Happy Pearly-eye New Year!

Northern Pearly Eye Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania

Happy New Year to All! We have grown in number and enthusiasm. Shared so much new: new butterflies, new places and new ways of seeing those wingedbeauties.

Perfect example here, this one of 3 images that didn’t get pitched into the circular file (AKA trash can). So many of us know the Northern Pearly-eye butterfly. I almost wrote them off as well, seen them, done that . . . until I met this comely Pearly-eye on that trail at Raccoon Creek State Park. Guaranteed to frustrate, this one remained in place . . . and rocked my boat!, for I saw that I was looking at a stunner! An especially handsome Northern.

I shot it out, hoping that my manual compensations for aperture and shutter speed would deliver, despite the challenging lighting.

I say to you here, I will not take long known  butterflies for granted, for amongst them, may be a Bedazzler, as I rate this one. Those hindwing eyes, with the sweet tiny white pearls in their centers, That’s why they are  . . . Pearly-eyes.

On to 2017, taking nothing for granted, and hoping to meet them . . . and You! out there.

Jeff

Predictable, But Viceroy When?

Viceroy Butterfy concealed in Foliage photographed by Jeff Zablow in Kelso Swamp, Fayette Township, PA

Traci’s Pocket Swamp was all that she said it was. Best of all, this Fayette Township, southwestern Pennsylvania swamp, that she calls Kelso Swamp, featured the wetland flora and fauna expected. Great blue heron, duck, sedges, Typha, all there.

My first visit, and the Salix (Willows) bordering the open water was the clincher. Viceroy butterflies surely must be here too. Willows are their hostplants, so you’d think that Viceroys should be right there, right where you want to see them, throughout the morning.

Except . . . field experience teaches that Viceroys are unpredictable, except, you can predict that once you see them, they will be difficult to approach, and will remain in place briefly, very briefly.

With Viceroy on my mind, I searched this navigable east side of the swamp, finding lots to examine, and shoot.

Boom! In swooped a Viceroy, and it headed to the low grass, just steps from the open swamp, and about 15′ from me. Daddah! Hmmm. Would my approach startle this beaut? Would it stay there long enough for me to get close to it? Could I get close to it? Would . . .?

You know I was Happy!, very Happy! I shot, shot, shot. A fresh, vital, vibrant wetland butterfly, yes, as beautiful as those baubles in the jewelry  store windows on fabled East 57th Street in NYNY! Well not as beautiful, more beautiful than . . . .

Jeff

Embattled Butterflies Seen?

Regal Fritillary Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Fort Indiantown Gap Military Reservation, PA

Searching my Media Library of images, I stopped here. A butterfly so endangered, that used to be found from Maine to Florida, and now exists solely in a broad meadow in a Pennsylvania military base. The Regal Fritillary. A Super Rare butterfly.

Just back from a long walk with Petra, I find myself reminiscing. What other superarbutterflies have I met these last two year in the U.S.?

Georgia satyr (Georgia & Florida). Bog Copper (New York State). Creole Pearly-eye (Georgia). Salt Marsh Skipper (Georgia). Little Metalmark (Georgia). Eastern Pygmy Blue (Georgia). Zebra Heliconian (Georgia). Juniper Hairstreak (Georgia). Cassius Blue (Georgia).

Folks ask why I spend so much time traveling to Georgia? The answer to that lies above. Trail savvy Georgians have generously invited me to join them and seek hard to find butterflies, and have gone out of their way to insure that our efforts are successful.

All this whets my appetite for 2017! How much do I look forward to continuing my hunt for embattled butterflies? Spread your hands as far apart as you can. That much! Any tentative objectives? Yep. Georgia. New York. Maine. Ohio & Vancouver Island, Canada.

Missing from my list? North Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia, Florida & New Jersey. Folks in these states may just be too busy to find the time . . . . No matter, ’17 may well be a bust-out year!

Jeff

You Still Haven’t Booked?

Tour Bus entering Capernum National Park, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lake Kinneret, Golan Heights, Israel

Three days before New Years Day. Just 3, with 2017 beckoning! This will be your year. There is a new excitement in the air here in these butterfly-rich United States of America.

You’ve worked hard all your life, ever since those post-Sunday School days. Lots of you boast kids grown, and out.

The news is full of Trump, Obama, and promising, optimistic, real change. Heroics are in the air. President Obama snakebit Israel, President-Elect Trump promises to finally send the UN out to get a branch, and come back for a ‘likin.’

Get online, book a round trip on El Al Airlines, finally, finally, see Jerusalem, Bethlehem, the Galilee region, and be on this bus here, as it takes you and your new friends right to Capernum!

You be the one on the bus, and return home and revel your family and friends with the Wonder of It!

Know too that the Galilee region, the Golan region, the hills surrounding Haifa, as well as the land surrounding Jerusalem are rich with them . . . butterflies!

Jeff