Guess Where?

Painted lady butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow in Society for the Protection of Nature Hermon, Israel

Raccoon Creek State Park, Southwestern Pennsylvania? Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, Florida Panhandle? Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, Delmarva Peninsula, Maryland? Jamestown Audubon Center, Southwestern New York? West Don Park, Toronto, Canada. White Tank Mountains Regional Park, west of Phoenix, Arizona?

Briar Patch Habitat, Eatonton, Georgia? Yazoo National  Wildlife Refuge, Mississippi? Frick Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania?

Patti’s Colorado? Lynn’s Virginia? Jerry and Rose’s secret Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge swamp? Sylbie’s Rock Hawk Preserve in Putnam County, Georgia?

Nope, SPNI’s refuge reserve in the foothills of Mt. Hermon, at the northeastern tip of Israel, just several miles from murderous ISIS.

Isn’t it Amazing that Painted Lady butterflies are native to all of these places, and Central and South America and Asia and Africa and . . . Amazing.


Reflecting On A Wow! Year: 2015

Allancastria Cerisyis butterfly (Protected), photographed by Jeff Zablow in Hanita, Israel

No guide, no tips from experts, just field guide and maps, and in March 2015 I found these Protected Parnassian butterflies in Israel, minutes by foot from the border with Lebanon.

With the guidance of a local expert, I savored Lady Slipper orchids in the southwestern tip of New York State. No Brooklyn this! Then Clay Pond, and Ackeley Swamp in Pennsylvania. On to the Jamestown Audubon Center, where the Welcome! door is swung wide open! And, JAC’s reserve has . . . butterflies!

Accepted an invite to visit the Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia, and was rewarded with an ongoing mob of gorgeous southern butterflies. Met new friends, and soon was swamping with Rose and Jerry in Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, chasing rare Satyrs in the swamp. Phil, a Ranger at Hard Labor Creek State Park introduced me to cane wetlands and other extraordinary habitat. Georgia, a butterfly destination.

Back on my own, I resourced an article in NABA’s magazine, and drove down from Eatonton to Perry, Florida. Big Bend Wildlife Management Area was some seven miles from my Hampton Inn, and  love at first sight.

Then it was walking with a local expert who introduced me to Kelso swamp, 18 miles from my home, created by beavers some time ago, and looks to me that if it is not conserved by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, it will one day, not too far away . . . be developed. Then no herons, no beavers, no frogs, no snakes, and . . . no butterflies.

Those of you who visit regularly will taste some more than 120 images, soon to be posted, one by one.

2016? G-d willing will be . . . !


Shoot or . . . Stare?

Lycaena Phlaos butterfly (female), photographed by Jeff Zablow in Neve Ativ, Israel

After driving up, up, up the winding road to Neve Ativ, what would this March 2015 day produce? Built on the slope of Mt. Hermon, this village is home to many of those who operate the ski slopes in winter. I’d been there before, searching for the butterflies that are found on the south face of this northern tip of Israel peak. Many of the endangered butterflies of Mt. Hermon are posted amongst our more than 500 posts.

The going was good, and I was dashing here and there, over the meadows that surround the village. This gal flew in before me, and there she landed. Let me share that when you spend much time reviewing butterfly field guides, you come to expect that when you are fortunate enough to actually find the butterflies, they will often appear as bland in color as they appear in the guide photos.

This Small Copper female (Lycaena Phlaeas) riveted me eyes to its bright, contrasting colors. But . . . she was ‘bird-struck’ on her hindwings. I don’t photograph damaged butterflies. I learned long ago that folks don’t want to see imperfect wings. We want to see complete, beautiful butterflies.

But I stared, those baby blue spots on the hindwings, the trailing burnt orange beyond them, the dramatic contrast it made with the rocky ground. So, I took many photographs, shooting away. I mean, lizard, beetle, bird, mantid . . . something took a rip at her wings, but, there she remains, gorgeous.