Crescent Craziness

Crescent Butterfly (Pearl or Phaon ?), photographed by Jeff Zablow at Rock Hawk, Georgia

I’ve lived in New York City and I’ve worked in the heart of it, Manhattan. Before 9:00 A.M., at lunch time, and after 5 P.M. the sidewalks are packed with tens of thousand of people. Before 9:00 in the morning and after 5 in the afternoon, the subways too are packed, moving hundreds of thousands of folks each and every minute. Examining this image of a Crescent butterfly, I was reminded that when I was back in New York, everyone looked different to me. That was helpful when I taught, when I managed real estate and when I served in the New York National Guard.

This tiny little Crescent butterfly chose to stop and rest in front of me, on the nature trail at Rock Hawk Effigy and Trails in Eatonton, Georgia. Named for the rock formation that was revered by ancient Native Americans, the trail takes you through mixed woods, in the Piedmont region of central Georgia.

When I compare this with the images and descriptions in field guides, that’s when Crescent craziness challenges. We’re in the Deep South, so that creamy yellow forewing band on each wing suggests Phaon Crescent. Other upper wing patterns, and the orange club tip of the antennae remind that Pearl Crescents can vary widely in appearance. I want to say that this is a Phaon, but my cautious side says female, Pearl.

Didn’t have such dilemmas in the Big Apple. Could always tell one person from the next. Butterflies vex, offering a wide spectrum of nuanced color, pattern and detail variations.


Corn Poppy . . . Middle East

Papaver Umbonatum, Israel Corn Poppy, photographed by Jeff Zablow in Mishmarot, Israel

Working the trails in Israel reminds me of Sol’s candy store in my old Brooklyn, New York. So many delectable choices, most never tasted to-date. This Upper Galilee trail is several hours north of Tel Aviv, in the hills that continue east to the Mediterranean Ocean, and rise steadily to the west, up to the peaks of the Golan Heights.

Corn Poppy was at it peak last March of this year 2015, and the Madison Avenue crowd knows that this rich hue is a spring trap for healthy folks of the male gender. It sure caught my attention, TBT.

How much butterfly traffic does it create? I did devote some minutes to study that question. Not a single butterfly visited, on either of the 2 mornings that I worked this trail.

This post I won’t mention any bad boys of the Middle East. Just a smashing bloom, set down there, then, for Jeff’s enjoyment and imagination.


Palestine Pheasant’s Eye . . . an Israeli Wildflower

Adonis Palaestina wildflower, photographed by Jeff Zablow in Hanita, Israel

It was one Oh! after another Ah!! on those trails in Hanita, Israel just months ago. There were dozens of wildflowers and butterflies that were new to me. Happy as a duck, in the northeastern corner of Israel, in the foothills of the Upper Galilee. Less than a U.S. mile from the Israeli-Lebanese border. Not a care in the world, despite bloody Hezbollah so physically close. Ever had millions of people wanting to stick you like a pig, just because of your ancestry? Savagery, despite the efforts of so many loving people, never seems to completely disappear.

This darling wildflower, Protected, was present in abundance. Like many flowering plants in this world, its habitat is steadily eroded, in the name of progress, homes, and such. Hilly land like this faces less threat.

Well friends, I’m booked to fly to Israel in late February ’16, and return home to the States in late March.

My present plan is to visit different SPNI field schools in the Upper Galilee and the Yom Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) area. Wow!

Sharp knives are now the weapon of choice for the butchers of women and children in Israel. Funny, when I attended college in New York City, I rode the subways daily, from one end of the city to another. Those were dangerous times on the subway, and . . . I always could feel the cold presence of long steel on my person. Grew up on the streets, and He looked over me during those 4 years of riding New York’s grand subways. Knives?

Anyone like to join me on 2016’s exciting HolyLand trails?


Petra and You . . .

Jeff Zablow and his dog, Petra, photographed by Jenny Jean Photography.

Jeff Zablow and his dog, Petra, photographed by Jenny Jean Photography.

Petra has come home. It took ½ hour to coax her out of the back seat of the Toyota Tundra. Not a soul was around to help me lift her, sedated by 80%, out. She resisted me lifting her front end, and that was unusual for her. So I finally gave a serious yank, and instead of using the platform I set for her; she leaped, and leaped out. I hope that she did not disrupt the line of staples keeping her abdomen closed.

She now’s deeply asleep. The cone around her head will hopefully ensure that she does not work at those staples. A diet of boiled chicken and white rice awaits for her tomorrow, Jeff the Chef will prepare.

When she is buff, Petra and I walk miles daily. She demonstrates a near perfect heel, and stops at each street corner and goes into a ‘sit.’ This behavior changes when another dog is spotted. I’ve heard from many dog behavior experts about that, mostly faulting me, arguing that she should be more respectful of my ‘Alpha’ position and disregard the other dogs. She’s a Black Russian, and Me thinks that they are more liable to address other dogs than not, owner’s pleas notwithstanding.

Thank you to all who expressed their concern. She had nearly died, with severe ‘bloat’ and a stomach that rotated 180 degrees. The heft of your combined well wishes surely helped win the day for Petra.

Shaved legs and underbelly will soon, I hope, give Paws of Munhall, her groomers, fits. That’s the kind of concern I look forward to, not the fear (it turned out to be fear) that Petra would slip away . . . Oh, and the Vet surgery bill was itself Very impressive.

And it was to be an average, routine weekend.

Black Russian blues.


Petra . . .

Jeff Zablow and his dog, Petra photographed by Jenny Jean Photography

Jeff Zablow and his dog, Petra photographed by Jenny Jean Photography

Petra is at this very moment on the surgical table, undergoing a very terrifying surgery. It may be hours before I know if she will . . .

Bloat is the diagnosis, with stomach, spleen and circulatory issues potentially life threatening, and unknown.

I feel crushed, truth be told.

This 5-year old Black Russian Terrier has won my heart.