Silver Spots at the Bog

Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly on Swamp Milkweed, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Allenberg Bog in New York

We spent not one, but two mornings at Allenberg Bog in northwestern New York State. Nary a moment with nothing to do there, for the botany was extraordinary, and those Bog Copper butterflies captivated, and challenged.

Why did the Bog Coppers count as a challenge? They were beyond tiny, flew very closed to the ground, mostly from one Bog Cranberry blossom to another. As you worked to capture a killer of an image, you experienced that bog thing, that your feet were steadily sinking down into the bog. Sinking while you’re readying for a click negates countless captures over 2 sunny mornings. This was a single Bog Copper flight, and each time we sought another Bog Copper, it was always the same, slightly worn. I kept searching, but that very fresh butterfly never did show up.

Some 100 feet from the bog’s open water, wildflowers stood, and these (swamp ?) milkweeds were seeing new butterflies every few minutes. I was pleased when this Great Spangled Fritillary flew in. He was fine looking, and I wanted to capture the sunlight reflecting off of his silver spots. In the field, real-time, the right moment, when he turns and the sunlight bounces off of those spots, pleases your eyes, alot!

I’m hoping to revisit a northeastern sphagnum moss bog this year, one like Allenberg, where you might, if G-d wants you to, see any of 5 or more different fritillaries. See, that excites me. I threw the latter out, hoping that you . . .


3 thoughts on “Silver Spots at the Bog

  1. Lovely entry. When you wrote bog, my mind went to wet, squishy places. No tripod could handle that shot either if it too sank down. You have such patience to capture this and are apparently driven as a photographer. I would want out of those wet clothing and boots/shoes. Sitting in front of a nice fire in the fireplace would be welcome.

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    • Mary Ann, Thanks. You’re right about the squishy bog/ exhausting experience . . . or the comfy log fire . . . but. I get my pleasure searching for and finding OMG! butterflies in places hardly even imagined by the throngs out there. What I seek makes me say aloud, “Thank you G-d [for enabling me to see and do such fantastic things].” Grew up in NYC on the streets, experience a decade + of much success . . . yet, it’s seeking and finding butterfly/wildflower exceptionals that gives me the greatest pleasure. Would only the other 365,901,338 Americans find such drug free, alcohol free, and generally economical joy.

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