American Snout Butterfly ( Georgia )

American Snout Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Habitat, Eatonton, Georgia

Here’s to one of the most undervalued of American butterflies. Once upon a time, on smaller, rather poorly defined U.S. TV screens, there was an entertainer who wasn’t handsome, wasn’t well dressed, wasn’t Ivy-League polished, and wasn’t from Atlanta, Los Angeles or New Orleans. He had a rather noticeable nose, and he had an even more noticeable Brooklyn vocabulary. Jimmy Durante was his name, and his fame would baffle just about 99.99% of folks today.

This American Snout butterfly was found taking a break from its routine, in the Butterflies and Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in downtown Eatonton, Georgia. Rarely, maybe never, does a Snout generate the excitement registered when we see a Monarch, or a Giant Swallowtail or a Zebra Heliconian butterfly. That even with the acknowledgement that they are never very numerous and their appearance is never much predictable.

They do  cause something of a rush when they flash that blaze of Florida orange color, and for me, they evoke the memory of that Super Famous entertainer of time begone, Jimmy Durante, who couldn’t much sing, couldn’t much dance . . . but somehow was beloved by his audience, by sheer stroke of stage presence and genius. American Snouts too bedazzle, though they can’t be said to be the “Most” of just about anything.


Walking the HolyLand . . . . Searching for Butterflies

Mt. Hermon Seen from Menroh photographed by Jeff Zablow at Menroh, Israel

The request was made several times. While you are on this trip to Israel, please share pictures of the HolyLand that you can. March to April 2017, 4 weeks this time. Visiting my grandsons, Hillel and Boaz, not too far from Caesarea and the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and, searching for Middle Eastern butterflies. It’s not just me. You see, even you could not  roam Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt or Syria, those nations bordering Israel. You can’t presently roam around hunting for images of butterflies. Uh uh. If those governments were aware that you were roaming around, as we do so freely here in the U.S.A., they’d quickly have security fetch you up. Those that might allow you to do so would require that you be escorted 24/7 by ‘guides.’ The risk of roaming in those lands, include kidnapping, robbery, murder and rape.

So HolyLand butterflies? Israel. Where it all began. Wherever you drive, hike, walk in Israel, everywhere, you know, sense that your Patriarchs and Matriarchs actually walked there before. We are spoiled by our cars. They? They walked, very very long distances. To teach, to see, to teach, to follow the Word.

We here are in the village of Menroh,  at the northern reaches of the Upper Galilee region. We see here across the valley know as the Golan and in the distance, is majestic Mt. Hermon. It is April, but snow can still be seen on the peak of Hermon.

Jeff was on that vast peak in June of 2008. Near boiling hot. Cable car ride up. Eagles soaring around that cable car. Super rare butterflies. Land mine! Then, what? Cattle grazing way up there, owned by Syrian farmers just down the other side of Mt. Hermon. As you are reading this, men and women are killing one another just on the Syrian side of Mt. Hermon. This image. Peaceful. What we can’t see on the other, distant side of that beautiful mountain? War! War! War! Rockets. Mines. Syrian regulars, irregulars, armor, jets. Hamas, Hezbollah, Russians, lots and lots of Iranian regulars & irregulars, U.S. ‘advisors’, thankfully now, the remnants of ISIL and a whole slew of mercenaries that we will never know about.

The beautiful, scenic, serene, inspirational and spiritual HolyLand. Here Th-y once walked. Here their presence can be felt. Just beyond the other side of that mountain range, as sadly has been the history of this nexus of our world,  Death, Chaos and Destruction.

Jeff . . . there for the . . . Butterflies

Showy Biz!

