Goal Achieved? Yes, June, 2015! New Goals?

Full dorsal view of Regal Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Fort Indiantown Gap Military Reservation, PA

I wanted to photograph these Regal fritillary butterflies for some 17 years or so. Never found anyone who would steer me to them. Than in the Spring of ’15, someone on Facebook noted that they were headed to the 4-day Monitored Tour of the Ft. Indiantown Gap Military Reserve near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I spoke up, found out the details, and here you see my fun day there, guided by military post naturalists, to the huge meadows on the post. I remember the first moment that I saw them, busily moving from flowerhead to flowerhead. 17-year goal, achieved right there, and well, they are regal and beautiful, and they pose. They pose, as they patiently nectar at butterflyweed and common milkweed.

Now we are in the very beginning of my 3rd decade of seeking and photographing butterflies in the wild. I have improved my skills, but my goals are not much different. Finding and shooting new butterflies remains the challenge. This year, if necessary, I know that I can query Virginia, Mike, Rose, Jerry, Phil, Barbara Ann, Nancy and John and Angela for destinations sought. Others have become new Facebook friends, but either do not know rare butterfly habitat, or are not yet ready to share same. Sure I read about 7 of Robert Michael Pyle’s books, and how I relish having the networks of friends that he had/has.

I fly on March 28th to Israel, and plan to spends days away in the Golan mountains and the very upper Galilee region. I’ve had much less ‘luck’ there, never having been able to coax anyone to meet meet anywhere, at anytime. For those who have been visiting wingedbeauty.com for some time, know that when I have posted images of Israel ( read that HolyLand or Middle Eastern ) butterflies, it has been the fruit of sheer determination, field guide/map strategizing, and the mother of them all . . . Luck.

This year in the USA, my new goals include Diana fritillaries in the northern Georgia mountain ( with nary a single offer of where, when ), the Cofaqui giant skipper butterfly ( for me AKA the needle in the haystack butterfly ) and satyrs and alpines in northern Maine and Ontario ( w/o having found anyone to . . . . ). Place your $$$ on me meeting Diana, for I am determined to make their acquaintance.


Chrysalis Inquiry . . . Virginia?

Chrysalis, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

They schooled us at Ft Dix, New Jersey. The cadre kept up a constant drumbeat, ‘You’re going to ‘Nam!’ Though I had my BS degree safely in the vault, I at the time, never heard of this Viet Nam? Where was it, and why was I going there? So, when they instructed us in the best ways to look for the ‘enemy’ in the bush, I paid close attention, for they were also saying that in this ‘Nam, they were making chopped meat out of our troops. (Went from Dix to Ft Sill in Oklahoma for my 105 mm artillery training, and then at that last formation when they called out the Orders, it was him ‘Nam, him Germany, him ‘Nam, him Germany (which meant ‘Nam but after a short time) . . . and “Zablow, Return to Home Unit (155 mm towed).” The crazy 287 arty was never called up. It was filled with 1/2 crazy NYC cops & fully crazy NYC sanitation guys . . . and me . . . maybe the VCong pleaded with us to not send us, is a possibility).

So here I am in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat (Eatonton, Georgia), and its Summer ’16 and I am using those same techniques to not look for enemy, but for cooping butterflies in this very early morning light. Found some swell sleeping butterflies, especially those Eastern Black Swallowtails, featured in the panel at the top of your screen, ‘Jeff’s Earrings.’

Jackpot! too, when I locked onto this magnificent chrysalis. Now, this just makes me stare, and summons up my Biology degree background, and makes me think, Nice Job  Virginia C Linch! I mean, how do you wrap your understanding around such a miracle of life/engineering/survival/sculpture/design/ingenuity? And I get real religious when I find such as this. My former snarky New York City/NY Metropolitan area friends, many of whom believed that their huge $uccess was due solely to their own worthiness, are perhaps too early dismissive of the wonder of such as this chrysalis.

Now at this time I’m supposed to share my ID of this butterfly species. Truth be told, I am no authority as to chrysalis identification. So, out goes the call to Virginia?


Gulfing? or Golfing?

Gulf fritillary butterfly on Tithonia, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Kathleen, GA

When you share your image of a Gulf fritillary butterfly, I come closer to the screen of my iMac, all 27″ of it. I want to see how well you did. That because I know how difficult that challenge was. Gulf fritillaries fly fast, fool you when you try to predict where they are headed to, don’t linger long on a flower, are very wary of approach when they rest on a leaf, all the time leaving upon your approach.

That said, it becomes very difficult to score a fine image of a Gulf frit. When I see your post, I know it was not easy to capture, and I study your image, wanting to see if it boasts several important features of this very pretty butterfly.

This one was enjoying the nectar produced by this Tithonia (Mexican sunflower). We were at the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia. If you are reading this in Beijing or Sao Paolo, Eatonton is in the American Southeast, just east of the great American city of Atlanta.

The Gulf frit features I look for are: good look at an eye, proboscis nicely defined, head with its antennae, wing detail (this look pleases me with its rich left-wing detail and teasing look at the right ventral wing surface) and whether or not the wing color is broadcast out to you, with the same color as we see in the field.

I’ve just began reading Washington’s Crossing by David Hackett Fischer (Oxford University Press). I’m hesitant to share, but though I’m not yet well into it, I realize that all my life, obstacles aplenty, I’ve sought to be the kind of man that Washington understood. I have no doubt he would understand why I emulate Popeye that sailor man, why I can readily enjoy this book, and why I’m out Gulfing and not Golfing.


Love Me Tender in the Briar Patch

Gulf Fritillary butterflies flirting, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

Dozens. I’d seen dozens of Gulf Fritillary butterflies in the Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat, in 2016. Maybe more than dozens. Maybe hundreds. If the sun shone, as it is almost always, there Gulf frits are flying and nectaring and males scouring, scouring all corners for likely females.

I’ve seen males approach females, too many times to count. I don’t recall ever seeing one of those males ever receiving the time of day from a female. I would wonder about that. Gulf frits are very numerous in the Eatonton, Georgia oasis for butterflies, so there was no concern for the future, Gulf frits would fly, but how, when, why and where did they consummate their mission: to produce progeny?

This answered many of my theories. I noticed these 2, in an area of mixed perennials and native grasses and plants. They were almost motionless, facing one another, all movement passive and gentle.  They remained there for at lease 5 minutes. It was I who left, left them where they were. You’ve got to know that this fascinated, and continues to fascinate me. We are sort of blowhards, for we boast of All that we know, yet . . . at the same time there is much going on, at our feet, that we know little about.

Wasn’t it Elvis (Presley) who embedded Love Me Tender deep into my brain, to remain there, sweetly? This little vignette of a photo evokes those aromatic lines in my mind. Capisci?