Home or Away?

Red-Spotted Purple butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Leroy Percy Park, Hollandale, MS, 9/08/09
This morning I photographed at Raccoon  Creek State Park. I set the odometer on the Tundra. 37 miles, exactly. It’s Memorial Day, sunny, no wind, and the morning was seasonably comfortable, with temperatures hovering in the 60’s at 10:30 AM. The trail was all mine alone, save for one hiker and 5 on horseback. 3 and ½ hours of enjoyment. Enjoyment fueled by swallowtails, duskywings, azures, skippers and of course, one butterfly that was totally a mystery, and, did not stick around long enough for me to ID it.

The Tiger swallowtails made the morning. The came down from the trees between 9 and 10 AM. They were males. Fresh, smallish males, richly colored. Each of them flew down. Down, not around, and set out wings to bask and warm in the morning sun. They allowed my approach and I took maybe too many exposures…thinking, book cover opportunity = go for it. Fuji film, you remember, so they must go to Kansas and return for me to see.

Days ago I was in Rock Hall, Maryland, on the beautiful, lush Delmarva Peninsula. Dave and Bill, volunteers at the Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, helped out, offering suggested nooks and crannies to explore. 3 pleasant nights at the Mariners Motel in Rock Hall, then the 6 hour drive to Pittsburgh.

This stunning Red-spotted purple butterfly closely resembles the one I watched up in that American holly tree. Both were seen very far from home. Comes the question? Home or away?

We have a comfortable and growing number of people who view and follow wingedbeauty.com. I cannot say if they care whether my images are obtained in my home county, or 927 miles away in Hollandale, Mississippi. I greatly appreciate you all, and Love each and every visit you make.

There aren’t many who photograph butterflies and blog their work. One or two others do so all over the map. They post their finds from Texas, Colorado, California, the Florida Keys, the Jersey Pine Barrens, Alaska, and ….

This would be great fun, though it comes with great expen$e, airports, rental cars, motels and long, long rides. All this alone. Robert Michale Pyle and others do so, but the rub (for me) is that they have earned the friendship of so many authoratitive friends it seems almost everywhere, and when they set a destination, they have at least some assurance that time, place and conditions add up to probable success. And there is the human factor, friends to see, experiences to recall over home cooked meals, camaraderie on trails.

So I am presently weighing Home or Away? Do I perservere within a radius of 100 miles of my Pittsburgh home, or fly the now less than friendly skies, to share rare, little known butterflies flying in America’s holdout wildernesses? Add a final ingredient. I eat gluten free, necessitating that I take along a stash of food from our East End Co-op and Whole Foods (Bless them both).


5 thoughts on “Home or Away?

  1. You’ll find lots of places to eat delicious gluten free food and plenty of good spots for photo-ops if you come to Williamsburg, VA. Can’t tell you whether or not you’ll find rare butterflies, but you’ll enjoy the visit. We see lots of beautiful butterflies and birds here, Hummingbird moths, swallowtails, Monarchs, and more. The show is in full swing by july. Best wishes, WG


  2. I vote travel. I always love to see what I can’t see here. You are not that far from me (less than 4 hours) and we get many of the same butterflies. You get them a bit earlier though. I have seen Mourning Cloak, Black Swallowtail and Cabbage Whites so far, but with birding, my attention has been a bit higher in the trees. I am praying we see Monarch this year. It was late last season to see the few that we did. Pretty image of that colorful fellow.


  3. Home or Away, well since our area is bountiful with such things as butterfly I feel home and our area keep me way to busy to get onto any plane, or to travel to far away.
    As always keep up the great work!


  4. Traveling glutenfree is uncomfortable but getting better. Hunting both for rare butterflies and good glutenfree food must almost be a mission impossible. Bravo for doing it nevertheless.


  5. Another sharp view of the Red-Spotted Purple. You amaze me with the way you persist until you get just the right pictures, Jeff. Keep it up.


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