisite and posing contentedly for Jeff. Yes. There is a but a major but here…but, meanwhile, I was being swarmed by dozens (?) of crazed mosquitoes. Our ‘Technique” feature (Have you seen it?) warns of the need to move robotically, slowly, to insure that the butterfly is not frightened and spooked. Hard to do there and then, with my hands lathered in several species of mosquitoes.

Few bites were made. I had sprayed myself with Off! when I arrived at the Refuge. With my jeans securely  tucked into my Red Wing boots, with the aid of blousing garters (Ft. Dix, NJ issue, thanks to the US Army), I sprayed my jeans, front and back, I sprayed the sleeves of my green, long sleeved shirt (LL Bean, cotton), I sprayed my neck, heavily, all around, my ears (exterior only), and the top of my cap (the university that my daughters attended sold a green hat, with just the right green tint to minimize startling butterflies). Yes I sprayed the backs of my hands, reluctantly, but later I was glad that I did. I didn’t spray my faces or forehead. Nor do I apply sun screen to my face, each year causing my dermatologist to give me a good talking to. I don’t apply anything to me face or forehead because…those creams and chemicals soon work down or up into my eyes, causing irritations, and that invariably occurs just as a fantastic butterfly enters my life space!

Many of you may prefer other purchased or home concocted insect repellents. Off! works well for me, very well, in the heavy strengthed aerosol spray can.

So this day I came away lucky, but miffed. I had to stand there and take it from the mini-insect-savages. I would have liked to somehow kapop! them right back, onto their teeny, weeny little backs.

Not the time to discuss, chiggers (Ugh!), biting deer flies (stealth biters!) or horseflies (ambushers, always reminding me of that one that kamikazed me at Black Moshannon State Park in central Pennsylvania).

What have I left out. Never been introduced to fire ants, or africanized bees or….enough,  Let me outta! here!

Jeff

Fabriciana Niobe Philistra (Protected) (Mt. Hermon) … 1 in 5,000,000,000,000 ?

Melitaea Persea Montium butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow on Mt. Hermon, Israel, 6/16/08

Wonderful! A working image of this rare, protected butterfly on… Mt. Hermon, at Israel’s northernmost border. He was not approachable … until he spotted these groundcover blooms on the mountaintop. So irresistible their aroma must have been, for he sped to these blossoms, and spent precious moments on each, taking in the sugary nectar.

This is another image that I am sharing, taken in June 2008. I had experienced a life-changing personal loss months before, and my daughter had relocated from Washington, D.C. to Tel Aviv. As I planned to visit her, I pushed myself to go for it, do something radical with my camera. Eran Banker was contacted, and off we went from Tel Aviv to … the peak of Mt. Hermon! Quite a few of my photos from Mt. Hermon can be seen here on wingedbeauty. Never, never will I forget that trip. Eagles flying by us as we took the lift to the mountaintop, butterflies like this one, found nowhere else, a landmine (where there were not supposed to be any), OMG! views of Syria and Lebanon, the cattle, grazing 7,000 feet plus on the mountaintop, and the knowledge that we were being watched, surveillance was watching us.

A rare Fritillary this one, flying May through July, on a mountain that you and I cannot visit because of a certain civil WAR, in  Syria.

Jeff

Long Tailed Blue (Mt. Meron)

Long tailed blue butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Meron

Vladimir, what would you have thought about this blue, encountered on Mt. Meron in Israel? Nabokov, perhaps the most expert student of the world’s blue butterflies, probably would have understood the frustration that I felt when the built-in light meter on my Canon film camera…failed while I was out on the trails of Mt. Meron. I knew that I was in a ‘pickle’ and I also knew that these hours on the mountain  were precious to me. So, I did my best to guess-timate apertures and shutter speed. Arrrgh!

Lampides boeticus Linnaeus enjoying some restful minutes on grass, the location, north-central Israel. Found where Asia, Africa & the Middle East come together, this male, with wings fully open, proudly displays its full upper wing surface. Diagnostic tails and black spots, he looks just fine against the mystically back-lit grass tuft.

It is my hope that 2014 will see me travel to several promising destinations to photograph. I am seeking help with pinpointing actual locations to find butterflies in the Florida Keys, alpine butterflies in Colorado, regal fritillaries, Dianas in West Virginia, Appalachian Satyrs, and more. If you are able to direct me to likely destinations,  please let me know.

We are scanning 60 new images…so keep coming back, my friends, there’s so much more winged beauty that we can enjoy….!

Jeff

Great Spangled Fritillary

Great Spangled fritillary b-fly - Raccoon Creek State Park, PA 

Umm! I’m overdue. Our 2 shih tzus and black russian need to go out for their walks. But out the window its dull, gray, slushy and sliiiipery. So I’m putting it off until they signal, now or never! Opening this image in our queue…Up comes this satisfying shot = Summer! You’ve just got to pause and visually drink it in. Don’t ski, toboggan, sled. Skin on my hands gets really challenged by the below freezing winters of Pittsburgh (No this is my home, so that’s that).

You already know that some of my images aren’t as close-up as others share, but I think our color here is good, real-time, and the plant life shared looks real, and not blah! She is motionless on a gravel trail in Raccoon Creek State Park, one of the many beautiful state parks in western Pennsylvania. That puts us about 400 miles due west, and a little bit south of New York City.

This morning I opened a new Robert Michale Pyle book, and after the last several terrific butterfly reads, this all has begun bringing my blood to a low boil. Look again at this image. How nice it will be to again share the trail with Speyeria cybele. Today is December 9th. Where are they now? They are present in your yards, parks, schoolyards and refuges. Where? They are hidden caterpillars, hidden in the leaf litter. When you watched your neighbor rake up the leaves last month in their large yard…good chance they were raking up some potentially eye-catching butterflies (or what would have been butterflies). Man and butterflies…sometimes they ….

It is my hope to travel a bit in 2014, to photograph, and share Regals, Diana’s, butterflies of the Keys, Texas’ much raved about Mission, Tx area, and …Newfoundland. If you like, look at our last post…I need your eyes and ears and boots. Thanks….

Jeff