Anthocharis Damone Syra in the Galilee

Anthocharis Damones (Protected), photographed by Jeff Zablow on Qedesh trail, Israel

What a coup! A male Anthocharis Damone Syra butterfly, protected because of its scarcity, in the Upper Galilee region of the HolyLand, Israel. I very much wanted to score an image of this richly colored butterfly, and I met them in March 2012 and again in March 2015.

Images shared in field guides often disappoint, for in the printing, color usually loses its real life richness. I’m sitting here with an Israeli field guide for butterflies, and the images of this Anthocharis is not only washed out looking, but it’s an image of a pinned, collected butterfly.

My images are shot with Fuji Velvia slide film, and I do that for, I am told, I’m a purist, and want real-time color. The image here very much approximates the hues of this butterfly that I saw on Kedesh trail, south of Kiryat Shemona, in the uppermost Galilee.

Our next chance to revisit Israel’s Galilee and Golan regions (lush, green and hilly to mountainous = not the arid desert some imagine when they think of Israel) may well be in May or June of 2020.

Hey, did you notice that sharp little purplish bloom in the right of the image?

Jeff

 

How To Respond To A Special Image?

Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Jamestown Audubon Center, NY

Each time I am to choose a new image to post onto wingedbeauty.com, I open our Media Library and review the 1,000 or so images that reside there. Twenty four years of images return the favor, and I begin to enjoy a soup of thoughts, washed in memories recent and not so recent.

I took them all, and they remind of the time I badly wanted an image on a tiny backroad, layed down to capture it Macro-, only to hear a vehicle approach. My legs? They were laying beyond the berm of this dirt road, exposed. Decision? I chose to take the image. The vehicle came and went, and I still have both of my legs and feet. Men!

Of all of the times that I went off trail in Israel, the HolyLand, trying for butterfly images. There are vipers in the Middle East that aren’t found in the USA. People die there, from venomous bites. Some of my Media Library images recall such foolishness on my part.

Other images, like this one, of a Baltimore Checkerspot, enthrall me. I love this image, and I am much pleased that it is my image. This Baltimore is, choose the word? Gorgeous? Amazing? G-d’s creative work? A stunner?

It tickles me that we have a bunch of ‘special images’ now. The years have gifted us with those of Monarchs, Northern Pearly-Eye, Viceroy, those coupled Eastern Black Swallowtails, Question Mark, that Maniola in Israel, Mourning Cloak . . . .

I like writing this, for I’ve done this for years, years of encouraging myself that it is vital work for me to do, to feed the esthete in me, and to share among G-d’s finest works.

Jeff

Gulfs?

Gulf Fritillary Butterfly on Thistle photographed by Jeff Zablow at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, GA

How many Palamedes Swallowtails did we see those 5 days in Florida’s Big Bend Wildlife Management Area? I’d say 65 to 75 Palamedes. Spicebush Swallowtails? More than 5 Spicebush. Tiger Swallowtails? A good 10 or so. Georgia Satyrs? Some 15 or more. What I think were Zabulon Skippers? Probably 20 Zabulons. Viceroy Butterflies? About 20 Viceroys.

When I saw my first Gulf Fritillary, on our 4th day in the field, I was triggered. April 11, 2019, in the Florida Panhandle, and all we’ve seen was one (!) Gulf. When we climbed back into our truck the next day, April 12th, our Gulf Frit counted stood at that one Gulf Fritillary. Sunny, days, highs by 1:30 PM reaching 81F, and just that one Gulf.

I tossed that around in my head, and I’m still weighing the criteria. Passionflowers, the hostplant for Gulf Fritillaries were not seen anywhere that week, not in any of the diverse habitat that Big Bend boasts. Glassberg in his A Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America cites them as “most common in late summer/fall.”

The Plan always impresses me. There is complex timing for all you’d see in such a destination as Big Bend WMArea. Regretably, the No-See-Ums (Sandflies ?) seem to resist such restraints.

This sweet Gulf here was seen in 2018 at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge along the Georgia coast in August, where there were then, legions like him, on the wing.

Jeff

That Uplifting Giant

Giant swallowtail butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

She flew in yesterday. I spotted her as she spent alot of time first inspecting one of our Hercules Club plants. Satisfied, it seemed, with the vitality of our 2nd year in the ground Hercules Club, she spent several minutes deposits eggs on it, one at a time. It looked like our friendly Giant, Giant Swallowtail butterfly set 3 eggs on this plant.

Planted safely away from her, about 10 feet away, I smiled big time, for it was April 12, and here in middle Georgia, Eatonton, a healthy Giant was in our own yard, entrusting us with her precious eggs!

Did she leave right then? Nope. She spent more than an hour in our yard, searching and finding our other Hercules Club and Hop tree young plants. I think that she left her eggs on all of them. Friday sunset was approaching, so I couldn’t check them all for eggs.

Last year we set several Giant caterpillars in our newly purchased ‘cube,’ and managed to feed them all. I think all eclosed, and were released, to our significant joy and satisfaction.

This whole business of fostering the success of swallowtails leaves you with a very pleased sense. Seeing Mrs. Giant get the process going in the 2nd week of April, here in the Deep South . . . icing on the cake!

Our young Sassafras trees are off to a good start, our Rue is looking strong, Tulip Poplar trees are leafing well, Native Black Cherry look fine, Pipevine are strong, Willows are amazing, Spicebush are making up for a slow start their first year, milkweeds look happy, Plums are reaching for the sky, Passionflower are just now beginning to grow, Pussyfeet putting out good flower, Hackberry trees appear to be healthy . . .  Pawpaw adding inches. Might be that we’ll need to order that 2nd ‘cube.’ Wouldn’t that be fun?

Jeff

April in Beg Bend

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

I returned last night, driving those 248 miles home from St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in Florida’s Panhandle. One week in a sweet VRBO rental home on the scrumptious Aucilla River. Gifted with mostly sunny weather, this 2nd visit to Big Bend Wildlife Management Area was a joy. Even before you leave Mandalay Road to drive to Big Bend, those early morning walks dish up deer, boar, osprey, and snake. You are in a high state of expectation, for you might see others that abound in St. Marks NWRefuge: bobcat, alligator, bear, manatee, gar, bald eagle, coyote . . .

The devastation from that last hurricane, months ago, was moderate. These same thistle were in rich bloom. The Palamedes Swallowtail butterflies, like this beaut, were everywhere. That 2016 visit was during the last week of August. This early April 2019 trip so convinced me that a Big Bend redo was a very, very good idea.

Why did I go back? Sitting here, working that question in my mind, I again and again remind that I fell in love with the Georgia Satyrs that I saw at Old Grade tram back in ’16, and regretted that my few images of them were Eh! We shared then that late August that time was Hot! Humid! and a plague of biting insects made each and every exposure an eye irritating (salt running down over my Dick’s headband onto my eyes) experience, me on my belly, saying aloud that what I was doing was an incredibly uncomfortable time, and yet I sooo wanted a stunning Georgia Satyr image.

Last week I saw some 15 Georgias.

My skirmishes with No-See-Ums were mostly horrible, the one day they waited for me to exit my vehicle, then, as I began to set out my folding stool to change to my Merrells, they kamakazied me. I quickly sprayed on my Off! 40%, way too late, for I am now a mass of small welts, 97.61% of them itchy!

My exposed slide film now is overnighted to Kansas, with Appalachian Brown, Spicebush Swallowtail, Little Wood Satyr, huge Tiger Swallowtail, Palamedes Swallowtail and Viceroy capture.

Jeff