Eastern Tiger Reminisce

Male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Cloudland Canyon State Park, GA

I often puzzle over why I remember somethings going back to those lazy, crazy days on the Brooklyn streets. Why do I remember a certain game of punchball, played with maybe 20 kids playing and watching, including Julie Locke, who still stops by here time and again. There were what? hundreds of games of punchball (played by hitting a Pennsy Pinky ball with your fist and running the bases as in baseball), yet I remember one of them?

I remember this guy well. We were at Cloudland Canyon State Park in northwestern Georgia. We found the power line cut that Phil suggested we visit, and yes the Liatris was in full bloom. This male flew in and he stayed there methodically working one Liatris flower spike after another.

He was large, and he was fresh and he was very handsome.

We both shot him out, he fully accommodating our close approach, hardly fleeing. A fine day, and a Shmeksy! Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, reminding us that G-d’s finery is with us.

Jeff

Viceroys Beckon

Viceroy Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow in Kelso Swamp, Fayette Township, PA

I think about butterflies, alot. These more than 25 years of butterfly seeking have produced many epiphanies for me. This riveting image of a Viceroy Butterfly in Traci’s Kelso Swamp in southwestern Pennsylvania evokes one of those durable thoughts.

Just as I’ve been a fan of Elvis, Paul Robeson, Johnny Cash, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Bing Crosby and Kelli Pickler, there are butterflies I cannot see enough of. That especially when the one I’ve ‘found’ is fresh and richly colored/patterned.

Viceroys are in that select group. When I’m in a wetland, I find that I am particularly alert to the likelihood that a Viceroy will fly in. See a Viceroy, and I stop whatever I was doing and follow it, for I want, I really want it to be fresh, richly hued, and with a thick, dramatic black line across the back expanse of the hindwings. It I see such, I will stalk it for as long as necessary. Usually it decides to avoid this new nuisance, and as they are skilled at doing, execute some elusive maneuvers, and are  . . . gone.

This one was a Looker! and all of the above applied. You see what I see, a fine specimen of a Viceroy with so much to admire, perched and resting in Kelso Swamp, smack next door to Traci’s lot!

Jeff

2019 Memorandum

Jeff Zablow at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, GA

I think it’s a fine time to assay where we are now, 1/2 way through 2019, in our maybe 25th year of photographing butterflies:

Motivation: Very strong. I continue to want to locate and photograph rare butterflies and fresh butterflies that well represent species.

Energy Level: High, very. Fed by the great joy and satisfaction that I experience in the field.

Field Mojo: That’s been developed over these decades, and remains strong, assuring good reason to expect to have much success in the field.

Abundance of Destinations: Long been a problem. A dirth of friends/acquaintances who know where to find ’em. Those who know their states and tri-state areas well. remain more than reluctant to share.

Obstacles: The wherewithal to travel ( $’s ) and the aforementioned lack of folks who know butterflies well. The very real refusal of butterfly experts to reach out. That sad reality much limits what we can discuss here on wingedbeauty.com.

Field Partners Whom I’ve Worked With & Admire: Barbara Ann, Phil, Rose & Jerry, Angela, Dave, John & Nancy, Mike, Virginia, Cathy,

Disappointments: Those that continue to elude me: All the Elfins, a fine image of a Goatweed Leafwing, Dianas, Great Purple Hairstreak, and the Butterflies of Maine, the Chirichua mountains of southeastern Arizona, those western Buckwheat blues and a whole lot of western Coppers.

Unrealized Images That Haunt Me: That Mourning Cloak on Nichol Road Trail that morning; The Compton Tortoiseshell that landed in front of me at Raccoon Creek State Park’s Wildflower Reserve; that Common Mestra whose absolute fresh beauty caused me to stare too long at the National Butterfly Center

Hopes and Dreams: That all of the above enable. Enable me to continue doing this that I love, indefinitely. My Dad passed at 100 in the Dublin, Georgia Veterans Administration Hospice. Would that I might . . .

Jeff

Jewelry On Gossamer Wings?

Tropical leafwing butterfly (Dorsal view) photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

She was close to the trail when we spotted her. They were excited to spot her, but not nearly as excited as I was. John and Nancy ID’d her as a Tropical Leafwing. They tamped down my rush! saying that this butterfly was seen there, at the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, often.

She denied any approach by camera, and flew, stopping on this small tree. She remained perched there, and we again approached. This was the best that my Macro- lens could score, and that was just fine with me.

Their hostplants are crotons. I’ll never get a Tropical Leafwing in my Eatonton, Georgia garden, but we’ve planted 7 Alabama Crotons, hoping that in 2020 or ’21 we’ll lure Goatweed Leafwings to pay us a visit. We purchased the strong, vital Alabama Cortons at Nearly Native Nursery in Fayetteville, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. Jim and Debi there are engaging, knowledgeable natives experts, and their nursery stock is 100% native and of very high quality.

She remained in that little tree for some time. I remember standing there, impressed by her unique deep orange coloration, and Thanking G-d there and then for sharing such Heavenly beauty, with those gossamer finely crafted wings.

Jeff

Who’s Seen A Regal Fritillary?

Regal Fritillary Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Fort Indiantown Gap Military Reservation, PA

There surely were 30,000,000 or more Regal Fritillary Butterflies when George Washington was President of the United States. That’d be 30 million Regals flying east of the Mississippi River. I have no doubt that they flew in my old neighborhood, East Flatbush in Brooklyn, New York in 1770.

Today, they fly only on 2 military reservations from the Mississippi to the Atlantic Ocean. The first is in central Pennsylvania and the other, is in the State of Virginia. In those places, expansive pristine meadows grow, protected and nurtured by the U.S. military.

I can’t even guess how many Americans have ever seen this handsome butterfly, once found in the tens of millions, and now rare, with perhaps 2,000. eclosed each year.

I’d been determined to see Regals, and when I finally saw them at Ft. Indiantown Gap, near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, they were even more beautiful than I expected. Really.

Why now? This Butterflyweed, a milkweed, is now in bloom just about everywhere, and this is the week that Regals Fritillaries make their appearance.

Jeff