A Darner in The Briar Patch (Habitat I)

Darner dragonfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat I, Eatonton, GA

I can’t be the only one. I’m sure others do too. Working through the Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat in July 2017, I saw this handsome Darner (Dragonfly?). Yes? No? It was too fine to pass up, so I made my approach (I shoot Macro- . It did not flee. I came in, within 18″ and shot away.

I was born during WWII and I still remember the Current Events reports my classmates had to give in PS244. Many students chose the really unpleasant reporting of America losses in battle that week in Korea. Then with Viet Nam I was an Artillery Officer, but our NYARNG unit was not sent over. With the contemporary war in Iraq and Afghanistan; the ever present concern that Israel will be engaged by its neighbors; the immediate carnage in Syria and now the of-concern-to-me build-up of PRChina’s military machine . . . all this and more has nurtured a lifelong begrudging respect for airplanes, jet fighters and now missiles.

When I watched Darners do their daredevil flying in those empty lots in Brooklyn, I became a forever fan of these amazing creatures.

When this slide came back from Dwayne’s Photo in Parsons, Kansas I was pleased with the delicate capture of wings, the fair sharing of the head, abdomen as well as the nice muting of the background in soft color.

I thought this look served Darners well. They do what they do (capture their prey in mid-flight, at dizzying speed). As with our USAF fighter jets, they fly above and serve. Never, never have they harassed or assaulted me, even after thousands of hours in the field, darners everywhere.

Jeff

Success by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson And . . . The Garden I Said Goodbye To In ’12

Winged Beauty Butterflies

Jeff Zablow's Perennial Beds Pittsburgh, PA, 7/10/07

I have read this often, and attempt to emulate it in my own life, whether gardening to attract winged beauties, or with family and friends, in my spiritual life, and in the field, as I attempt to capture ever more beautiful images of butterflies, darners, wildflowers, whatever . . . .

Success

To laugh often and to love much . . .
To win the respect of intelligent persons
and the affections of children . . . To earn
the approbation of honest critics and to
endure the betrayal of false friends , , ,
To appreciate beauty; to give of one’s self . . .
To leave the world a bit better whether by
a healthy child, a garden patch, or
a redeemed social condition . . .
To laugh and play with enthusiasm and to sing with
exultation and to know that one life
has breathed easier because…

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Silvery Checkerspot Butterfly

Silvery Checkerspot Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, GA

When I meet a new butterfly for the very first time, a lifelong memory gets created. I remember this day, back in 2016. Rose and Jerry Payne were kind enough to meet me at the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge. Happier than a duck!, what with the agreeable guidance of 2 accomplished lovers of butterflies, we headed to that swamp in the Refuge. Score! That’s where I met my first Southern Pearly-eye butterfly. Then there was my first Creole Pearly-eye butterfly. Triumphant, even after those hours of sloughing through dark, super-humid swamp, Rose asked: Is there any other butterfly that you’d like to see in the Refuge?

Yep. I’d be happy to see Silvery Checkerspots, Rose. Off we went. When they stopped and parked. Rose and Jerry spread out, and in moments, Rose called me over. This is my first ever Silvery Checkerspot! A very fine one, fresh and complete. Those white spots on the trailing edge of the hindwings sang to me. A Silvery!

What do I want to see in the coming weeks/months? Hessel’s Hairstreak, Elfins and Diana fritillaries. Yes, I know that’s asking a lot. The years have been kind, and now I can call many kind lovers of butterflies my friends. That so increases the odds for me. Happy, I am. I’ll return to Ohio in June and then to the Lower Rio Grande Valley in November.

Blame me?

Jeff

Find A Tamarck Pine – Find Bog Coppers

Tamarack Pine Tree, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Allenberg Bog in New York

We found Allenberg Bog. That western New York State bog was a treat. Tamarck Pine, bog Cranberry, Pitcher Plants and Sundew were there in abundance. They together verified that this was a true acid bog, a Sphagnum bog.

Allenberg also sported the Copper butterflies that I was searching for, Bog Coppers. The Cranberries were just finishing their flowering and the Bog Coppers were reaching the end of their flight. That means that the images I score, of Bog Coppers, did not 100% satisfy my determination to bring home good images of fresh Bog Coppers.

Barbara Ann is willing to once again join me, in search of that near impossible to find trail leading to Allenberg Bog. University owned (U. of Buffalo ?), I’m anxious to traipse the soft-spongy acid bog again, this time a bit earlier in June. The Tamarck Pines will greet me again. Will the tiny Bog Coppers dance for me as they did before?

Jeff

Back in Business in 2018

Tarucus Balkanizes butterfly  Near Syrian border, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Golan Heights, Israel

Remember this one? I unashamedly shared that I drove nearly 2 hours down from the Golan, along the Syrian border, to finally captures images of two butterflies that continued to elude me. I relied solely on a field guide map. I did find and shoot Tarucus rosaceus. That was good. I accomplished that goal.

Where, though was Tarucus balkanicus? Like T. rosaceus, T. balkanicus’s range straddled dangerous territory. It is found along the border with Syria and the Israeli border with Jordan, and it is found along Israel’s western border, along the Mediterranean, south of Tel Aviv, and not far from Gaza.

I finally, after much frustration, saw this tiny, tiny fine looking T. balkanicus! I so carefully got down on my stomach (ticks?) and even more carefully crawled closer to its perch on these diminutive flowers.

Jeff, this image is not so hot. Why share? Just as I prepared to shoot away, rain came down!! Hard. This is what I got. It flew. Me? Drenched.

Drive hours, with no one to meet you and definitely show you where to see hard-to-find butterflies, and you run the risk of getting skunked, getting soaked, and wondering why do I do this?

Among my goals this Spring? Meet and shoot Hessel’s Hairstreaks and Elfins; that is to say, several species of Elfins. What do I have to assure me of success? Just field guide maps. Oh, and that determination that only you and I have, determined as we are to see the most beautiful and sometimes the least known of butterflies. And, to occasionally look around, and just Sigh! what with the beauty that surround us.

Dianas later? How does that go? “I’m so . . . . . . and you’re so. . . . . . , this Diana I’ve been told . . . . “ The rest, well I may remember it while out in the field.

Jeff