Showy Ladies Slipper Orchid, II photographed by Jeff Zablow at Cedar Bog Prairie Reserve, Ohio

How often am I asked, ‘Why do you photograph butterflies?’ Well, I’m asked that a lot. And what surprises me? I’m surprised and a bit amazed that those folks really are (or seem to be) baffled by my passion for finding and shooting out butterflies. They really want to  hear my response. It seems that they cannot fathom any reason to pursue butterflies over any extended period of time. faithful recall my Christie’s/Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewelry experiences. They also recall that I like the challenge, making an approach to this wild critters, who themselves are equipped with very efficient sensory warning systems. Making that approach, and doing so successfully. They surely have figured out that I am very pleased when I share a Good image of a beautiful, fresh butterfly. Some may remember my experiences with the Elite Model agency in NYNY. The most loyal may even remember that dressing room dream visit, me 19 years old, to the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes, the Rockettes laughing and joshing me, and me, well like I was dropped into a vat of Breyers Mint Chip Ice Cream, with a helping of chocolate mini chips added!

Challenges. New places. Working to best the images already stored in my sweet slide file cabinet. Meeting new, fascinating folks.

Round out my reasons for seeking butterflies with this! I get to experience diverse plants and animals, i.e., I get to enjoy the beauty and intricate wonderment of H-s creations. This if Big for me, very Big. When Nancy shares the birds and butterflies of Panama, Georgia, Mexico, Costa Rica and Texas, I am stunned by the beauty I see. When Peggy shares her work on Vancouver Island, OMG! Virginia’s Georgia captures too. Laurence in France. Angela’s Ohio orchids and rare wildflowers got me into my truck, headed to Dayton, Ohio and then to southern Ohio, to that amazing Adams County, Ohio. Seeing beauty, well I seem to not every savor enough beauty.

Barbara Ann and Angela became friends, and next thing you know, Barbara Ann was talking about heading to Ohio, and seeking orchids, with Angela and Dave and Flower and Joe. Now, Barbara Ann had already introduced me to native orchids in northwestern Pennsylvania and southwestern New York.

Truth be told, I had a strong desire to finally, finally see my first Showy Ladies Slipper orchid. Wanted much to see them. Much. Angela signaled sure, if we time your visit correctly, I could see my first Showy Ladies Slipper, and Barbara Ann could see the first one she’d seen in many, many years.

Few have ever seen them, the very large, very magnificent Showy Ladies Slipper Orchid. Elegant, stately, demure, and big as life. This one here in Cedar Bog Preserve, Ohio, thanks to Angela. What did the Showys evoke for me. That elevator ride in the Fuller building on Madison Avenue and tony East 57th Street, me and Miss Ross. She was big as life, radiant, warm smile, me pleased, very pleased. Art Deco elevator cab, comely Superstar, relaxed conversation.

Showy Biz!


American Butterflies Magazine (Summer 2017) & Parnassian Mnemosyne

Parnassius mnemosyne butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Hermon, IsraelLevantine marbled white butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Hermon, Israel

I finished reading Harry Zirlin’s article in the Summer 2017 issue of American  Butterflies (NABA), and ‘Go Tell It On The Mountain’ by Zirlin is a tour of the US Parnassian butterflies. Funny that, I’ve not yet met an American parnassian butterfly, but did have that exciting meet-up with Parnassius mnemosyne syra on the peak of Mt. Hermon at the northern limits of Israel.

Harry brought back exciting memories of that day in June, and especially exciting was the moment when this beaut flew in and nectared on these ground-covering blooms!

This Israeli parnassian, distant cousin to the swallowtail butterflies, is a threatened species, and is found only on this 7,000 foot high mountain peak. It survives in an austere habitat, that also features still undiscovered land mines, from earlier battles on the mountain (Eran and I found one, before it found me!).


Where Must You Go?

Lycaena Thersamon Omphale Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in Binyamina, Israel

Where must you go to encounter this sweetness of a buttterfly?

To find this guy, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas?

Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina and northern Florida?

Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Peru?

Norway, Sweden, France and Austria maybe?

Sri Lanka, India, Myanmar and Thailand?

Egypt, Lebanon, Syria (or has war extirpated them) and Israel.

Japan, Mongolia, Uzbekistan and China?

Me? I met him in Israel, in the wine-producing village of Binyamina, Israel. Anaphaeis aurota, on a day in June, he nectaring furiously on these camphor flowers. Me? Shooting away . . .