Least Skipper Ablaze?

Skipper on orange Hawkweed, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Jamestown Audubon Center, NY

That Jamestown Audubon Center (renamed the Audubon Community Nature Center) meadow dished-up many butterflies, not the least this Least Skipper nectaring on Orange Hawkweed blooms. Know that this delicious occurrence triggered a flow of analogies in this man’s mind, including the tale that this little brave Skipper butterfly was boldly heading into the fiery furnace that led into the earth’s very core. Hey, my mind remains inventive and our butterflies over and over again spark new and ever changing fantasies.

Far western New York State, actually very far from New York City and Long Island, where few seem to have an appetite for the tasty treats offered up by wingedbeauty.com.

Jeff

That ‘Locally Rare’ Hairstreak (“Gimme An M!”)

White M Hairstreak butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow in Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

These years of seeing thousands of Facebook butterfly posts, kind of jades you to images of the butterflies that y’all post the most. There are butterflies that few post, year in and year out. Those are the butterflies that you and I most search for.

Here’s one that I have only seen 2 or 3 times. This hairstreak is seen alone, never with similar White-M Hairstreaks nearby. It is a bit larger than some other hairstreaks. My own experience is that it favors Goldenrod blooms, just as you see it nectaring on a Goldenrod (Solidago) flowerhead.

If, if it does the rare thing, and moves its wings slightly, your mind goes BOOM! for that lets you see the iridescent deep blue dorsal (top) surface of the wings. Even for that 3/4 of a second, you soon move on, ecstatic, for you realize you have an image of that incredible moment, for what? the rest of your life?

We’re here at Raccoon Creek State Park, in Doak Meadow, in late August. Do I recommend that western Pennsylvania state park? 100% for butterflies, for I’d seen more (way more) than 50 species there, including Goatweed Leafwing, Compton Tortoiseshell, Orange-barred Sulphur, Meadown Fritillary, Coral Hairstreak . . . .

Jeff

Enjoy Your Nap, Viceory

Viceroy Butterfly at rest (right side), photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

It was always a struggle for me to get to the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat, before 8:30 AM on any morning. I’m a slow starter in the morning, and that jeopardized the opportunities that can be had by early arrivals at wildlife habitat. I’ve often seen others come along at 11 A.M. or noontime.

The sun is way too high after 11 A.M., striking your subject butterfly so that the image is bathed in strong light. I didn’t want that. Much better are images scored early in the morning, with the sunlight striking your butterfly at a sharp angle, accentuating the topography of your subject, producing interesting angles, and great images.

This Viceroy butterfly was difficult to see, as it remained on this flat leaf, just inside the tree margin at the Briar Patch Habitat. It wasn’t ready to make flight, not yet. I was able to quickly have a look at it, and Wow! it was a very handsome Viceroy. it’s marking was bold, nicely colored and included a solid, thick black hindwing mid-line, the line that enables you to easily see that not only is the butterfly smaller than a Monarch butterfly, but with that hindwing line coursing the middle of the hindwing, it’s definitely a Viceroy.

Viceroy butterflies thrive when their hostplant, Willows, trees or bushes, are nearby.

Eatonton, Georgia, in the Georgia Piedmont region.

Jeff

Why Travel To See A Texan Crescent Butterfly?

Texan crescent butterfly (male) photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

That visit? Amazing! Nancy, John and I travelled from Georgia to the National Butterfly Center (NBC) in Mission, Texas. Standing there, just a mile or two from the border with Mexico? A never to be forgotten experience. I loved it. It was my first visit to the NBC. I was in a benign kind of shock. There we were, Christmas week, with temperatures sometimes in the low 90’s, and butterflies new to me there, and there, and almost . . . everywhere.

Yes I’ve seen much in my life, and travelled some. How many butterflies seen? Who knows? 200,000? This Texan Crescent, the Red Rim, that Erato Heliconian, the Mexican Bluewing, plus the Julia Heliconian, Fatal Metalmark, adds to those the Tropical Leafwing, a gorgeous Common Mestra . . . all the way to the world’s most beautiful Malachite butterfly and many Skipper butterflies new to me. I was in a state of euphoria not often enjoyed.

Back home, my family never opens these 900+ posts, friends don’t either and my last home, with its 2-year old 303 Garden, that was often a crowded freeway of butterflies, it never had a single person request to have a look at it. That I’m a seasoned guy now, helps, for I accept. Accept much. Nearly all possess no interest in all of this, are hardened to their milieu, their daily life spaces. Getting down to it, I sent kids to some of the USA’s ‘top’ schools, and now, they never visit here?

Why travel to see a Texan Crescent? This Texan Crescent? If you’re here, right here, I applaud you, and a gold star should definitely be issue/awarded to you, for you are 1) an Esthete and 2) one way or another appreciate the infinite beauty G-d has created.

Jeff

Armed Thistle (HolyLand)

Severe Thistle With Flower Buds photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mishmarot, Israel

This thistle so reminds me of my youth. Then, there were guys in Brooklyn who you knew were rough guys. We called them “rocks.” I never messed with them, they wearing black leather jackets, adorned with sizable metal studs, their hair was heavily greased, and they always hung in groups. To this day, I don’t know how tough they were, but then, it made no sense testing out that unanswered question.

In Israel, this HolyLand Thistle plant totally reminds me of those ‘Fonzy’ characters back in Canarsie, Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst and Flatbush Brooklyn. This 6 foot to 7 foot tall Thistle was covered with severe, saber sharp thorns. No creature I can think of would want to brush up against it. When you first come upon this plant, you stop and wonder, you foolishly hope that this Thistle cannot pick itself up and charge toward you. At least you are thankful that it is anchored in place.

I wondered too why a HolyLand wild flowering plant was so armed with near-deadly knife-like thorns. Why?

It was not in bloom then, and I regretted that I did not see it in flower.

Jeff