Zebra, Lynx & Edwards With Weed

Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly and Edwards Hairstreak on Butterflyweed photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie Reserve, Ohio

I was still kind of stunned to be in prairie . . . in Ohio! Somehow, through good fortune and the wisdom of folks who fought to protect Lynx Prairie Preserve, this very, very unique eastern prairie has been preserved, for all to enjoy. Fortunately, most don’t visit there; they are lost to the allure of asphalt, brick, concrete, steel, neon and such. Me? I grew up with that stuff, asphalt, concrete, brick. Following Angela, Joe, Barbara Ann and Janet into  a prairie? Words can’t be summoned to properly describe how happy I was to finally see my, my prairie.

I’m telling you it was lush. June 2017, and an open prairie full of wildflowers. Full too with butterflies! My beat. Butterflies.

Here, very healthy Butterflyweed is deep in that comely shade of orangish-red, and must surely be pumping sugary nectar like a micro-gusher. In came this Zebra swallowtail butterfly, joining an Oh! so fine Edward Hairstreak, all on the Lynx. They are doing weed as is appropriate.


Lycaena Thersaon in the HolyLand

Coupled Copper Butterflies photographed by Jeff Zablow at Neve Ativ, Israel

I actually wanted to repeat. Repeat that fantastic day in June 2008, on the peak of Mt. Hermon, at the very northern extreme of Israel. Where scores of men died battling for the mountain, and where even in ’08, Eran called me over to warn me, Jeff, stays on the trails, because his boot was pointing just ahead of him, at a very healthy looking landmine, left there decades before, and still sort of grinning up at us, as in ‘Dare you to tickle me with your big  toe?’

I so wanted to return there April 2017, but no guides would do it. Down on then northern base of Mt. Hermon, were the regular Syrian forces , ISIL butchers, the Syrian rebels, the Russians, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Iranians, maybe North Koreans here and there, the Kurdish forces and surely some highly trained American ‘advisors.’ The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) weren’t allowing civilians on Hermon. Rats!

So what did I do? I drove up the base of Hermon, on a very narrow, very curvy, for me, very scary road. Sharing the road with 18-wheelers, all aggravated at this boy from Brooklyn (flat land, the Dutch once called it).

I worked the perimeter of the village of Neve Ativ, on the slope of Mt. Hermon. With much success and with total focus.

Found this pair of coppers, Lycaena Thersamon. Coupled together. Male on the left, female to the right. They were handsome and fresh, and they were on the safe, peaceful side of the mountain, unhurried, striving to assure future generations of HolyLand butterflies. I cannot image how any or many of their cousins can be left, amid the ordinance being  exchanged on the other side of majestic Mt. Hermon.


Bubbling With Excitement!

Plaque photographed by Jeff Zablow at Habitat, Eatonton, Georgia

This beautiful painting on metal graced the entrance to the Butterflies and Blooms In The Briar Patch Habitat. Virginia would have to share who created this Happy artwork? It was one of several handsome works of art that met you as you stepped into that wonderland of Butterflies, wildflowers, bees, hummingbirds, and more.

Reread above and note,  past tense. Why? The Habitat Butterfly Garden has moved to a bigger, better location in Eatonton, Georgia. Virginia C Linch and her band of stalwarts and semi-stalwarts are busily replanting about 195,083 trees, bushes and perennials, from the original site, to the new site. The new site will be fully prepared for the flying hordes, with the town of Eatonton graciously preparing to provide town water to the site.

This was the year that saw the appearance of Zebra Heliconian butterflies at the Habitat, and then came those reports throughout middle Georgia. Zebras here, zebras there, zebras seemingly everywhere.

This painting will once again greet at the entrance to Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat II. There’ll be nothing like it from Maine to the Florida Panhandle, and from the Atlantic to the Mississippi. Nothing. Book Now!


Edward Hairstreak at Lynx

Edwards Hairstreak photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie Reserve, Ohio

What makes you go all gaga? OK. That’s you. Me, it’s meeting a new butterfly for the very first time. All stops. Everything around me slips back into the margins of my existence. My eyes are US Airforce locked on this brand new, gossamer-winged wonder.

These words are about the best I can do at to the moment. It’s this rapture that I think, to respond to those who ask why I pursue and photograph butterflies as I do. Family, friends and most acquaintances avoid the subject, even when it’d be natural to mention it. They, I believe, can’t wrap their heads around the Why? of it. Collect antique cars? Sure, they get that. Raise mushrooms, unique one, OK, a bit out there, but you can eat some of them, no? Restore collectible old boats and cars? No doubt about that. Magazines Love to find and write of such men (isn’t it always men?) and, you can $ell them easily, once you tire of a particular one. But search for and attempt to score superior images of butterflies? Well, I guess that it gives you . . .

It sure does. I’ve grown up on the street of NYC, earned my BS, served in the NYARNG (and after OCS, commanded men in uniform), taught in Big NYC high schools, served as a Dean (for misbehavior, like guns, knives, gangs, fights), had a taste of NYNY real estate, and often carried cold steel folded nicely in my pants pocket. I’ve seen and I’ve done. I savor life, beauty, botany and animals, especially butterflies. Me.

When Angela and Joe and Barbara Ann and Jeff entered Lynx Prairie Preserve, the prairie set all my sensory systems abuzz! What were those tiny butterflies that were active at the abundant butterflyweed? This very same Edwards Hairstreak butterfly. A good sized flight of Satyrium edwardsii. Tiny, fresh and just delicious to these eyes. Right where they should be, nectaring in a bonafide prairie, close by the oaks that serve as their hostplants. I can’t quantify how Happy!! I was that morning. Happy Jeff, Thankful that I met these wonderful, patient, giving friends, and Thankful for the opportunity to meet this Sweet! Sweet! gift from G-d.

How many understand this here Jeff. Well, not a whole lot. Treasure those who do. I think.