Agree or Disagree?

American copper butterfly photographed at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Years and years into photographing butterflies now, and you would think that I would be steadily approaching, well, saturation. If that makes sense to you, surprise! The challenges, opportunities and thinking continues, unabated, and not diminished. Here’s an example of a present new idea of mine.

I shot this exposure of an American Copper some years ago. When I light boxed the dozen or more images of it, I was very Happy with this one. Very. Some of you may think: I see things here that Jeff likes. Others of you may think: Why does this image stand out from the nearly 800 in wingedbeauty’s Media Library?

Me? I have always liked this share of the head. Michal has 2 Shih Tzus, and they used to refer to them as ‘pookies.’ Small, and very cute. Munchkin and Shnookie were, and are, even at 12 and 13 years. This head struck me at first sight as a ‘pookie.’ Eyes, palps and sweet antennae. The left wings, ventral sides, are clear, colorful and dramatically colored. Those wings are fresh and not bird-struck. The legs are nicely shared, and set in a way that pleases the eye. The plant stem that this Copper is standing on boasts those fascinating fibers over its length, and that stalk is set at a slight angle, adding personality to the image. The leaves toward the right of the image bear red borders/veins, further jazzing up the shot. Bonus to all is the background, a comely green, minty and persuasive to the eye.

Digging further, a Georgia friend recently shared that she had never yet seen an American Copper butterfly. As soon as she wrote that, my mind shot to this look, and that was the ‘seed’ that led to this very post. Thanks Nancy.

Sometime soon we will add a new Feature to wingedbeauty.com, Jeff’s 8 (10?) Favorite Images. This should be amongst those 8 or 10, for how many times I’ve scrolled down the Library, and stopped to smile at this one.

Do you Agree or Disagree that this photo deserves broad exposure?

Jeff

Reminiscing With The Milkweed Butterflies

Plain Tiger butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mishmarot, Israel

Plain Tiger butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mishmarot, Israel

The Danaids, or Milkweed butterflies are best known to Americans as the Monarch, the Queen and the Soldier. Right now, Monarchs are especially on the forefront of butterfly fret, knowing that recent reports have their numbers seriously down. That ‘fret?’ Will they return to us in Pennsylvania, Georgia, New Jersey, New York, Vermont and Ontario, in good number?

Examine these danaids. Have you seen them in your own South Carolina, Michigan, Maine or West Virginia? Well, no. This is the Plain Tiger butterfly, and it flies in Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Syria (if that carnage has left any survivors). Cech and Tudor, in my favorite field guide, Butterflies of the East Coast (Princeton University Press) tantalizes with this: “The Plain Tiger (Danaus chrysippus) was “described” as early as 3500 B.C., in a painting on an Egyptian tomb wall.”

I’m liking my photo here much, as I slowly begin my preparation for my flight in late March to Israel, for a reunion with Plain Tigers, a menu of Middle Eastern butterflies, and my daughter, grandsons and extended family. Once again, I pledge to travel throughout the north, and will not leave my bootprint on the hot borders that demarcate where Lebanon (Hezbollah) and Syria (Russia, ISIL, Al Queda, the Rebels, Hezbollah, Iran, and other despicables) begin.

Reminiscing wth the Danaids, whose flight is “elegant and gliding” (Cech and Tudor), whether at the Butterflies & Blooms Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia or within a short hike of Mishmarot, Israel.

Jeff

Feel the Excitement?

Pipeline Swallowtail Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Fort Indiantown Gap Military Reservation, PA

As we watch February 2017 wane, and we see our daffodils peak here, friends farther south of Pittsburgh are sharing images of perennials in bloom, and butterflies flying . . . now! Knock on wood, for the Weather.com forecast here calls for moderate temperatures in the next 2 whole weeks. Carramba!! With some of those 14 forecasts predicting temps above 60F, we can expect butterflies: Cabbage whites, Eastern Commas & Mourning cloaks, and you can almost ‘take that to the bank.’

This view is very special to me, enjoyed at the restricted military reserve in central Pennsylvania. You remember that I travelled there 2 years ago, in June, when it is opened for 4 days, for folks like us to see and go Pop-eye! at the sight of Regal fritillary butterflies. George Washington saw them throughout the colonies, but today, the only ones known to fly between Maine and the Panhandle are in this Fort Indiantown Gap Military Reserve, near Harrisburg, PA and near Penn State University. This instant look captures a very shmeksy! Pipevine swallowtail butterfly, at the thistle bar.

Those regal fritillaries fulfilled a long-term goal. Now what butterflies fly out at my field guides, as I turn the pages? Diana fritillaries in the mountains of northern Georgia (Who? to lead me to them??), Uncommon commas in northern Maine (once again, who??), Northern metalmarks & Swamp metalmarks in Ohio (That one is booked!), Great Purple hairstreaks (Virginia?), Dorcas coppers (That Ohio caper?), the 3 northern Fritillaries that I have yet to make the acquaintance of (Bog, Purplish & Silver-bordered), Viola’s Little Wood-Satyr (???) & Cofaqui Giant-skipper (Dare I ask my friend for another favor???) for starters. Then there is Texas, northeastern Texas (Dreamy!) and my eyes extend to Vancouver Island (With a very experienced resident).

2017, dare I to dream. With the ’06 Tundra willing, Petra (my black russian) eager, and sufficient resource$, the excitement just keeps bubbling up in me. Which of you feel that breed of excitement?

Jeff

Your Monarch Prediction?

Monarch butterfly (male), photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

Six years into wingedbeauty.com, and we have seen burgeoning interest in Monarch butterflies. More and more us of fret over why we find fewer of them in the east most one-third of the United States.

We read most recently that the populations of Monarch butterflies in those central Mexico conifer forests are seriously down again. I hope that those reports are incorrect, but find myself concerned that another summer and fall will produce fewer Monarch sightings here in western Pennsylvania.

In 2016 I spotted very few in and around Pittsburgh. Happily, I photographed this male in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia. There were many Monarchs flying there when I visited in August and again when I returned there in September., Virginia Linch verified that central Georgia enjoyed good Monarch numbers last year.

With 2017 upon us . . . What do you Predict? How numerous do you expect Monarchs to be in your state, your county, and in your own garden?

Jeff