A Rare American Skipper

Leonard's Skipper Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park

Sometimes I review my images and I’m pleased that I have some that are just plain unusual, “rare.” Jeffrey Glassberg in A Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America notes that this Leonard’s Skipper butterfly is “LR-U,” locally rare to uncommon. Good, for I remember when and how I scored this sweet image.

It was well into September at Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania. I wanted to go there that morning, but had an internal debate, ‘Why go when it was so late in the season and everything that could be seen by me, was?’ I went.

She flew onto a mowed trail in Doak’s 100+ acres meadow. ??????? What was she? I’d never seen such a sweety before. And she was a stunner!!

She my first Leonard’s. A rare skipper that first appears in very late summer!

A rare American skipper butterfly, and  . . . Never say never! Thanks Fuji, for your Velvia slide film caught her lush color just fine.

Jeff

Which NFL Great Loved Coppers?

Copper Butterfly ( Dorsal View ) photographed by Jeff Zablow at Neve Ativ, Israel

Y. A. Tittle? Jim Brown? Fran Tarkenton? Antonio Brown? Matt Ryan? I’m sitting here, slightly missing the National Football League this 2018 season . . . and I’m thinking. This image of a tiny copper butterfly, Lycaena thersamon omphale got me to thinking, how do 6′ 3″ tall men, and 5′ 11″ tall women shoot such diminutive butterflies.

This guy was seen in a small moshav (village) on the slope of Israel’s Mt. Hermon. I wanted those 2016 images to include coppers nectaring with their wings open. I spent those 3 mornings trying to capture that and some other scenarios.

Remember, I shoot Fuji slide film, and use a Canon 100mm/2.8 lens (this was my first one, not equipped with Image Stabilization). Working with a Macro- lens necessitates getting some 18″ or so from the copper, that a feat in and of itself. So you approach, you all bent over, or like me kneeling on my left knee, on my Tommy kneepad. He flies to a bloom 2 feet away, you follow, going down again, again he flies, and again . . . . This for 3 hours in the early morning! Stir in the added feature: the sun drenching you in hot, sunburn waves, and ask yourself: How does a guy like Peyton Manning, touted at 6′ 5″ . . . photograph copper butterflies in the Israeli Golan?

Share what you know please.

Jeff

Backwoods Beauty

Appalachian Brown Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, GA

Most of our favorite butterflies visit us, in our gardens, parks, roadside botany and fields. Those are the butterflies we know and enjoy. They accept our invite to come and nectar, on our coneflower, zinnias, fruit trees, buddleia and Mexican sunflower.

Show your neighbor/friend a photo you took of a less well known butterfly, and don’t they usually say, “I didn’t know we had these in _____________________ ( pick your state ).”

This is one of those “We have these in Georgia?” butterflies. The Appalachian Brown butterfly. They don’t know or care that you have a spectacular garden full of natives and nectar pumping plants.

This is none of the above, rather it is a Backwood beauty, found in swamps and wet meadows. This immediate one was seen in Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge in middle Georgia.

I’m long on record that I love subtle browns, Love those ‘eyes’ and being kind of a march to your own drummer guy, appreciate such stand alone self-confidence.

Jeff

Gulfs . . . No. 1 Or # 2 In The Southeast

Gulf fritillary butterfly sipping nectar on thistle, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Wildlife Management Area, Kathleen, GA

These 4 years shooting butterflies in Georgia have been a joy. So many butterflies, they flying in rich, verdant habitat, from Cloudland Canyon to Jekyll Island. Best of all there are so many of them.

Used to be that I’d struggle to find butterflies in southwestern Pennsylvania. That made finding a fresh butterfly a very exciting experience. In Georgia, the fraction of fresh, beautiful butterflies is so much higher.

Which southern butterflies are most numerous Jeff? Gulf Fritillary Butterflies and Cloudless Sulphur butterflies, so says my hundreds of hours in the field.

Do you get glazed over when you have seen dozens of Gulf fritillaries in a single morning? Nope. Huh? I am forever searching for fresh Gulf Frits, and that accomplished, I want to capture an image of the sunlight reflecting from the dazzling ventral white spots. Not easy to get. Not easy.

Here our Gulf Frit’s lower wing spots are 100% brightened by the morning sun, and the thistle flowers dazzle too. Oakey Woods Wildlife Management Area, guided by Mike.

Jeff