Who Knows the Harvester?

Harvester butterfly photographed at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

What do I think? I think that 1 in 71,209 Americans know this butterfly. Critics probably argue that 1 in 94,456 Americans know of it.

True, my interests run to butterflies, but true again, when hikers come along trails I’m scouring for butterflies, trails rich with butterflies, I always stop them and ask, “Have you seen any butterflies along the trail?” The answer is alway, “No.” I smile, and they continue along their way. They are not attuned to looking for butterflies, and just don’t notice them as they work their way along trails.

Kind of the opposite situation exists when I work trails and habitat in the western United States (or on occasion in the eastern U.S., where farmer have told me they have seen Cougars, and park rangers and park office staff always defuse any possibility that Cougars live east of the Mississippi River). West of the Mississippi, I am a bit distracted, for there have been times that my sense of being watch rises to its highest . . . .

This Harvester butterfly, Feniseca tarquinius is “LR-LU” (Locally Rare-Locally Uncommon). It is found nowadays in Parks, Refuges & Habitat Reserves, where Alder trees/bushes grow and running streams are not far away.

The more I get deeper into pursuing butterflies, the more it tickles me that otherwise heavily university educated, expert so in their own interest or pursuit, know zero of butterflies, and the Harvester might as well be a John Deere!

Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania, 8 hours by car, due west of New York, New York.

Jeff

Six Packed On a Pipevine Leaf

Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillars on Pipevine leaf photographed by Jeff Zablow at Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat I, Eatonton, GA

Share my first introduction to Pipevine Butterfly caterpillars. Imagine my glee when I looked closer and closer at those tiny cats on that leaf, until it dawned on me: You are meeting your first ever Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillars! That was a special moment at the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton.

I’d spent 2 decades looking out for Pipevine Swallowtails, they quite ‘Uncommon’ in western Pennsylvania. We planted pipevine in our 303 Garden in Eatonton, Georgia, and we’ve hosted cats for the last 2 years. There are not cats there yet, although we have no doubt that Mammas will come along and deposit eggs a 303. Our 800 Macon garden  . . . has no Pipevine plants yet, and we have to correct that oversight. Pipevine plants trellis nicely, require zero care, and we’ve not had them bothered by pests or pestilence.

Seeing a Battus philenor male, dorsal (upper) or ventral (underside) in just the right sunlight, at just the right angle? Worth a Yelp! for sure.

Jeff

 

2 Lower Rio Grande Valley Female LunchGoers

Pavon Emperor Butterfly on the left and Queen Butterfly on the right photographed by Jeff Zablow at Bensten State Park, Mission, TX

It was lunchtime at Bensten-Rio Grande State Park in the LRGV (Lower Rio Grande Valley) of Texas, a handful of miles from the Mexican border. John beckoned me over to see a butterfly I’d never seen before. Those 5 days, Christmas Week, were . . . amazing. In New York, in Pittsburgh and in Georgia, the last week of December? Zero butterflies. Here in the LRGV, many, many butterflies, with many rare and not often seen, or nearly never seen.

Looked up into that tree, and Bingo!! John had been there before, and he’d seen the butterfly on the left/center, a female Pavon Emperor. And lookee there, on the upper right, a feasting female Queen butterfly.

I’ve now met 4 Emperor butterflies: the Hackberry Emperor, the Tawny Emperor, the Empress Leila and now the Pavon Emperor.

Christmas week in the LRGV? Oh My Goodness! Sunny and in the high 80’s Fahrenheit, and what, thousands of butterflies?

Jeff

Found! Another Difficult to Find HolyLand Butterfly

Cyaniris antiochena butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Northernmost Golan, Israel

How much does it take to please you? Me? This image did it for me. I found her in the Upper Golan region of the HolyLand. Cyaniris Antiochena Antiochena flies from April to May in the Golan and Upper Galilee regions fo the HolyLand/Israel.

Went there to visit family, and to bring back images of rare butterflies, for you to enjoy. I had no guide, no tips from experts or those in the know. I have a field guide, and good maps. G-d was there for me in the HolyLand, enabling me to achieve my goal of finding butterflies that are 1/2 way around the world, and endangered and difficult to find or shoot.l

I just Googled this one, and Daddah! my image came up immediately! That pleases me, alot. A rare Blue butterfly where Th-y once walked. Still pleasing us, today.

Jeff

Me & Them – Looking Back?

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

Sometimes we look back, sometimes fondly. Here, I’m looking back to a Wetlands Study field trip we took, was it in 1998? What memories this releases. I’m here, taking this photo, and this was the one and only time we had another high school teacher along, she in the middle row at the right.

For almost everyone in this pic, Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania was their first time out of the city of Pittsburgh, and for most, their first experience in a wilderness. They were my Biology students at South Vo-Tech High School, on Pittsburgh’s Southside.

I tell you I look and look at this pic, and I smile, smile much. Who among them will ever forget this trip into a wonderland they’d never known before? Which of them will take their kids, whom I expect they now love, to such sylvan, magical places, to wonder at wildflowers, trees, butterflies, frogs, lizards, weasels, great blue herons, red-wing blackbirds, millipedes and Oh so much more?

I feel good, like I knew that I would!

Jeff