Silver Spots at the Bog

Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly on Swamp Milkweed, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Allenberg Bog in New York

We spent not one, but two mornings at Allenberg Bog in northwestern New York State. Nary a moment with nothing to do there, for the botany was extraordinary, and those Bog Copper butterflies captivated, and challenged.

Why did the Bog Coppers count as a challenge? They were beyond tiny, flew very closed to the ground, mostly from one Bog Cranberry blossom to another. As you worked to capture a killer of an image, you experienced that bog thing, that your feet were steadily sinking down into the bog. Sinking while you’re readying for a click negates countless captures over 2 sunny mornings. This was a single Bog Copper flight, and each time we sought another Bog Copper, it was always the same, slightly worn. I kept searching, but that very fresh butterfly never did show up.

Some 100 feet from the bog’s open water, wildflowers stood, and these (swamp ?) milkweeds were seeing new butterflies every few minutes. I was pleased when this Great Spangled Fritillary flew in. He was fine looking, and I wanted to capture the sunlight reflecting off of his silver spots. In the field, real-time, the right moment, when he turns and the sunlight bounces off of those spots, pleases your eyes, alot!

I’m hoping to revisit a northeastern sphagnum moss bog this year, one like Allenberg, where you might, if G-d wants you to, see any of 5 or more different fritillaries. See, that excites me. I threw the latter out, hoping that you . . . .

Jeff

Why Eatonton?

"Billy' Butterfly Mobile photographed by Jeff Zablow at Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat I, Eatonton, GA

I’m now a Georgian, though each time I’m asked why I moved to Georgia, and especially why I relocated to the Georgia Piedmont (central Georgia, east of Atlanta), I again and again realize that native Georgians don’t fully appreciate the riches that Georgia provides, time and time again.

Steadfast followers of winged beauty.com recall that those several years of driving down to Virginia’s Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton charmed me, much. When I had to decide where to go, after Pittsburgh, the answer was clear, to this sweet little city, Eatonton, with the best wild butterfly habitat east of the Mississippi River.

Eatonton made Virginia and her loyal supporters move the habitat to a bigger, different locale in town. This now begins year two there, having been forced to dig up and replant several hundred native shrubs, perennials, grasses and trees. This they did with nary a complaint, helped by folks from here and there.

I came here for their butterflies. For the genuine friendliness of folks here in Georgia, for the Big savings in almost everything (Krogers is some 20%-25% cheaper than Pittsburgh’s Giant Eagle, real estate taxes are much cheaper, car care is much cheaper (and high quality service), gasoline is 15% cheaper, . . . .).

Why Eatonton? This butterfly mobile sings out the answer to this query. Folks care here, they support our country and they Honor those who did so with their sweat, passion and lives. Lieutenant Colonel Billy Maltbie Jr. is the son of a Big Supporter of the Briar Patch Habitat, and this American Hero died, much too young, while serving in South Korea. A friend of the Habitat fabricated these butterfly silhouettes, and Virginia hung this one for this not forgotten Patriot, whose ancestor fought in our own Revolutionary War, to oust the Brits and create the United States of America.

Jeff, Happy as a Duck, in beautiful Eatonton, where service to country is respected and supported.

Jeff

That Librarian Moment

Palamedes Swallowtail on Thistle Flowerhead photographed by Jeff Zablow in Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, Florida's Panhandle

My first morning in the Spring Unit at Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, near Perry, Florida. I will not forget driving up to the entrance to the entrance to the Spring Unit, and ogling a stand of these large thistles, each sporting oversize flowerheads. It wasn’t so much the size and rich color of the thistle. What super-charged me was the platoon of huge Palamedes Swallowtail butterflies that were feeding on them!

I etched that sight into my life-memory bank. A moment when I was touched by the absolute beauty before me, negating all the blah/blah of those who lack firm conviction of the origin of it all.

The Palamedes tolerated my relatively close approach, and this look pleases me.

TBTold, it was a ‘Librarian Moment.’ Self enforced silence, for I was in a very special place, enjoying a very special sight, and I knew that silence was appropriate and earned there.

I plan to return there, perhaps to the Hickory Creek Unit, soon, in April 2019. Yippee!

Jeff

Eye Candy Swallowtail

Palamedes Swallowtail Butterfly on Thistle photographed by Jeff Zablow at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, GA

We were at ‘What’s this, What’s that?’ mode, now examining this heretofore never seen thistle. Its stems looked way too frail, and its flowers had delicate petals, they a difficult to describe pinkish white.

What also caught our eye was the steady arrival of butterflies and bees. I reasoned that with the obvious magnetic pull of these blossoms, I might just stop at this particularly robust looking thistle, and await what might fly in.

That worked out well, for soon this especially gorgeous Palamedes Swallowtail butterfly arrived. He had to be very fresh, for his wings were almost black, and their shocks of color were as dramatic as you’d see in the butterflies of Costa Rica, Peru, Bolivia or Indonesia.

A super-duper Palamedes swallowtail at the edge of Laura’s Woody Pond in Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, on the Georgia coast.

Eye candy in this showcase of a Refuge.

Jeff

Captured Before the Russians, North Koreans, Hezbollah, Iranian Regulars/Irregulars, ISIL . . .

Tarucus Rosaceus butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow near the Syrian border, at Golan Heights, Israel

I wanted images of the 2 Tarucus butterflies found in the HolyLand. I was in an SPNI field house in the Golan, and my plan was to drive south to a place I’d never been to, with no guidance other than the maps in an Israel field guide. The more than one hour drive skirted the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, past Capernum, to scout out probable habitat for these black and white nifties.

Found them! Here is Tarucus rosaceus, sweetly nectaring in a spot some 3/4 of a miles or so from the Syrian border. His markings are striking, and I was very happy that I made the effort to add Tarucus to my ‘I Really Want To Locate These Butterflies’ itinerary.

I did stand there and marvel at how close I was to villainous, murderous demons, the Syrian butchers, the mercenary Russians and their high tech ‘toys,’ Iranian Thugs who call themselves the Iranian Guard, for hire North Korean Satans, ISIL monsters who kill and behead Christians and whomever else, Hezbollah Haters who train 7 days a week to kill Jews, Chinese technicians who are there to do what?, Hamas murderers and  . . . All of them madmen less than a mile away, and there I am breaking my own rule, getting down on my belly to cop a shot of a tiny Tarucus butterfly (thus offering myself up to ticks, scorpions and Middle Eastern pit vipers-of the no known serum type).

A grown man acting like a boy, all to catch a good look at G-d’s work.

Jeff