A White What?

Levantine marbled white butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Neve Ativ, Israel

A Why? Butterfly. Seen in April on the slope of Mt. Hermon, Israel. You’re likely to give this Levantine Marbled White the two second look that most white butterflies complain of.

Look again There’s something different here. Examine those hindwings. See them?

Those two “eyes?” Our white butterflies don’t boast “eyes.” If it’s not a white butterfly, like our Cabbage white . . . what group of butterflies does it belong to?

Levantine Marbleds are Satyrs. Hmm.

Are there any white U.S.A. Satyr butterflies?

Jeff

Spicebush Spooks

Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in the Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, GA

Me? I have several thoughts when a Spicebush Swallowtail flies in.

1) I reflect on how infrequently I see them in the field. I spend much time in “open woods and edges” (Glassberg, Swift Guide to Butterflies of  North America) and I may see one or two over the course of a full morning.

2) They fly in silently, without fanfare, avoid me totally, nectar on flowers with brevity and great shyness, and like C.I.A spooks, do not want to be seen or approached.

3) Their range extends from Massachusetts to Florida to Texas and Illinois and along the northern border with Canada. Strays are reported much to the west and north. Despite such an enormous range, I have yet to meet a single person who adores them or can be deemed ‘the’ authority on this large, handsome butterfly.

4) Few of us share good images of Spicebush Swallowtails. Like an effective ‘Spook’ most view this butterfly as unremarkable in its appearance, and readily forgettable.

I’ve planted a 10′ Sassafras tree in my garden, and  and 3 little Spicebushes, and I hope that these hostplants for Spicebush butterflies brings ’em in, from far and wide.

Jeff

 

Black Swallowtail Evokes?

 

Black Swallowtail butterfly and chrysalis, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch, Eatonton, GA

Black Swallowtail butterfly and chrysalis

There’s no doubt that this Eastern Black Swallowtail butterfly eclosed (exited its chrysalis case) just hours before. When I noticed it in the Low growth at the Butterflies & Blooms In The Briar Patch Habitat I (Eatonton, Georgia), I slowly approached ( see How Does Jeff Do It click-on above ). Yikes! It was  . . . spectacular. Spectacular.

I sit here, examining this work of High Art, and remain transfixed, by the many, many wondrous features of this sylvan winged beauty.

I almost know why it hits me so hard, so bullseye to my personal psyche. It all goes to living the beginning of my life in concrete, brick and asphalt. Working six days a week, and living in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island, with 0.006% proximity to such as you see here, and less time to seek it. To teaching high school Biology students, and no time to explore of what I teach. To Huge personal loss, of the woman who applauded my early, focused butterfly field work products. To a circle of friends and acquaintances who questioned my sanity, asking “Are you taking pictures of bugs?”

To Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania, where I was just 2 days ago! Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, Lynx Prairie Reserve in Adams County, the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas and to Virginia’s Masterpiece, the Butterflies and Blooms Briar Patch Habitat . . . and Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge. Stop.

Tell me, what does this photo, and the nearby chrysalis evoke in you?

Please.

Jeff

Macro- Shooters Wait Your Turn?

Tropical Greenstreak butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at 'The Wall,' Mission, TX

While we were at the “Wall” (the entrance to the Retama Village walled development in Mission, Texas) the word went out, “Tropical Greenstreak!” A cell network exists, and the cars began arriving, more and more cars pulled up on the grass. This is a ‘stray’ to the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Hundreds of folks have moved here from different parts of the U.S. Fortunate to retire healthy, they chose to resettle here, and enjoy the squadrons of common, rare, and very rare butterflies that show up here.

A squad of enthusiasts surrounded the bushes that this tiny Gossamerwing chose to nectar on. They all formed a semicircle, most some 10 feet from our star here. All were using long lenses. Uh oh! Jeff shoots . . . Macro-. It got interesting. I cannot focus on this beauty from 10 feet away., Macro-, for such a tiny, tiny butterfly can produced images 1:1 . . . as long as you are no farther than say 24″ (inches) from this Tropical green streak.

So, the kid from Brooklyn went low, and kind of duck walked under the enthusiasts, and approached, too low to block their cameras. I asked G-d the whole time, please don’t let this gem fly because of me!! Sure many of you have seen me in photos shared here on wingedbeauty.com. I’m in my majority, it’s true. But like many guys, I think young, and truth be told, the scrapper of a street kid is still to be found within.

I sensed that the small crowd behind me was, how can I say, “upset.” Me, I was as careful as if I was trying to snatch raw wildebeest from a napping lioness. This hairstreak did not flee, and continued off and on to nectar.

I stepped back as carefully as I had gone in, low and robotic. I stuck around there for many minutes, the crowd continued to change as some came and so I went. I went in again, for with film, you never know what you reap. Again my old street sense told me that the folks behind me were the other side of upset with me. Macro- folks are just not what the locals have much patience with. I shot-out again, and once again backed away, low and pleased.

Later I asked someone who had been there, what the folks were thinking, when Boy Brooklyn made his approaches? “Selfish” is what they were thinking (sharing?). That bit, because I don’t ever want to be thought of that way.

Why did I do what I did? 1) I had to if I wanted to see this butterfly (I don’t carry binos, too much weight, bulk). 2) Our audience here grows, steadily. I want You to see and examine and admire these butterflies, and to do that, Jeff went in low and straight, and if this sweetie had been a lioness, I’d for sure have a good 18% chance of surviving for another day.

Brooklyn stokes the anger of the Retama vigilantes.

Jeff

Bergamots Now!

Bergamot Bloom photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania 7/31/14

Bergamot Bloom photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania 7/31/14

Bergamot is in bloom now. Raccoon Creek State Park in Hookstown, Pennsylvania has a more than 100 acre meadow that features a large stand of them. Be there at the right time in the morning, and you’ll enjoy the show: Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, Great Spangle Fritillaries, Silver Spotted Skippers, Monarchs, Pipevine Swallowtails and Spicebush Swallowtails will visit Bergamot for its nectar.

Those stands of Bergamot are so sweet to the eye. The sea of pinkish purple (?) is a crowd pleaser, though I’ve never been there to hear what others think of that view.

If you’re there between about 9:45 A.M. and 10:40 A.M. the butterflies arrive from all directions. I’ve long wondered what’s in the nectar that is obviously being pumped in those 55 minutes? I’d think it included several sugars, some proteins and trace hormones, pheromones and fragrant hydrocarbons. Got a degree in Biochem? What’s in the nectar of a Bergamot bloom? Jerry?

Jeff