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.


Who’s For You?

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

As the dialogue continues, with my new friend from the other side of this world (Sri Lanka) I find my mind aboil with interesting questions. This new acolyte to butterfly questing has thrown several questions at me, questions that only someone fresh to this field of interest might ask.

Reluctant to overwhelm new enthusiasts, I struggled to limit my ‘constructive criticism’ of her image shares to one or two possibles. Yesterday I urged that she work all of the butterflies that she has seen and choose just one, and shoot it out, and make herself a moderate expert on that one, and own that right to discuss it, after a body of serious field time observing it.

Well, since that share, all of these thoughts have been springing out in my mind. This image here, of an Appalachian Brown satyr, derives from several earlier discussions popped on Some of them go all the way back to those certain stores on Madison Avenue in NYNY in the 1980’s, when I had the grease to go into men’s clothing stores and come out with brown fedoras and brown (Oh, so chocolate brown) shoes.

Past the 2 decade mark, I now know that the majority of visitors here will give short shrift (i.e., spend little time viewing) a post we might make here of a brown butterfly, or of a skipper butterfly. Monarch? Heavy traffic. Gorgeous fresh Eastern Black Swallowtail? Heavy traffic. A Mourning Cloak in full regalia? Good traffic.

This sweet look snapped in Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge in middle Georgia, USA, with its really likable ‘eyes?’ Well I shall only expect light to moderate traffic, for many very, very prized visitors and friends just don’t get whooed by browns.

So friends, if you’re really in it for them all, then go ahead and share the browns, for they are most certainly G-d’s creatures. Do though, anticipate that traffic will be . . .


Turkish Meadow Brown & The U.N.

Turkish meadow brown butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Jerusalem, Israel

Unless I qualify what and where, to you, this image of a Turkish Meadow Brown butterfly, is well, forgettable. Better get straight to it. In 2009, Miriam and I flew to Israel to attend my Rachel’s wedding, Uri her husband to be.

We spent several days in a Fantastic flat, so unbelievable, for when you looked out the living room window, you were . . . looking straight at the Kotel, the Western Wall, remnant of the Second Temple. Head down the front stairs, walk across the walkway, stop and the Security post, descend the stone stairs (all is made of stone), and your are in the enormous courtyard of the Kotel.

Those 4 days kept nagging at me. I had my camera with me, as well as my Fuji Velvia slide film (ASA’s 50 & 100). Were there butterflies in the Old City of Jerusalem? Morning #1 I descended those same stairs, and turned right this time. A very short walk, and there was a small, largely neglected city park. The park had shrubbery, neglected, but some of the shrubbery was in flower. Butterflies! There were lots of tiny blues. As I worked the other corners of the park, I happened on larger butterflies. This Turkish Meadow Brown butterfly repeatedly flew about the stone pavement. Stone slabs that may be 400 or 600 or 900 years old. I persisted, it eluded me, I persisted, and share here the best of them.

Now today, January 3, 2017! we look here and see the absolute mess that is the United Nations. This reprehensible body, has, for its own vile reasons, and led by the United States of America, voted that the home of the Jews for thousands of years, does not belong to the Jews at all. They voted that it belongs to others. They voted that this Turkish Meadow butterfly flies on a fictional land, peopled by folks whose grandparent came there after 1945. The U.N. and the U.S. worked to insure that the Old City of Jerusalem, and its extensively recorded history, actually must be gifted to a new, created people, totally in contradiction to History. Doubt this? Read From Time Immemorial by Joan Peters, before you accept the lies being offered to you.

A casual photo of a Middle Eastern Butterfly, in the middle of Old Jerusalem, a 4-minute walk from Jewish homes, a 8-minute walk from the Kotel, the site of fierce, bloody battles in 1967, and 40 feet from thick stone walls, on the other side of which is Arab Jerusalem.

No explaining all this to this sweet chocolate brown jem of a winged beauty. Its ancestors have flown here for tens of thousands of years??

Yes, I know some may find this post edgy . . . but you know, We have had enough, are sick of being bullied, and enough is enough. I love Turkish Browns, and I love those of you who understand and/or worry for all the peoples trying to live there, in . . .Peace. Will 2017 . . . ?

Jeff…who again went . . . Long

Brown Argus Butterfly (Upper Galilee)

Polyommatus Icarus butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mt. Meron, Israel

After a magical morning on that trail on the upper slope of Mt. Meron, the morning heat combined with that 6:30 A.M. start, were starting to impact me. The frustration of seeing Two-tailed Pashas, and failing to get anywhere near enough to photograph them . . . weighed on me. 7,000 miles of travel, second year trying, equaled a bit of frustration. Don’t I usually get what I’m trying to get?

So I began working my way back on the trail. It was not easy going, with the trail littered with branches of Eastern Strawberry Trees, blasted from their trunks during an especially violent week of winter storms.

The thing is, you know when you search for butterflies, or owls, or terns, or bear, or snakes, that you see what you see. You can only be where you are at the moment, only at one place at a time. If your sought after butterfly happened to be flying where you are not, well what can you do?

This time though, there was an especially strong stand of wildflowers near the trailhead, maybe 30 yards from the end of the trail. There were many very small butterflies flying to those wildflowers, butterflies I’d photographed to my satisfaction. Suddenly . . . Whoa! what was this tiny beauty that flew from the surrounding botany onto a tiny flower? Something new and different. I approached. I followed my Technique protocol. Pop! pop, pop, pop, exposure after exposure. Good, he was kind to me and continued to eat nectar. The Brown Argus (Aricia Agestis). A protected butterfly, uncommon and a very good find. Nice.


She Lowered Her Guard. . . .

Maniola Telmessia (female) photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mt. Meron, Israel

This is the way it is when you pursue wild beings. They are super attentive to any approach, and sustain that level of high alert. Experience has taught me to wait. Sometimes, sometimes that suspicion slips, especially when attractive nourishment is there.

This Turkish Meadow Brown butterfly (Maniola telmessia) flew to this tiny, but abundant wildflower. She began to sip nectar, with her wings closed. Turkish meadow brown butterflies rarely open their wings for you. Friends who follow know that I rank this one high on my list of Favorites. They are beautiful. Dozens of images of them, yet still going for a shot with wings open, with that dorsal surface and its Daddah! spot awash in yellow, orange & black.

So I waited. She nectared. Then, OMG! She opened her wings. You know, I am currently reading a biography of Roger Tory Peterson. I respectfully share that Peterson, Pyle, Fisher, Destrade, Nabokov, Linch, Kaufman, Malone and I all enjoy such moments. Moments when especially beautiful creatures shine. They just shine. Sparkle!

She lowered her guard, revealing that shmeksy! left upper wing. The morning sunlight, on the slope of Mt. Meron (Israel), kissed her wing, and here it is, my best shot!