Caper White Butterfly on the Mediterranean Sea’s Coastline

Caper White Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Binyamina, Israel

He is nectaring furiously on a flower bloom, some 1/2 of an hour from the Mediterranean coast. I realized that I was fortunate to see him, for the Caper White Butterflies appear in good numbers some years, and are almost absent in other years.

I was excited to find these fresh Caper Whites, their black venation pleases my eyes, and reminds of the artistry of the Cre-ator.

All this brings me to that word that I aspire to, to be an esthete.

An 8-minute drive from this agricultural road to the Mediterranean Sea coastline.

Jeff

An Ongoing Mystery: Why are Most Gray Hairstreak Butterflies so Perfect?

Gray Hairstreak photographed by Jeff Zablow at Fort Federica, Saint Simons Island, GA

An ongoing mystery for me: Why are most of the Gray Hairstreak Butterflies so perfect? Few I find are bird-struck. Few show any wing damage caused by predators. Why? Often I wonder if these Grays produce substances that are either toxic or distasteful. I’ve not resolved this question, not yet. You?

Glassberg’s A Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America offers that Gray Hairstreaks “will use a large number of species in many plant families” as their hostplants. Our new 800 Garden’s now has black cherry trees, Chokecherry, Ironwood, Yellowwood, Rusty Blackhaw, Blackhaw, Black Gum, Tulip Poplar, Linden, Hop Tree, Hackberry trees, Hercules Club, Bronze Fennel, Hickories, Dogwoods and more so much more. I do hope that among these all, we have hostplants for Grays.

They so remind me of the several times in my life when we’ve been invited and asked to come in tuxedo. They look like they are just like I was, in a ‘monkey suit,’ trying to look elegant, though feeling a bit . . . foolish.

Grays usually don’t flee when your approach is reasonably cautious, again reminding of how some enjoy having their pictures taken when in tuxes, as though at they moment they felt . . . important.

Gray Hairstreaks make we wonder, make me think, and make me remember back when tuxedos were de rigeur.

Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania, 8 plus hours west of the MOMA Museum in New York, New York.

Jeff

This Spring’s Feast of Colors and Welcomed Arrival of Butterflies

Tiger Swallowtail butterfly resting on a leaf photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

The perennials, bushes and trees in our 1-year young 800 Macon Garden are budding out now. Many are looking spectacular, including irises, Joe Pye, Sassafras’s, Clematis, Asters (many, many different asters), Buttonbush, Hibiscus, Liatris . . . . Senna are on order and will soon be delivered. Mountain Mint is doing its quick spreading thing (and we are pleased with that). Lindens and Hackberry trees look robust, Hercules Club new leaves have superb color . . . Butterflies have begun appearing, especially male Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies.

This enjoyable ‘wave’ of pleasing green, the flowers that have opened so far (Chokecherry, Chokeberry, Alabama Croton) have primed us for the 50,000 Azalea blossoms that will open this coming week. Soon the irises will open, and the Turtlehead too, and the many, many coneflowers, tradescantia, Brickellia, Florida Dogwood . . . .

The excitement for us is way up, the feast of colors that is being prepared and the welcomed arrival of flights of butterflies all remind of the infinite beauty of G-d’s Creations.

With Passover and Easter approaching, all of this so buttresses us, after the last, remarkable year. Look again at this Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly. How Beautiful is this meticulously crafted butterfly, she, G-d’s gift to us all?

Raccoon Creek State Park, southwestern Pennsylvania, some 8 hours from Grand Central Station in New York, New York

Jeff

American Copper Butterflies on a Cut Out Trail in Raccoon Creak State Park’s Doak Field

American copper butterfly photographed at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

There was that cut path (trail) in Doak Field that I used to love to work. Orange sulphurs, Tiger Swallowtails and the occasional Monarch Butterfly were almost sure to be seen along that 200 foot hike. Good that, be they weren’t what I was looking for. I was on the lookout for American Copper Butterflies. June and July they’d be there, usually resting on the mowed trail, and it was always the same. I’d slowly approach, spot several, including a beautiful American Copper. They would quickly disperse, flying no more than 10-15 feet into the meadow growth. I’d continue slowly on the trail, and within minutes, I would return, hoping to again find and photograph that ‘beautiful one.’

I liked their story. Their ancestors came from Western Europe and the British Isles, and like many of our family lore, they thrived here, and now have earned the common name ‘American Copper.’

Here now in Georgia, so many I meet trace their families’ stories back to Georgia in the early to late 1700’s. I know because I often ask. Like the American Copper Butterflies, my own story in America begins much later than that, but like my new Georgia acquaintances, I feel deeply rooted here, and so value this soil.

American Coppers please, and make me appreciate.

Jeff

Apharitis Acamas Acamas Pair (HolyLand, Mt. Meron)

A Pair of Apharitis Acamas Butterflies photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mt. Meron,, Israel

You’re not prepared for them, if you’ve never seen them. Apharitis Acamas Acamas is unlike any butterfly you’ll see in the United States or Canada. I remember the first time I came upon them, on that trail in the SPNI refuge reserve. You immediately focus on likening them to any butterfly you’ve ever seen, and you come up, a blank!

This pair were doing the pheromone thing, I think. Both were fine example, and both were fresh. The individual to the left was beautiful, a male I think. His metallic marking shone in the sunlight, those tails ID them as hairstreaks (?), their eyes are otherworldly looking, and the markings of his abdomen bring a smile, so reminding of a clown suit.

Very north central Israel, on the slope of Mt. Meron. 7,000+ miles from Bayonne, New Jersey.

Jeff