#1 Post in its category!

Milbert's Tortoiseshell Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park

We have posted more than 240 Images of butterflies, wildflowers and habitat over these last 23 months. This photo of a nectaring Milbert’s Tortoiseshell Butterfly has distinguished itself by having been the most:

  • Viewed image?
  • Commented upon image?
  • Visited image in the Republic of China? Trinidad & Tobago? The Netherlands? in Canada? in the United States? Australia?

No. None of these is correct. This image has been the Most Shared of those more than 240 images.

It is a butterfly of great beauty. It is unpredictable and has frustrated many who seek to capture drop dead gorgeous images of it. You cannot wait for it at a chosen spot, because it may appear there tomorrow or not for the next 10 years. Certainly the teasel flowerhead has not been the pied piper here.

Please help us understand why it has been shared more times than any of the other images that are posted on wingedbeauty.com?


New England Aster

New England Aster Wildflower photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Butterflies needn’t fret in these months of September and November… many plants are at the height of flower production. Prominent among these is Aster novae-angliae. O. E. Jennings (1953) describes this beautiful, native aster as at its best in some moist, weedy tangle, often forming clumps along an old fence or woods border. This plant sparkled in Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Our experience is that butterflies do not seek New England Aster as #1 on their preferred list, rather they resource these beckoning  flowers as a backup source of nutrition. You wonder if these sweet pretties aren’t also present in Fall habitat to provide hikers and strollers a premium of lovely bloom, amidst otherwise expansive palettes of ongoing green?

In 1979 the National Audubon Society‘s North American Wildflowers – Eastern Region ( Thieret, et al ) set its range throughout the eastern U.S., south to Georgia, north to North Dakota and west to Oklahoma, and parts of western united States. Let us know if that range has expanded since?



Daylilies photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania

We’ve watched these daylilies at Raccoon Creek State Park for more than a decade. They are planted strategically around the circa 1880’s (?) farmhouse in the Park. Those flower buds appear, enlarge and then anticipation. Day after day they signal soon, soon, soon. Then one day, boom! the first ones open, here and there.

Bombus pennsylvanicus (American bumblebees) love them, visiting regularly. Ruby throateds come too. Butterflies? Tiger swallowtails await these blooms, and nectar on them, as do Great spangled fritillaries and occasional others.

Yes, they were planted by people. But they’ve been there for more than a decade, perhaps much more than that. They stand witness to lots of stuff going on in the Park maybe the passing through of a rare Ursus americanus, or the silent prowl of a bobcat, the night howls of coyotes, and also, to the extraordinary animal that I saw one day in the Wildflower Reserve or the long-tailed cat (perhaps 40-50 pounds in weight) that I once saw on the Wetland Trail, not too far away.

We’ll be putting in our perrenial garden in October, and daylilies are on my List.


War! War! War!

Cow Grazing on Mt. Hermon photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mt. Hermon, Israel

We’ve posted this image some time ago. Our bovine  was grazing at the peak of Mt. Hermon, Israel. I was there with my guide, Eran Banker, photographing butterflies. There are species of butterflies that are only found at higher elevations on Mt. Hermon and nowhere else. If you visit that post, you will be reminded that Eran encountered a land mine there, as we roamed the mountaintop. That sure got my attention, and I stopped stepping off the primitive trails  and limited myself to tried and true terra firma. That caused much frustration, because it was if they knew it, and those butterflies surely teased me from then on.

We were prevented from going back there in June. The mountain was Closed. Why? Look again at this photo. You are viewing Syria in the background. Cow foreground, Syria background. Syria is at War! with itself. War! however you categorize it. That horrific conflict has grabbed our headlines here in the U.S. and all around the world.

So Mt. Hermon is closed. That’s why when I photographed about 1/4 up the mountain this year, Israeli planes were going up and down, up and down, and up and down nearby valleys…scouring the land for any variety of infiltrator. Sad, tragic stuff, No?

We won’t be revisiting these northernmost Golan peak for years, if ever again? There are killing fields below.

We will shortly be posting additional images that we got on that peak, many thousands of feet above sea level. Butterflies living under the surveillance of Israel, Syria, Lebanon, the U.N. and surely somehow, several other nations, including the United States of America.

Crazy stuff. Violent, inhumane behavior. Butterflies flying carefree in habitat within range of missiles, mortars, cannon fire and WMD? Incredible, don’t you think?



New York Ironweed

New York Ironweed photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Hiking the trails as we do in the northeastern United States, our eyes constantly search for butterflies. We may all react as I do when approaching this wildflowering plant. I have come to generally disregard Vernonia noveboracensis. Why? Aren’t its blooms gorgeous? Yes, they are striking. Isn’t New York Ironweed one of the last of the late flowering wildflowers, joined by asters and goldenrods? Yes, again.

With dozens and dozens of flowers clustered on these erect stems, they receive only infrequent visits from butterflies. A puzzlement. Open from August to as late as October, they are not the first stop destination for our winged beauties. O. E. Jennings (1953) may offer us a clue, Grazing farm animals, even sheep, avoid this plant, probably because of its bitter foliage. This observation was made for the closely related Tall Ironweed, but perhaps it describes New York Ironweed also. Then who does nectar regularly at these striking blooms?

This year’s woefully limited Monarch population certainly did not consume much of their nectar secretion. Does that influence next year’s New York Ironweed presence?

A pretty plant, with a mysteriously low profile.