Want To See A Grown Man–

Earring Series - Jeff with Black Swallowtail Earrings (Best shot), at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

This is the shot with the Eastern Black Swallowtails fully on my right ear.Want To See

I went there early, really early that morning. My plan? To hope to find butterflies nestled in their overnight hideaways, and track them as they slowly flew to flat leaves, where they’d remain until the growing morning sun warmed their wings. That plan worked, worked just fine.

I found that coupled pair of Eastern Black Swallowtails. Began to photo them. Heard someone entering the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch and I was concerned that the butterflies would be spooked by that person (?) and flee. Who’d I see arrive? My friend Sylbie Yon. Huh? What? Why had Sylbie come to this mini-wilderness, smack in the middle of Eatonton, Georgia?

I wildly signalled her to slow down, approach us cautiously. She did. I thought fast. Before I could do anything else. The Black Swallowtails flew. Sylbie quietly told me that they’d flown onto me???

I handed her my camera, gave her quick instructions as to how to operate my Canon film Elan camera, and Look! Look! Sylbie capture the now famous Jeff’s Earrings series of shots. I Love these images, the series seen by selecting it at the top of wingedbeauty.com posts.

This is the one that rattled me. The pair moved from my shoulder to my hat to . . . my right ear. I was already ‘pudding’ for such mystical moments melted me, they bringing memories of Frieda A”H and her losing battle with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma/Stem Cell Transplant/ side-effect=Leukemia. I cried, trying to not let my friend see me (on the Brooklyn streets, crying was not done, period).

I will always cherish this, hang with me here, don’t judge, but where I lived my formative years, those streets, guys did not wear earrings,.

Look at me. How I’ve . . . .

Jeff

Acid Bog Pearly-Eye

Northern Pearly Eye Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Allenberg Bog in New York

We hiked to the Allenberg Bog in far western New York State. I wanted to find Bog Copper butterflies (themselves very rare) and Barbara Ann Case looked forward to examining the many specialized plants that can be found in Sphagnum moss (acid) bogs. The Niagra (New York) Audubon Society owns this relic of thousands of years ago, it the size of a small pond, but a very ancient small pond.

This field trip stands out in my mind, for Barbara Ann A”H (Of Blessed Memory) passed away some months ago. She made those hikes despite her worsening health problems. Why did she? She loved the outdoors and an opportunity to see a habitat that is fast disappearing, with its pitcher plants, sundew plants, bog blueberry and a host of plants threatened with extinction.

The happy surprise for me was the appearance of this Northern Pearly Eye butterfly, at the bog’s edge. I’d only seen them on trails, where moving water was nearby. Seeing this beaut at the bog? Exciting. It was fresh, richly colored and it came to rest on a leaf, wings extended. Shooting a Pearly-Eye with its dorsal wing surface revealed? Totally Wow! Those ‘eyes!’ Those ‘eyes!’

Jeff

‘Busters’ Now A Memory

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

Been doing this now for decades, that is, seeking and photographing butterflies. Some things get easier, including enduring the disappearance of butterflies in the Fall, here in Georgia, and disciplining yourself, with the understanding that they will reappear in the Georgia Spring. Spring here in the southeastern USA comes as early as February. That means that your parsley and rue, domestic and cultivar will begin to prosper, and that also means that these butterflies, Eastern Black Swallowtails will soon appear.

When Black Swallowtails show up, it’s an adrenaline rush. That such a beautiful, elegant and graceful swallowtail butterfly visits your garden, so pleases, you happy that he or she has chosen your robust herbs as the most worthy site for her to deposit her critically valuable eggs, for her to entrust her genetic jewels to your healthy, green favorites. Corollary to that is the warming knowledge that such males head straight to your place, sensing that your natives will draw females, the very same females that males must find, to progress their rich jewels onto the next flight of Black Swallowtails.

This male was seen in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia. Atlanta to the west, Augusta to the east. A springtime stunner, for sure.

Jeff

Touched By A Mourning Cloak I Was

Mourning Cloak Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in Raccoon Creek State Park

Chasing butterflies? I love the search for butterflies that you will appreciate seeing and hearing about. I daydream of shocking discoveries, of finding butterflies that y’all will be excited to see. The most impossible daydreams? Finding a new butterfly, once never seen or photographed before. It’s 2020, and I know that finding a new butterfly, short of trekking through the wilds of Indonesia or Madagascar, is impossible (?).

This Mourning Cloak butterfly reminds me that during these nearly 3 decades of the search, butterflies have touched my heart, left me semi-a mess. Why? That Mourning Cloak that overflew me repeatedly, 30 feet or so above me, and then disappeared, rocked my boat. Why? I couldn’t see it because . . . it landed on my hat!!

Tears flowed. Why tears, doesn’t Jeff always display bravado, macho-man persona, and boast of how he grew up with Them? All true but, this product of the 1950’s had just endured the loss of Frieda A”H, watched her nearly 8-year fight end. That Mourning Cloak sent me into an emotional tailspin. I was convinced that Frieda’s Blessed Memory was embodied in that Spectacular butterfly. When it flew from my hat, up again 30 feet and then flew over me again, I was turned to Brooklyn Jelly.

I’m hoping to return to Pennsylvania again in early November, visit her grave, and search several refuges and state parks for Mourning Cloaks and their cousins, Compton Tortoiseshells and Milbert’s Tortoiseshells. If I do, photos may happen, and those knees may well go spongey again.

Jeff