2018 is in with a Bang!

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

I’m back from the Rio Grande Valley, Mission, Texas to be exact. Just flew home less than 24 hours ago. Wow! I repeat, Wow!

This accompanying image of a Northern Pearly Eye Butterfly is one of my favorites. An elusive species of butterfly, but that day there it was, and how fine a Northern Pearly Eye, this one. This is one of those images that, back in the early ’90’s, I hoped, hoped I could ever share. An image that stands on its own merits, and that encourages and reminds that we are surrounded by G-d’s magnificent handwork.

I’m now shipping my 27 rolls of Fuji Velvia film to Parson, Kansas. You will not believe how many very, very rare and, very very beautiful butterflies we saw in very southern Texas. Short of a couple of cloudy, cool days, my Life list of butterflies ballooned out, in just that one week in Texas.

So, I wish a Happy New Year to you, and if Dwayne Photo’s returns good stuff to me, I look forward to sharing dreamy images of Erato heliconians, Red rims, Malachites, Gold-bordered hairstreaks (last seen in the U.S. in 1968), Tropical leafwings and so many more. Those and the largest, freshest male Monarch I’ve ever seen, and his quick, successful flirtation with an equally Big female Monarch.

To 2018!


7 thoughts on “2018 is in with a Bang!

  1. Hi Jeff,

    I love your photos. Glad you came to see our butterflies in the RGV. Just an FYI–I have photos of the Gold-bordered Hairstreak taken 11/27/04. In my personal records, I noted that it was a 2nd US record found by Marion Cowan at Bentsen State Park. I remember Marion taking ownership of this butterfly and staying until dark to keep the grackles that were feeding on the butterflies from getting it. : ) I look forward to seeing the rest of your Valley photos. Hope you have a Happy New Year.


    • Jan,
      Thanks for Commenting. While at the National Butterfly Center, we got the ‘word’ that the Gold-bordered hairstreak was at the ‘Wall.’ Got there, with several folks already there. Mike Ricard, who my friends spoke very well of, noted that he had not seen it since 1968. People kept arriving over the next 20 minutes or more, and many of those who were there knew Mike and valued his feedback.
      I am glad that you saw this one in 2004 and that it had been seen earlier by Marion Cowan. Me? The level of excitement last week was considerable, and it was special to be there amongst so many folks who love seeing butterflies, fresh or worn.
      Back home now, I recalled what we saw at the NBC, Bentsen and the Wall, and nevertheless, now await the return of my exposed slides from Kansas.
      The RGV is so very unique, and surely has America’s critical mass of butterfly lovers, no doubt about that.
      Happy New Year! and may I be able to return in November 2018!


      • Jeff,
        I had also found another photo of the Gold-bordered Hairstreak that I took 11/16/05, at Bentsen State Park also, but, I could not find where I noted it in my records, so I did not mention it. I was curious, so I contacted Mike Rickard to see if he had a record of this sighting also. Mike keeps the records of Texas sightings for the Lepidopterist Society and I knew he would have that information. He said the first record was in 1968, but since then, it has been seen 11/27/04-Bentsen, 11/16/05-Bentsen, 2/6/13-NBC, and then the one you saw at the Wall 12/24/17. That may be more information than you wanted, but I personally did not remember any of them but the first. As you know, the first is always the most exciting.
        BTW — Where did you see the Northern Pearly Eye. That would be a new one for me.
        I hope you do get to come back to the RGV in 2018. It can be very exciting in November and December. Maybe our paths will cross.
        May your new year be filled with new butterflies and great adventures!


        • Well, I am fascinated by the excitement and unpredictability of encountering butterflies in the ‘Valley.’ Arrived on Dec. 21st and flew out of San Antonio on Dec. 28th. That is the special thing about this area, the knowledge, always percolating under your skin, that any second you may see one that is OMG!! On top of that, the tsunami of interest, almost from ocean to ocean, that many of these discoveries generate, is, frankly, something to behold.
          The Northern Pearly Eye image was shared, to demo the kind of find that excites in the northeast. There new species are less likely to be seen, though handsome, fresh individuals do bring a rush! The instant one was met at Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania, west of Pittsburgh.
          I know your New Year will be full of new butterflies, for the Valley will dish up its delicacies, that is for sure! Enjoy.


  2. So happy you made it down to the Lone Star State! It sounds like we treated you well! I look forward to seeing your photos and hearing about your adventures! Happy new year my friend! 🤠


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