Finding a New Butterfly, Kind of on My Own, in Ohio’s Lynx Prairie Reserve

Northern Metalmark Butterfly at rest photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie, OH

Imagine. You’re in southernmost Ohio, a handful of miles from Kentucky, there with new friends to find orchids, wildflowers and for me, butterflies. You’ve entered a very promising refuge, Lynx Prairie Reserve in Adams County. Somehow you get separated from the rest, and you wander alone, into a sizable meadow.

Without your friends, you just hope that you’ll happen onto your #1 goal, new butterflies that you’ve never seen before. As you work the periphery of that beautiful meadow, you spot a tiny butterfly, flying low and relatively slowly. It’s not a white or a yellow, not an Azure or a Blue . . . What can it be?

Moving fast, you reach this tiny flier, and Ooh My Goodness. it’s a Metalmark? Not a Little Metalmark, too large, too far north and much darker in color than that. Battle Stations! A NEW BUTTERFLY for me, a Northern Metalmark butterfly. In the next hour I found more than 50 of them, a fresh, healthy flight of them, all recently eclosed from their chrysalises. ‘Locally Rare’ in only 4 states, flying just a month or so.

I was ecstatic, I’d struck Jackpot! This life of mine has seen much, and yet, that find, those Northern Metalmarks thrilled me, left me that word again, ecstatic! That finding a new butterfly, kind of on my own, can do that for me, Wow!

I shall always Think Of and Thank Barbara Ann Case A”H (OBM”) for she enabled that trip, and others.

Jeff

Eight Hours West of the Empire State Building I See a Compton Tortoiseshell Butterfly!

Compton Tortoiseshell Butterfly on the Ground photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Many will open this wingedbeauty.com post, puzzle over why this Jeff guy didn’t get a closer, better image, and close it and for a second time shrug, Why didn’t Jeff do better here?

The chance of seeing a Compton Tortoiseshell butterfly in Florida? 0%. Georgia? 0%. In North Carolina? 0.003% Ohio? 0.011% Pennsylvania? 0.03%. Ottawa (Canada)? 0.9%. These figures are my own estimations, and they are not for sightings in one’s garden. They are for sightings of Compton in the field, sightings for those out seeking Compton Tortoiseshells.

Still wondering why Jeff didn’t cop a better, closer shot? Been using a Macro- lens these years. It can revert to more distant captures, but they will then lack the detail that I so much seek. Another reason? I’ve seen Compton Tortoiseshell Butterflies some 5 times in these decades. The closest I was ever able to get to one was some 10 feet away. That time in the wildflower Reserve at Raccoon Creek State Park, the Compton passed me on a trail, inexplicably stopped on a tree stump, and, when I SOOOO cautiously approached it, fled, even before I could robotically set my left knee down on the ground, to shoot away. There I was, 10 feet away from a tree stump, watching that Compton swiftly fly down the trail, Gone!

How many of you have also seen this ‘R-LU (Rare to Locally Uncommon)’ Brushfoot butterfly?

At Raccoon Creek State Park’s Nichol Road Trail, some 8+ hours west of The Empire State Building in midtown New York, New York.

Jeff

A Mystical and Elegant Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly at Pittsburgh’s Phipps Conservatory

Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly on tall Verbena blooms photographed by Jeff Zablow at Phipps Conservatory Outdoor Gardens, Pittsburgh, PA

This one flew in to the Tall Verbena blooms and began nectaring away. She was very beautiful and those Verbena flowers, with the muted background, add to the mystique of her elegance.

Her tails are full, her bluish/purple wing margin bands elegant, her tiger markings dramatic and her likability, high, very high.

The Outdoor Gardens of the Phipps Conservatory set in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, surrounded by universities, museums and hospitals (UPMC) that are 3x larger than you’d imagine.

Jeff

Finding Brooklyn’s Cabbage White Butterflies in Raccoon Creek State Park

Cabbage White Butterfly on a Thistle photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PAFemale Cabbage White Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

They were friends when I was a little boy, back in Brooklyn, New York. We lived on the edge of development, our houses next to vast undeveloped ‘lots’ back then, those ‘lots’ today all covered with houses, stores and businesses. Never much for the brick, cement and asphalt that I grew up in, I was the kid who left the punchball, stickball, Johnny On The Pony, Heels, Ring-A-Leeveo games, to head over to the ‘lots’ to enjoy the wildlife that called those tree-less spaces home.

I remember that Cabbage White Butterflies were very abundant back then. Never had a field guide as a kid, but somehow I had learned that they were known as ‘European Cabbage White Butterflies’ and I kind of never developed much affection or love for them. Today? Almost never hear or see them called ‘European’ anymore, for they are here, here to stay. We do see few of them nowadays, although I’ve not read much of why their numbers have declined appreciably.

Males have one spot on their forewings. The image on the left is a male, I hold. Females have 2 spots on their forewings, and the image on the right clearly shows those 2 spots.

Both images were captured in Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania, some 8 plus hours by car from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan, New York, New York.

Jeff

With a Zabulon butterfly, the Coincidence of my Name, Zablow, Fascinates and Kind of Tickles Me

Skipper Butterfly on a Thistle Flowerhead photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

I look for them alot. Their males do challenge me, for ID’ing Skipper butterflies is somewhat difficult for me, to this day. When I come upon a female Zabulon Skpper, I’m doubly happy. No, make that triply happy.

I find the female Zabulons to be very beautiful, and this one is a good example. She has much to admire. Those purplish-blue spots on the trailing edges of her wings delight, the white spots and white border streak, all seen here, are handsome, the likable brown of her wings is a fav color of mine, and her right eye seen here bordered by white markings, that too is pretty.

Know too that when I meet a Zabulon butterfly, the coincidence of my name, Zablow, and Zabulon fascinates and kind of tickles me, it does.

She was busy nectaring on this sizable Thistle flowerhead in Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania, some 8 plus hours from the famous Brooklyn Bridge that spans Brooklyn and New York, New York (Manhattan).

Jeff