2 Lower Rio Grande Valley Female LunchGoers

Pavon Emperor Butterfly on the left and Queen Butterfly on the right photographed by Jeff Zablow at Bensten State Park, Mission, TX

It was lunchtime at Bensten-Rio Grande State Park in the LRGV (Lower Rio Grande Valley) of Texas, a handful of miles from the Mexican border. John beckoned me over to see a butterfly I’d never seen before. Those 5 days, Christmas Week, were . . . amazing. In New York, in Pittsburgh and in Georgia, the last week of December? Zero butterflies. Here in the LRGV, many, many butterflies, with many rare and not often seen, or nearly never seen.

Looked up into that tree, and Bingo!! John had been there before, and he’d seen the butterfly on the left/center, a female Pavon Emperor. And lookee there, on the upper right, a feasting female Queen butterfly.

I’ve now met 4 Emperor butterflies: the Hackberry Emperor, the Tawny Emperor, the Empress Leila and now the Pavon Emperor.

Christmas week in the LRGV? Oh My Goodness! Sunny and in the high 80’s Fahrenheit, and what, thousands of butterflies?

Jeff

The Finest Tawny Emperor?

Tawny Hackberry butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Decades of searching for butterflies, and by now I’ve seen a lot. I remember many of those encounters, and this meet-up continues to be among my favorites.

Why does one of 50 trips to find and shoot butterflies stand out in one’s mind? When I came upon this Tawny Emperor butterfly, very early on a Raccoon Creek State Park morning, I was stunned. I do not exaggerate. This butterfly, basking in that early morning sun, was so so very handsome looking, with its complex wing markings and seemingly over-sized wings.

Tawnys are not very common. Hackberry Emperor Butterflies are much more common. I have written of this encounter here, before. It moved me, much. I realized that I was shooting my 50+ exposures, working to capture one of the finest Tawny Emperors ever!

This very image adorns our dining room wall. It so reminds me of the beauty that G-d creates, for us to note, and acknowledge.

Jeff

Marcie and the Tawny

Tawny Hackberry butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Marcie’s Facebook shared today was bubbling with excitement! There it was, the first Tawny Emperor butterfly that she ever saw in her active South Carolina garden. She had a beauty of a Tawny, and I made sure to stoke her enthusiasm, or at least hope I did. That led me to remembering Caron’s request last week. She asked that I, having seen her 5 ‘favorite’ images, come back with my 5 favs.

When Marcie offered up her Tawny, I realized that I too had a Tawny Emperor image that I loved, and that might well have been included in Jeff’s 5 favorites images.

This is it. When I saw this other worldly magnificent, it was resting in the weak sun of the early morning, on a trail marker post. I’d never seen one before, and me? I thought this was one of the most beautiful creatures I’d ever seen. I shot away, and maybe some 45 exposures later (film) have forever since loved this one.

It rests, well framed (museum glass) on the wall at the dining room table. I secured hand written calligraphy, done by a well remembered, and widely revered Rabbi. At my urging, in a beautiful Hebrew hand, he wrote a thought taken from the morning prayers, roughly meaning ‘How beautiful are G-d’s creations.’

Found wherever there’s a hackberry trees nearby, from New Hampshire to Florida, from Arizona to Wisconsin, give or take.

When I was flourishing in real estate in the ’80’s, I Loved to shop in upscale men’s stores in NYNY, and my favorites were brown hats, suits and brown shoes.

I have a real fondness for this image. Marcie and Caron evoked that, they did.

Jeff

8 Out of 6,000 Get to See a Pavon Emperor Butterfly

Pavon Emperor Butterfly on the left and Queen Butterfly on the right photographed by Jeff Zablow at Bensten State Park, Mission, TX

December 2017, and I am finally at Bensten State Park in Mission Texas. Just some two miles or less from the infamous Mexican border. We’d been seeing rare, exquisite butterflies every day now. I am so thankful for this exciting tour of G-d’s Special WingedBeauty Collection.

A busy State Park, perhaps 300 or more people visit on any sunny day. It’s 80F plus in December!.

John has eagle eyes, and motioned for me to look up into a tree off the path. What? What’s that John? A Pavon Emperor Butterfly, seen here in the left margin of this image. She was lazily nectaring on those tree flowers.

Maybe, just maybe one Pavon Emperor is seen there, a month. Some 8 or fewer folks might note it, and stop to stare and gawk.

Jeff, flew some 1,500 miles to see butterflies, and saw one that only 8 of 6,000 might see in a month! Yippee!

Jeff