Red Admiral Extracting Nectar in a Beautiful Butterfly Garden

Red Admiral Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in Eastern Neck National Wildlife refuge, MD

One of my goals has been to capture a good image of the colorful  ventral (below) wing surface of Vanessa atalanta. Countless slides have been pitched into the trash, because they didn’t reveal the wonderful 3-colors that group together. That red, white and blue bunched together always reminds me of the colors of our American flag.

This August morning, our Vanessa was aggressively extracting nectar from a flower in the lovingly maintained butterfly garden at Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge on the Delmarva Peninsula on Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. We saw many Vanessas during our 3-morning trip. Those in this beautiful garden enabled me to approach and they patiently complied. So I shot, shot, shot and am satisfied with what I got. Quite different from the skittish ones here in Pennsylvania.

Just months later I was 1/2 way around the world, photographing butterflies in Binyamina, Israel in December. Israel’s Vanessa atalantas were almost identical to this one. What adaptability! Resiliency!

I must note that I have been very impressed with the opportunities offered by the National Wildlife Refuges that I have visited. Yazoo (MS), Blackwater (MD), Savannah (SC) and Eastern Neck have excellent habitat. All provided knowledgeable staff who were eager to give assistance. It was a pleasure.


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