Butterflies With Outsized Wings?

Tawny Hackberry butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Jim Gilreath today posted an exceptional image of a Giant swallowtail butterfly. It was shot in the Butterfly & Blooms Briar Patch in Eatonton, Georgia. The same Briar Patch Habitat that I have visited several times this year. You can see Jim’s photo on the Butterfly & Blooms in the Briar Patch Facebook page. A stunner it is.

Certain to catch your eye is the apparent oversize of the Giant’s wings. They look well, too big for the butterfly, too big to control, to coordinate, too big for successful flight.

That brought me to remember this image, of a Tawny Emperor butterfly, I happened onto in Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania, my home. As I was both marveling at its stately beauty, and shooting away, this angle, that angle, this shutter speed, bracketing that shutter speed . . . I was thinking, Holy Cow! those wings look way too big for this butterfly to fly with. After it tolerated dozens of exposures early, early that morning, it answered my query, when it zoooomed away, in a straight, high speed trajectory, Gone!

I think Jim’s Giant swallowtail does have outsized wings, and I think this Tawny emperor’s wings are also oversize. How, with Big, Big wings, do they fly so well, so fast, so directed, so gracefully? Is their extraordinary flight meant as a gift to us, to tease and tantalize our senses?

Oh and this print, dark room processed by Gerry Hare, and archivally matted and framed, hangs in our dining room, for all to see, for me to enjoy, daily. Another original print, that too printed by this master, Mr. Hare, hangs in a home in Georgia. Both mats include cut-outs, with a scholar’s original calligraphy in Hebrew, roughly translated, ‘How Great Are Your [G-d’s] Works.’


Our 2016 Travels: Revealed

Jeff Zablow and his dog, Petra, photographed by Jenny Jean Photography.

Jeff Zablow and his dog, Petra, photographed by Jenny Jean Photography.

What a year 2016! We sought butterflies all the way back to March. Sitting here tonight, coursing through Facebook, Kim’s, Virginia’s, Stanley’s, Phil’s, Cathy’s, Marcie’s, Barbara Ann’s, Angela’s, Joan’s,Vicki’s, Nancy’s, Erica’s, Terry’s, Joanne’s, Lisa’s, Jennifer’s, Peggy’s, Leslie’s . . . all of your beautiful butterfly posts this year got me to a melancholy place.

Petra and I hit the road aboard the trusty ’06 Toyota Tundra, on the hunt for newer, better butterfly images, and time and time again, images of butterflies I’d never seen before!

Petra and I traveled to: Chapman State Park (NY), Oxford (MD), Frewsburg (NY), and we made 3 trips to Eatonton (GA).

My Black Russian travels very well, in fact loves to travel. She made history this year, the only pooch in the history of Interstate 20 (Georgia to South Carolina) who enjoyed a meal served to her in her bowl, on the median line on the eastbound lanes (well, due to that 2.5 hours parked delay, the result of a very scary looking 18-wheeler wreck).

We now have more than 140 new images to share over the coming months. Good news that.

Petra does have difficulty understanding why we aren’t on the road now, and why we won’t spin those wheels until, well, March 2017. Anyone know how to get her to get that?


Orchids in Western Pennsylvania

Pink Lady's Slipper Wildflower, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Chapman State Park, NY

Sure, no winged beauties in this shot. I was in Chapman State Park in northwestern Pennsylvania this past June, 2016. I was there in 2015 too, and sure enough found Pink Lady’s Slipper native orchids. They take your breath away, they do! You just stand there and admire, and you reflect on the vulnerability of these delicate looking wildflowers.

So when I went back in June of this year, the question? was can I find them again? Yes, I searched and found this years Lady’s Slippers. The other question was, shoot them again? I do, do have good images of Pink Lady’s Slipper,  taken right here. My decision, how could I  . . . not? They are exquisite, graceful, elegant and just bathe your eyes with luscious.

I have posted Pink Lady’s Slippers here on wingedbeauty this year. But today my wife reminded me of how much she enjoy those recent shares here.

Well, if that’s the case, take in this other gentle view of  a few of these sweeties!


Where To Go To See SouthEastern Butterflies?


There was a dearth of butterflies in the U.S. northeast, this 2016. It began, puzzled many, and never ended. Species of butterflies usually seen, never appeared. Finding a single flier of many butterflies species became, well, exciting! This absence of butterflies concerns (scares!) those of us who look for, and seek them.

I made 3 trips down to Georgia in ’16. My destination? The Butterflies & Blooms In The Briar Patch Habitat in central Georgia, a little more than an hour east of Atlanta. Eatonton is a county seat, Putnam County. It’s a very hospitable town, with very friendly people in it. I’ve made 7, 7 trips to the Habitat in 2015 and 2016. The warmth, friendliness and welcoming you receive is Real and so pleasing. So when you take my advice and go there, you will see legions of butterflies, flying morning and afternoon, and flying in OMG! plenty.

If the founder of this Miracle! (who worked with her volunteers, tirelessly, for several years now), Virginia Linch get winds that you are going to visit the Habitat, she will make sure to give you the above reception (‘warm, friendly, welcoming’).

But to the point, it’s almost always sunny, and the thousands of hostplants and nectar-producing plants insure that your head will be aswirl with flying butterflies. If you’re not already living in the South, many butterflies will be new to you. (Also the home of the childrens’ books including the Briar Rabbit series & the writer of The Color Purple).

Footnote: The tremendously popular Lake Oconee is nearby, and has been a beacon for 2nd homeowners from the northeast and the midwest. Know that thousands, many thousands of folks from your home state own nearby. You’ll see them in the Publix parking lot, and you’ll see their license plates here, there and everywhere.

Totally citizen formed, nurtured, planted, maintained, loved and, well without any PR or advertising. Go. Go. And let me know when you do.