Butterflies and . . . Turtles?

Angela Carter Examining Spotted Turtle (in Trap) photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lawrence Woods Reserve, Ohio

Butterflies and Botany brought us to Prairie Road Fen, Clark County, Ohio. Once parked, we followed the demure trail, and soon entered onto the boardwalk. It followed the contour of the small creek. Rich, diverse plant life bordered our boardwalk path. Angela, Janet and I saw diverse plants, orchids and butterflies all along the way. This Reserve is of great interest to the state of Ohio, and you could see many examples of the attention that was given to the conservation of this prized wetland.

The butterflies and moths were aplenty. Orchids and moths seemed to be swept to ‘the wayside’ when Angela and Janet spotted those traps. Set about by Ohio researchers, many of the traps contained . . . adult Spotted Turtles. My trail companions must love spotted turtles, for they could not get enough looks at them. The turtles, seemingly comfortable and at peace in their temporary shelters, cooperated, looking cute, important and very dependent on the good efforts of Ohio. Angela here examines one of the spotted turtles. That week in western and southern Ohio convinced me that Ohio is exemplary in its efforts to protect wildlife, flora and fauna.

I travel to Ohio to see butterflies, familiar and lifers ( Northern Metalmark, Edwards Hairstreak) and see, I also enjoy revisiting spotted turtles, for the second time in my rich life. Bonanza? Bonus?

June 2017.


What’s To Like Here?

Coupled Lycaena Thersamon Butterflies, Neve Ativ, Israel photographed by Jeff Zablow

They remained locked for 20 minutes that I know of. Lycanea Thersamon coppers, engrossed in that primary urge, the production of a new generation of copper butterflies. On the slope of Israel’s Mt. Hermon, we were away from the snow covered peak, away from the intercine battles fought that April 2017,  just down on the other side of Hermon. That meadow was blanketed with these little yellow blooms, and no shortage of perches there for interlocked butterflies.

I shot away, from many different angles. Months later, viewing the best of that series of images, I was pleased. I found much to like in several of the slides that I scored.

What did I like here? The rich color of the female on the right. Her distinct right eye and the brightly spotted right antenna. The crisp orange/black markings of the marginal spotting of her forewing and hindwing. The balanced positioning of her right legs. The satisfactory bristling of her wing borders. The discrete but muffled view of their terminal couple. His left antenna and his blurred, but still deep copper red dorsal tint.

Valued too is the seriousness of their look. Purposeful and important. Finally, I am reminded how much I like her spotting, and the whitish framing of each and every wing spot.

Shareable, that always my goal.


Viceroy Butterfly Resting

Viceroy Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lawrence Woods Reserve

Monarchs, especially female Monarchs can be seen doing it. Seeking high grasses, and stopping deep in them, to rest for good stretches of time. This butterfly here is a Viceroy. That meandering rim of black that courses across the hind wings is the first assurance that it’s a Viceroy. We were working the trail edge through Lawrence Woods Reserve in Ohio, and that wetland trail was rich in butterflies, especially those keen on wetland habitat. Viceroys stay close to willows, and willows prefer the guaranteed wetness of wetlands.

Monarchs, Viceroys, Great Spangled Fritillaries, and Wood Nymph butterflies, all can be found resting, hiding in the high grasses of meadows and wetlands. Many a time when I see one securely tucked away in high green, I wonder. Is this behavior the result of conscious decision making by that butterfly or is what you see before you the mechanical response to prescribed behavior determined by genetic programming?

When I earned my BS in Biology, we were nowhere near even asking this kind of question. Are we much ahead of that curve now?


Coupled Great Spangled Fritillaries

Coupled Great Spangled Fritillary Butterflies photographed by Jeff Zablow at Kamama Prairie Reserve, Ohio

Amidst the  excitement of dozens of Northern Metalmark butterflies, Monarchs, Edwards Hairstreaks, Coral Hairstreaks and Great Spangled Fritillaries, Kamama Prairie Reserve in Adams County, Ohio dished up this thriller!

A pair of Great Spangled Fritillary butterflies, enthralled in tight embrace. Thousands of hours in the field, for me, and perhaps the 3rd time I’ve seen such a sight. They flew on my initial approach, locked in their kind of embace, and flew again on my next approach. Came my  persistent 3rd crouch, they kind of gave up, and tolerated my bad manners.

Large fritillaries, in a verdant prairie habitat, greener than green, they both looking fine, and robustly completing their respective missions.

A morning to remember in a very southern Ohio prairie. A moving experience for me, embedded in the lush life pool poured by the Creator.