It’s A . . . Banded

Banded Hairstreak Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in Raccoon Creek State Park

There are many things that you just don’t see too many times in your life. For me that includes Presidents of the United States, National Football League players, and red heads with green eyes.

I have seen very rare butterflies on the peak of Mt. Hermon, Diana Ross in that elevator, and my children graduate from universities. Black Widow spiders, Kirk Douglas, wild boar, Eastern timber rattlesnake, and many grandchildren.

I’ve seen this butterfly, the Banded Hairstreak two times these 25 years, this one in Raccoon Creek State Park, 45 minutes west of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and another two in a city park in Toronto, Ontario. They fly where there are oak trees and hickory trees, and they are solitary butterflies and for sure, uncommon.

Their blue and orange spots sing, and their tune is one I wouldn’t mind, some more times.

Jeff

Danaus Plexippus

Right side view of Monarch butterfly on Tithonia, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat I, Eatonton, GA

They will be here in my Georgia yard, soon, very soon. Back where I used to live, Pittsburgh, you’d see perhaps one Monarch or two in your home garden from May to July. That was exasperating Monarchmama, because those 7 foot tall and 8 foot tall Common milkweed plants were strong, bearing huge flowerheads, all for one or two Monarchs! Twenty or more milkweeds, despondent, waiting for Monarchs, but none come.

Here in Georgia, Virginia’s Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch (as in Br’er Rabbit) Habitat usually has 3 to 4 Monarchs present on any day from April to October. Last November, there was that day when 5 Monarchs arrived in my own garden, together, and they nectared on the Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia) for several hours, before they left, headed to Mexico.

They are show headliners, like Johnny Cash, Elvis, the Beatles, Diana Ross, Bing Crosby (my music stopped with the ’60’s). When they fly in, those poor Cloudless Sulphurs, Painted Ladies and Black Swallowtails are abandoned, for Look! a Monarch just flew in!! This male is happily on Tithonia, in that very same Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia.

So, I ask you, Why did G-d make the Monarch butterfly?

Jeff

Backstage With An EPB

Little Metalmark butterfly at rest, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Shellman Bluff, GA

In about 1962, I was backstage, with the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes, in their dressing room. When will I ever forget that? Yes, Denise, I really was, and yes I was 19, and well, yes  . . .

This “rarely” seen view of a “LU” (Locally Uncommon – Glassberg in his A Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America) butterfly, so reminds. We were on Jekyll Island on the Georgia coast, and do I see what I see? This beauty of an Eastern Pygmy-Blue butterfly flew onto this tiny plant, I got down on my belly, and !!! it opened it wings, wide open!!!!

I enjoy this image, for it is happily so color-true.

Backstage once again, and again with celebrity.

Jeff

Bust Out Butterflies

Plain Tiger butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mishmarot, Israel

Watching plane loads of people arriving at Ben Gurion International Airport, reminds me that groups visit the HolyLand from every corner of the world. There have been times that I just sit there, waiting for my own flight, and playing a guessing game, Where Are They Arriving From? Chile? Nigeria? Sweden? Taiwan? Azerbizian? Portugal? Iceland? Japan? Myanmar?

You? I’ve urged my wingedbeauty friends to visit the HolyLand, sharing maybe 100 posts from there, or more. It’s safe there, very, and starkly beautiful. The dry desert area, buildings built of stone block and the emotional rush of seeing what you imagined back in Sunday school, make for lifelong memories, meaningful memories. If you prefer, luxury hotels abound, as do many other hotels.

What I do ask you to think about is driving your rental car out of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem or Eilat, and spending 2 or 3 days in search of what we Love, butterflies. My most beloved destinations are in the north of Israel, the upper Galilee and the Golan Heights. Stay like I do in an SPNI (Society For The Protection of Nature in Israel) guesthouses (reservations must be made in advance) and explore the many nature parks and roadside flora for butterflies. The roads are excellent, and the signs are 98% Hebrew/English.

Delight yourself in June/July when you spot this Danaus butterfly, the Plain Tiger butterfly. Just as our Monarchs and Queens do here in the USA, these HolyLand butterflies are milkweed butterflies, laying their egg on milkweed.

I’ll reward anyone who takes this suggestion, with an extra special Giant lollypop, made in America.

Jeff

The Beauty Of An Eyed Brown

Appalachian Brown Butterfly II photographed by Jeff Zablow at Prairie Fen Reserve, Ohio

We scoured Prairie Road Fen, Angela and Barbara Ann for orchids and wildflowers, with me keeping an eye out for butterflies. Near Dayton, Ohio, I was again and again impressed with the richness of Ohio reserves and parks.

They found their orchids, here at Prairie Fen Reserve and almost everywhere else, they with much experience with orchids and near relentless in their pursuit of them.

Me? I was reintroduced to several butterflies of the northeastern USA that are hard to find. This Eyed Brown butterfly was such, one I rarely see over the years. It’s home? Wet meadows.

Once my Fuji slides were returned from Dwayne’s Photo, I was thrilled by this image. Glassberg’s A Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America cites Eyed Brown’s as “LR-U” at the southern edge of range,” and that made our meeting even more serendipitous. Rare to Uncommon brings a smile, for that 6 hour or so drive west from Pittsburgh, for such moments, made sense, much sense.

Studying the rich play of color on this left hindwing, I think of the subtle beauty it displays, those tiny eyes, shining as little spotlights, the jagged lines that enable us to differentiate this butterfly from the closely related Appalachian Brown butterfly, the rich hues of brown that I’m on record as . . . loving and the good capture of the head, legs and antennae.

The beauty of an eyed brown, a fresh eyed brown.

Jeff