The 1,000th Gulf Frit

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

Several hundred. That’s about how many Gulf fritillaries I saw in 2017. The same could be said for 2016 and for 2015. I go all the way back to about 1997, when I saw my first Gulf. I’m in the Outdoor Gardens of the Phipps Conservatory smack in the middle of Schenley Park, one of Pittsburgh’s huge city parks. I see it nectaring on one the cultivars, they massed in sizable beds. That was about 21 years ago. ? ? ?

Jeffrey Glassberg has photos of Gulf’s on the front cover and on the back cover of his hot-selling A Swift Guide To Butterflies of North America. Does that not underline how attention getting they are?

This year treat me to at least my 1,000th Gulft fritillary. I have a number of nice images stored in my slide cabinet. Am I finished with Gulfs?

I know that’s a “No.” When a Gulf fritillary flies in, my peripheral vision does a 1/500 of a second scan of its freshness, coloration, wing condition and general vigor. That’s the juice of this wingedbeauty post. Yes, I have some Fine Gulf images . . . but, I am motivated, motivated to improve on them, with a fresher Gulf, sporting knockout white spots on the upper forewings, an almost explosive orange hue, silver spots on the lower hindwing reflecting mega photons of sunlight, a handsome head, sporty antennae and all that in good pose on a likable flowerhead.

So as not to embarrass other butterfly species, I can’t say that I go so readily to ‘battle stations ‘ when most butterflies enter my periphery.

This is a stunning beast, the Gulf fritillary. How do you find them? By visiting a good garden nursery, setting passionflowers into your garden, and some weeks later: Your first Gulf! If she is kind enough to lay eggs on your passion vine, Whoopee!

Kathleen, Georgia, at Mike’s amazing lot.


“The Most Dangerous Place . . . . “

Cow Grazing on Mt. Hermon photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mt. Hermon, Israel

Chilling. I just read that this serene, picturesque landscape is no more. I was there in June of 2008. Frieda A”H passed away in January of 2008. Rachel left her SEC job that same month, and emigrated to Israel. She joined a large CPA firm there, in Tel Aviv. I visited to see her, see family there, and find rare butterflies on the peak of Mt. Hermon. At the northernmost extreme of the Golan Region, Mt. Hermon boasts as many sas 12 species of butterflies that can be found nowhere else in the world.

I hired Eran Banker, a guide, and off we went. Rode the cable car up to the top, a HuGe show of guts, for I am very uncomfortable with heights, and 7,000 feet is very, very high. Eran is a big man, and he lugged liters of water for us up there, in sun 100% of the time, temperatures in the low 90’s, and drier than dry.

We found some of those very rare butterflies, many of those images shared here in posts. Eran gave me a heads-up when he called me over, and showed me a very scary looking land mine, in an area on the peak that I was working, in my search for butterflies. Chilling! Waiting since the Six Day War for?

We also saw cattle browsing on the peak, cattle owned by Syrians at the base of the northern side of Hermon. This hefty bovine is calmly seeking desirables amid the rock strewn peak. Huh? I looked at them, they looked at us, and went on munching.

The background you see is Syria. Minutes before I began this post, I read that it’s brimming with Syrian army and irregulars, Syrian rebels, Iranian army regular, Iranian irregulars, Russian advisors and technicians (and ?), Hezbollah terrorists, North Korean technical advisors, Pakistani technical advisors, U.S. technical advisors and special forces and who know who else, is “the most dangerous place in the world” now.

2008 and my search for butterflies on Mt. Hermon. 2018 and war, across the very same arid land that you and this cow can see. Will this merit your Comment?


Great Spangled Fritillary on a Bulging Flowerhead

Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly on Common Milkweed II photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie Reserve, Ohio

For many, this pleasing view will bring memories of meadows, roadsides, home gardens, Botanical gardens and bucolic small USA farms, with Asclepias syriaca plentiful amongst and about rows of healthy corn.

We are ripping to hike those late June, July trails, headed to stands of Common milkweed, Teasel, Butterflyweed and Dogbane. When will we reach those bulging flowerheads, with a fresh Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly, like this one, methodically working the dozens of individual flowers, for sugary nectar, mixed with a cocktail of proteins, dissolved pollen, and numerous other nutrients?

Where was Jeff when he set his eyes on this truly American fritillary. Kamamama Prairie Reserve in Adams County, Ohio. Same old story here. Jeff already has good images of Great Spangleds, but this photograph was so necessary to take!

Necessary? It was Late June, 2017. For all the yelling, screaming, marching, whining– here we were in Real Time. Real Time? Yep. For all the background media noise, here it is, proof positive. Halt the ‘dozers.’ Conserve the Land. Then, those wise enough to make the trip, will be treated to joy, peace, tranquility, connection to H-s beauty.

There was a time in my life when I managed apartment buildings in NYNY. I had hundreds of tenants who desperately needed to spend time such amidst the Great Spangleds and Milkweed. Sadder than dirt, for most of those hundreds of people had no idea that the remedy for their isolation, fear, depression, neurosis was not too very far away. Most of them suffered one depravation or another. Butterflies and Blooms is the best, nearly reachable medicine, in Eatonton Georgia.

Jeff, no need of a License to dispense here.


Love Me Tender in the Briar Patch

Frigid Outside? How We Long For Such Discoveries!

Winged Beauty Butterflies

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…

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