Why Do It? Virginia

Winged Beauty Butterflies

Virginia Cinch in the Briar Patch, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

2014 may have been the first year that Virginia C Linch put shovel into this former industrial site. I’m not sure. I know that when she enthusiastically invited me to visit in 2015, I jumped at the chance. See southern butterflies, drawn to a single  habitat in Georgia! Yippee!

I could not believe what Virginia and Bartow and not much more than a handful of volunteers had accomplished! They’d planted hundreds of perennials, bushes and trees. Host plants galore, nectaring plants, shade plants. The non native, but heroic Mexican sunflowers completed the nectar menu.

Those 4 visits in ’15 were fantastic. Virginia was friendly, helpful, informative and selfless, spotting butterflies and stepping aside, allowing me the opps that guys like me dream of.

2016 delivered me back to this Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat. My posts here caught the attention of other Georgians, and a couple drove…

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Twin-Spot Skipper How Do You Do

Twin-spot Skipper Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, GA

We made the brief acquaintance of this “U” for Uncommon (Glassberg, A Swift Guide to Butterflies) Twin-Spot Skipper in Laura’s Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge. Yes it was a rush to see a seldom seen and very fresh skipper butterfly, perhaps the 3rd I’d ever seen. My move to Georgia continues to reward me with these kinds of thrilling moments, seeing butterflies that are seldom seen by even the most avid butterfly seekers.

Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge? Highly recommended. It is the home to so many much sough butterflies, wildflowers, botany, birds of wetlands and dry, insects, big alligators and baby alligators, snakes and more and more.

Fortunate you are when one such as Laura takes the time to urge you to head out to a destination, one that she knows is full of G-d’s creations, especially for me, butterflies.

Jeff

What Happened in 2004?

Pittsburgh South Vo-Tech public school field trip participants - May 2004, photographed by Jeff Zablow in Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Our field trip, kids from South Vo-Tech High School, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in May 2004. Thirteen (13) students and one teacher seen here. Me? I’m taking the picture. Each year I’d be sure to shoot my kids on our Wetland Studies field trips. The following year, I’d show my pics as slides, on our trusty tripod-legged screen. Those shown would gain near Oscar-night fame throughout the school, and that was so special for them, for they’d surely never again be lauded on a ‘big screen’ again.

We’d search out all that we could find in the 2 or 3 Pennsylvania State Parks we’d visit. Butterflies for sure. Wildflowers, trees, ferns, more. Birds. Lizards, snakes. We’d talk about the amazing community that it all fostered.

How, what do you think those experiences nurtured in my students? Good kids, few if any college-bound. How did such benefit our forever wild lands? Our conservation of flora and fauna in our cities, suburbs and undeveloped refuges?

Did I leave any legacy back in Pittsburgh? I’m asking what you think.

Jeff

A Rare HolyLand Butterfly & Crazed Killers

Pararge Aegeria Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in Northern Golan, Israel

I am very pleased that I captured this image of a rare, protected brush foot butterfly, in the very northern Golan region of Israel, the HolyLand. When you meet one such as this, vivid and fresh in color, you stop to appreciate how fortunate you have been! He required a very cautious, robotic approach, and that he held his ground and accepted a few camera clicks, Fantastic!

Parage aegeria are only found in the very northernmost reaches of the Galilee region and in the mountainous north of the Golan region. This is where Jesus and his Disciples walked and where the greatest of the Jewish Prophets lived. Amazing, lush green regions, watered by the Mt. Hermon range, so they are not desert-like, but instead vivid green and full of life.

‘Crazed Killers’ nearby. Yes. Now. It is reliably reported that thousands of Hezbollah, Iranian and Syrian fighters have moved close to there, to near the northern borders with Syria and Lebanon. Why? These barbarians hope to use that as a launching base to attack and destroy Israel, i.e., Jews, children and women.

Those who think of ‘2019’ as a year when the world has moved to new heights of civility? Guess again, cousins.

Rare, shy, sweet butterflies in the nothing-like-it HolyLand.

Jeff

WhoopTeDo! For This Hairstreak

Hickory Hairstreak photographed by Jeff Zablow at Akeley Swamp, NY

We were at Akeley Swamp Refuge, in very western New York State. We were approximately 9 hours from my hometown, Brooklyn, New York. The way things are in western New York, we might as well have been 15 hours away from frenetic New York City.

It was a memorable morning hike. The trail along this onetime train track flower bed had hundreds of lush Common Milkweed plants, all in peak of bloom. Problem was, all morning we saw few butterflies. It was a brain teaser. How could you have several million lush Asclepias Syriaca blooms, a sunny, windless morning, blue skies . . . and almost no butterflies . . . in the last half of June??

That downer soon disappeared, when I saw this tiny triangular figure on a milkweed flowerhead. What? Huh? Hello?? Not a Gray, nor a Striped, not an Edwards, or a Coral, nor a White M, definitely not an Acadian, or a Red-Banded, not even a Banded (I think) Hairstreak Butterfly.

My calm, relaxed physiology skyrocketed, it did. Was this a “R-U” (Rare to Uncommon (Glassberg, A Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America)) Hickory Hairstreak? If it is, I liken it to my elevator ride with Diana Ross in the fab Fuller Building at Madison and East 57th Street.

Seeing my what, 2nd Hickory Hairstreak in these 26 years rocks!

If any of you come and argue it’s a Banded, you’d better have total, irreversible proof, and not that, we need to see this or that argument, for that 94 seconds that it stuck around, will not be forgotten for at least the next 30 years.

That sort of a WhoopTeDo! experience? I cherish and prize them. Sometimes they take me back to when Frieda A”H would ask, when I came home from butterfly field work, ‘What did you see today?’ I loved when she would wait and listen for my full report. A Hickory??? OMG!

Jeff