Our Most Shared Butterfly Photo

Melitaca trivia butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Hermon, Israel
These last 3.5 years seem to have shot by, in a flash. wingedbeauty.com has been up that long, and now archives the more than 430 images that we’ve posted.

I shoveled snow twice today, and I must have looked forlornly at my front garden at least 8 times. The American plums and ice hydrangeas are only in for one year, but they gamely stood in their beds, buds looking healthy and earnest.

Back in the house, I got to thinking. Which of all of my posted images has stood out amongst the others, for this or that reason? Here is an answer to that. This image is the most shared of them all.

it’s serendipity too, because we met this Melitaea Persea Montium butterfly on the tippy top of Mt. Hermon, in Israel in June 2008. It was very, very hot and dry on that mountain, and I like remembering that now, when the last 2 weeks have featured nights with zero degrees Fahrenheit and below.

Why is it the most shared? I must guess. Because it is very rare, only found on that mountain top, and its flight is short, happily in June, when Mr. Passion for Seeking Butterflies was on the top of the mountain.

I fly to Israel on March 8, G-d willing. No way I can work Mt. Hermon for butterflies. It is covered with a cap of snow. I do plan to explore the slopes of the mountain, and the Upper Galilee. Yes I will be careful. Knowing that I’ll be close to the border with Lebanon, where the terrorist organization Hezbollah has now been joined by Iranian troops, together conspiring to cause murder and mayhem, this once-Brooklyn boy has seen enough action to not want to . . .

You know, the United Nations should have a permanent representative with a vote, there to represent all of G-d’s creatures, who seem forever jeopardized by the senseless actions of crazy humans.

Jeff

Is Shining Your Shoes Passe?

Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania, 9/5/14
Traffic here from guys under age 40? Light, I would say. So I’ll share the thought. Here in Doak Field, Beaver County, Pennsylvania, on September 5th, this sizable Great Spangled Butterfly was now out from the woods, and she wanted to warm her wings in the early morning sunlight. That quick mental tug-of-war resolved, I decided to work to capture yet another image of these huge Fritillaries, and hopefully . . . best those that I already have in my Neumade slide cabinet.

Fort Dix, New Jersey and Fort Sill, Oklahoma got me into shining my boots daily, a habit that I have now relaxed into a weekly chore. I have always loved rich chocolate brown leather shoes, and used to love my chocolate brown suits, but they have long slipped into “No one wears them anymore-ville.” Also, I’m guessing that men under 40 don’t shine their shoes and perhaps never did.

Our Speyeria Cybele totally evokes my shoe shining rituals. Could it be that rich brown that triggers that wired thought? Butterflies all evoke thoughts and snippets of memory for me. Do they for you, too?

She’s about the same as you’d see her in Eatonton, Georgia or Crockett, Virginia, as well as up in Maine and usually down to the Western sides of both North and South Carolina. (Cech and Tudor, Butterflies of the East Coast).

Jeff

Expendable Butterflies?

Meadow Fritillary Butterfly at Rector, PA
The Holidays, the beautiful, meaningful Holidays are upon us. New Years Eve, days away. Petra and I take our long walks through Frick Park, and old and new friends ask which of my family is coming in to Pittsburgh? A new year is approaching.

Have a second look at this Meadow Fritillary (Boloria Bellona) butterfly. Many are concerned that their numbers are steadily plummeting. Farms going fallow, fields abandoned, and going through the succession that leads to forest. Monarch butterflies an even bigger concern, Coral Hairstreak butterflies becoming tougher to find, Regal Fritillaries still present in one locale in my own state, but no one wants to enable me to photograph them (?).

Ya know, back in P.S. 244 in Brooklyn, I remember my teacher telling our class that Castor Canadensis (the Beaver) and wolves (timber) would all be gone one day. I don’t think she ever heard of the river otter, or she would have mentioned them in that same sentence.

The thing is, with ’14 ending, what are we going to do about all this? I want us, those who come here, to pay attention, and register their concern, line up with the heroes, the ones who restore a briar patch in a corner of Georgia. Don’t need a horse or a banner or pointed lance. 2015 needs our vigilance, and voice.

James Fisher, traveling with Roger Tory Peterson in 1953, couldn’t get over how beautiful America was, and how much of it was still wild. Enough of it is still left, to warrant our love and affection.

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to you!

Jeff

Do You See What I See?

Lycanea Thersamon butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mt. Meron, Israel

This is what it’s all about. There is no predicting what we will find when we set out to discover butterflies. It is a brew of timing, location, weather, habitat health, and your luck quotient. This view shot that thought through my mind, ‘Do you see what I see?’ A solitary figure on that agricultural road in Mishmarot, Israel, the question was a sweet one for me, although it could not be shared at the time.

The time was perfect, 6:50 AM. Perfect because the July 14th morning sun rises quickly. The location was good, this field remained unplanted, and hardy wildflowers flourished. The habitat? Almost all habitat in the Holy Land is desert hardy, and the previous winter had been wet enough. The Luck Quotient? I was in Israel. It is more beautiful than . . . . Well since few of you have been there, I can share with impunity that this Land is more beautiful can you can imagine. There I was, grandson just born, daughter so happy, sky blue, air super-clear, butterflies abundant, family hosting me and showing me around like visiting royalty.

This shot of the Fritillary butterfly Melitaea Trivia Syriaca engaged from some distance, an insurance shot, is sugar to my eye, truth be told.

Jeff