Ten (10) Years of TomFoolery

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

Northern Pearly Eye butterfly

Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at the Jamestown Audubon Center in Jamestown, NY.

Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly

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

Me? I’ve taught high school Biology to thousands of young Americans, in New York City and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I am pleased with the respect and admiration that my students afforded me. I retired in 2006, to become the caregiver for Frieda A”H. I lost that job, when she passed in January 2008.

I’ve been in the bushes as much as possible, for these last 25 years. I search for and photograph butterflies. This wingedbeauty.com that you’re reading here is the product of my love and fascination with butterflies & wildflowers.

I have watched the health and well being of our land become taken over by ‘naturalists’ who claim 1) that they must protect our land for all of us and 2) lecture and alarm us that our pristine habitat will soon be destroyed by “Global Warming.” I have watched as they chastise us for the coming annihilation of our fauna and flora, and for the coming destruction of all that is wild and loved,.

It seems that to be an academic today, you must join the ranks of the alarmists. You must declare that butterflies, birds, wildflowers, dragonflies, wasps, moths and macro- animals are all soon to leave us.

All not so. I spend hundreds/thousands of hours in the bush, seeking and searching for butterflies, and I can Thankfully report that they are well, normal and unchanged, with an excellent future. There is no Global Warming and there will be none in the future. G-d is in control and has been since the beginning of time.

True it is, that if the relations of the loudest Global Warming supporters would stop developing valuable habitat, usually the home of endangered butterflies and living things, if they would stop developing the choicest sites along our oceans, lakes and rivers . . . if they would stop overdeveloping California, Oregon, Colorado, Texas, Washington State, Arizona, Florida, New Mexico and more, our children and grandchildren would so benefit, and species would not continue disappearing.

There is no Global Warming. These 3 American butterflies attest to that.

Jeff

Shrimp Plant Question?

Shrimp Plant photographed by Jeff Zablow

We have a lovely, healthy robust Shrimp Plant in our 303 Garden, here in Eatonton, Georgia, some 80 miles east of Atlanta. Virginia gifted it to us. An occasional Ruby Throated Hummingbird visits it, once in a while. No butterflies have been seen on it. Ellen Honeycutt? Jim Rodgers? Deb Marsh? Katy Wilson Ross? Virginia C Linch?

By contrast, today, August 16th, we’ve seen here: Tiger Swallowtails. American Snout, Cloudless Sulphur, Gulf Fritillary, Spicebush Swallowtail, Sleepy Orange, Duskywings, Silver-Spotted Skipper, Giant Swallowtail, Several Species of Skippers (at least 6 species). Since butterflies come and go all day, my guess it that another 8 or more species have been here today, many when it was full sun and 97F.

Then there’s this Shrimp Plant, proudly producing large flowers, with zero butterflies seen? Curt Lehman?

Jeff

Why Malachite? Why not Peacock?

Peacock butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TXMalachite Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

Friends love Chevys. Others love Fords. Yuppies here and in New York love ‘Beemers’ (BMW’s), others love Nissans. Why?

My Christmas week trip to the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas did not yield Jeffrey Glassberg or Jane Hurwitz . . . but I did meet my first White Peacock and my first Malachite butterfly! (I too met Javier and Mike Rickard).

I was OK with meeting and shooting this Peacock you see here. I was very excited to meet and photograph this Malachite, which friends there shared was an especially handsome one.

“OK” with finding this Peacock. “Very excited” to shoot away with this Malachite.

Why do some butterflies (Malachite for me) so excite us, even years later, while others (Peacock for me) are met with moderate excitement?

Why?

Jeff

 

Beg, Threaten or Cajole, They Bloom And Soon Stop

Large Clump of Butterflyweed photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

This lush set of blooms was met in Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania. Our garden in Eatonton, Georgia now has them. We’ve had good success growing new plants from our own seed.

Without checking the internet, I think that these Butterflyweed milkweeds are native to most states east of the Mississippi River. I found them lush and strong in Lynx Prairie Reserve in southern Ohio and just as beautiful in that 100+ acre meadow at Ft. Indiantown Gap in central Pennsylvania. On them at Lynx Prairie were Edwards Hairstreaks, Coral Hairstreaks, Monarchs, Great Spangled Fritillaries and more. On them at Ft. Indiantown Gap were Regal Fritillaries (Wow!!), Monarchs, Coral Hairstreaks and more.

Search for them too early in June, and you won’t find their flowers in bloom. Search for them too late in July, and again, too late for blooms.

They are super terrific flowers for attracting butterflies, but . . . they only attract butterflies when those flowers are mature, lush and my own experience is that they mostly attract butterflies and moths and wasps from about 9:45 AM to 10:40 AM..

You can beg, cajole or threaten whatever, but that’ll not help. They bloom when they bloom, and when they are ripe and ready, they are easy to spot and fantastic! beacons for butterflies and more. They do occasionally support Monarch caterpillars, but seem to be a milkweed of last resort.

And, they do great in most gardens, preferring sunny, moist spots.

Jeff

Are You Able To ID This Moth?

Unidentified Moth photographed by Jeff Zablow at Fort Federica, Saint Simons Island, GA

We spotted this moth on a mostly sunny morning at Ft. Federica, on St. Simons Island, on the Georgia coast. Me? I can recognize almost all butterflies, but moths, I don’t know most of them.

We spent almost a week in a vacation house in Townsend, Georgia. Most of our field work was was done at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, about 25 minutes from our beautiful rental home. That one day we drove to Ft. Federica, in part to see Virginia’s childhood home of St. Simons Island. I’d ask her where the best place to find and shoot butterflies on the island, and Virginia said that’d be this hundreds of years old English fort, Ft. Federica.

Id’ing moths is a very popular pursuit now, so I look forward to several of you helping us name this fascinating moth.

Jeff