Chasing Satyrs in the Piedmont

Appalachian Brown Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, GA

Satyr butterflies count among my favorites. In Georgia August 2015, friends put me in contact with Jerry and Rose, a couple who know their butterflies. It was good news when they agreed to meet me in Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge. After a very serious Ranger acquainted me with the acute diseases that are carried by vectors in the swamp, I gulped, paused for thought, and . . . off the 3 of us went, to this wet, muddy, dark, humid, dank swamp.

Jerry and Rose moved through the swamp like Antonio Brown of the Steelers traverses the field: with fluid moves, always moving, looking, searching, and seeking. They would call to me from here, then they’d disappear and call me from there. I didn’t admit it, but I was often out of breath. Oxygen seeming in limited supply in the swamp.

So much was new to me there, and so much demanded your full attention and constant awareness of mud, critters and hazards. Satyrs were afloat, and this one here did the remarkable. It paused long enough for me to click, click, click, taking one photograph after the other. My Fuji film was challenged by the limited light. Many exposures proved to be useless, but not this one, with its dappled light coming down through the trees.

This sweet brown sugar of a butterfly is an Appalachian Brown (Satyrodes Appalachia). I love satyrs, they bring me back to the rich hues of brown offered in those upscale men stores on Madison Avenue in the 80’s, in their shoes, hat, and suits. A magical time for me then, and thanks to Rose and Jerry, I revisited browns with gusto in 2015.


2 thoughts on “Chasing Satyrs in the Piedmont

  1. This might have to go into the vault as one of my favorites! I can’t stop staring at it. The brown is such a beautiful shade and the eye markings are mesmerizing. It almost looks like a painting! Outstanding work my friend!!


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