Vegas Says You’ll Never Meet This One

Dorsal View of Bog Copper Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Allenberg Bog in New York

Jeff sooo wanted to meet up with Bog Copper (Lycaena epixanthe) butterflies. Barbara Ann shared that there was a little known, almost never visited bog near her home, Allenberg Bog, in very western New York State. We agreed that Allenberg may have Bog Coppers, if we go during their very brief ‘flight.’

When to go? They only fly when their hostplant, cranberries, are going into flower.

The opportunity to finally meet this rare butterfly, found only in cranberry bogs in New York, New England, Michigan and Minnesota, was too sweet to pass up.

We followed a very overgrown trail, from where we parked on the side of the road, and after several wrong readings of almost non-existent trail markers, there was Allenberg Bog, replete with Pitcher Plants and Sundew Plants in bloom. The tiny bog cranberries were also in bloom, and there were the Bog Coppers, they something past the mid-point of their brief flight.

Here is a Bog Copper, perched on Cranberry leaf. She was adorable, and I had met, and shot Bog Coppers. Not need to mention how I almost sunk down toooo deep into that unfathomable bog’s depth.

You? Vegas passes on that Your chance of seeing one, at the rate you’re going is 726 to 1.

Jeff

 

Coppers In The Galilee (Really)

Lycaena Phlaeas butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Nahal Dishon National Park, Upper Galilee, Israel

We have many wingedbeauty Followers who love to see posts of butterflies in the HolyLand (Israel). I am happy to share some, for photographing in the pristine, almost unspoiled wilds of the Upper Galilee, Golan and the Golan’s Mt. Hermon, is thrilling, truth be told. To think that They walked these same ancient trails, and stopped to examine/admire the same butterflies, is very sobering, very profound.

So it was here, an encounter with this male Lycaena phlaeas timeus, a copper, met in Nahal Dishon National Park in the very Upper Galilee. He’s very vivid in color and marking, and he sports those classy blue spots, seen on the outer margin of his hindwing.

Photographing butterflies in the Galilee and the Upper Golan, wild, you don’t see anyone for hours. You’ve never done that yet, have you?

Not showing off, just stating the facts, M’am.

Jeff

What Do You Want?

Copper Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Neve Ativ, Israel

A friend and butterfly photographer suggested today that I consider revamping my blog goals, and begin chronicling where and when you and I see butterflies, west of the Mississippi River. She pointed out that audiences change and people seek new formats and new sharing.

I chewed on that for some time after. The suggestion went on to ask me to think about becoming more involved with butterfly groups and their web sites. And more. Provocative stuff that. True enough that when we began wingedbeauty.com, we had fewer than 30 “Followers” and we now boast several hundred. I do sometimes recall some early followers, who no longer come and see what we share. Many of the newer followers do not seek to interact or pursue discussion with me, their visits are shorter and I’m not so sure I know what that means.

So, what do you want here? I can tell you that I responded to her at length, with some of my early and ongoing goals. I started photographing butterflies seriously, some 25 years ago. From that time forward, my primary goals were to score and share images of butterflies that were more pleasing to the eye than the photos in the best of the butterfly field guides. I am pleased that I have realized that goal, many times.

I wanted to bring photos of butterflies to people who might not otherwise ever see them, and I really really wanted my captures to look just like the butterflies do in real time, in the field. I spend hundreds of hours each year in wild habitat, and my eyes know what they looked like when I found them. That is the primary reason that I shoot film, Fuji Velvia slide film, ASAS 50 mostly. The color is so true.

My most critical goal is to remind. Remind y’all that the beauty of a fresh butterfly, like this one, met in a meadow bordering the Neve Ativ village, on the slope of mighty Mt. Hermon in the Israeli Golan, far exceeds the best craftsmanship ever to come out of the workshops of Cartier, Tiffany, Van Cleef & Arpels . . .

G-d fashions these winged beauties, and H-s work is exquisite.

So, then, what do you want when you pay us your visit?

Jeff

Shooting Coppers

Lycaena Thersamon Butterfly Nectaring photographed by Jeff Zablow at Neve Ativ, Israel

No, not those coppers back in New York, Jersey, Boston or Chicago. These Coppers, Lycaena Thersamon, fly in Israel. This one is probably the most common Copper in that Part of the HolyLand.

She was in a field, surrounding a village on the slope of Mt. Hermon. There were dozens of them those mornings in March, and she was one of the most stunning of them all.

I have a fondness for Copper butterflies. I’m especially taken by that rich burnt copper hue, and how it plays against the black spots and wing margins.

Israel has 4 HolyLand Coppers, I’ve seen 2 of them. I’d love to return to the peak of Mt. Hermon and find the other 2, they rare and ‘Protected.’ That will have to wait, the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) are up there on the top of Mt. Hermon, and have been there for the last handful or so of years, protecting Israel from the carnage that has been going on on the other side, the Syrian side of this 7,000 foot tall mountain.

Jeff

No One Forgets A Bog

Barbara Ann photographed by Jeff Zablow near Allenberg Bog, NY

You have never been in an acid bog. Only 0.03% of us have set foot in these surreal places. Why have so few visited such a sphagnum moss bog? Most of them have been destroyed in the last 200 years. Those that remain are few, far from where we live, and their owners include many organizations that fiercely protect them, by keeping their existence mostly secret, and by not encouraging us to visit them.

Barbara Ann is seen here in Allenberg Bog, a remote sphagnum moss (acid) bog in very western New York. Owned by the Buffalo Audubon Society, it remains very difficult to reach, hidden at the end of an. obscure, poorly marked and challenging trail. Owners of acid bogs own them for good reason: they want to protect them for perpetuity, especially from those who destroy, collect specimens without permission and litter.

Such bogs are heavily acidified over thousands of years, and feature flora and fauna that seek such an extraordinary environment: pitcher plants, cranberry plants, sun dew, Bog Fritillary butterflies and Bog Copper butterflies.

Each step you take in a bog requires that you work, work hard to extricate your boots so you can take the next step, and again sink down 2″ – 4″ in the standing bog water. You usually sink no further, for the ageless sphagnum ‘mat’ just below the surface usually  supports you. One time, at this very same Allenberg Bog, we got a scare, as I crouched to photograph a Bog Copper butterfly, and I began to sink, slowly, but down, down, down!! I will never go to such a bog alone, again, and I will not enter such a bog without a partner and a rope!

Know this, you experience a very calming sensation there, as if you have peacefully reached an interplanetary body, covered with strange plants and strange wildlife. Those thousands of steps you take, each a struggle with the bog’s pull on you, leave your calves exhausted . . . but the butterflies you see there, you’ve never seen before, and likely, will never see them again.

Try to go to an acid bog one day, and really try to get someone like Barbara Ann to go too. Knowledgeable, patient and experienced.

Jeff