Zebra, Lynx & Edwards With Weed

Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly and Edwards Hairstreak on Butterflyweed photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie Reserve, Ohio

I was still kind of stunned to be in prairie . . . in Ohio! Somehow, through good fortune and the wisdom of folks who fought to protect Lynx Prairie Preserve, this very, very unique eastern prairie has been preserved, for all to enjoy. Fortunately, most don’t visit there; they are lost to the allure of asphalt, brick, concrete, steel, neon and such. Me? I grew up with that stuff, asphalt, concrete, brick. Following Angela, Joe, Barbara Ann and Janet into  a prairie? Words can’t be summoned to properly describe how happy I was to finally see my, my prairie.

I’m telling you it was lush. June 2017, and an open prairie full of wildflowers. Full too with butterflies! My beat. Butterflies.

Here, very healthy Butterflyweed is deep in that comely shade of orangish-red, and must surely be pumping sugary nectar like a micro-gusher. In came this Zebra swallowtail butterfly, joining an Oh! so fine Edward Hairstreak, all on the Lynx. They are doing weed as is appropriate.

Jeff

Edward Hairstreak at Lynx

Edwards Hairstreak photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie Reserve, Ohio

What makes you go all gaga? OK. That’s you. Me, it’s meeting a new butterfly for the very first time. All stops. Everything around me slips back into the margins of my existence. My eyes are US Airforce locked on this brand new, gossamer-winged wonder.

These words are about the best I can do at to the moment. It’s this rapture that I think, to respond to those who ask why I pursue and photograph butterflies as I do. Family, friends and most acquaintances avoid the subject, even when it’d be natural to mention it. They, I believe, can’t wrap their heads around the Why? of it. Collect antique cars? Sure, they get that. Raise mushrooms, unique one, OK, a bit out there, but you can eat some of them, no? Restore collectible old boats and cars? No doubt about that. Magazines Love to find and write of such men (isn’t it always men?) and, you can $ell them easily, once you tire of a particular one. But search for and attempt to score superior images of butterflies? Well, I guess that it gives you . . .

It sure does. I’ve grown up on the street of NYC, earned my BS, served in the NYARNG (and after OCS, commanded men in uniform), taught in Big NYC high schools, served as a Dean (for misbehavior, like guns, knives, gangs, fights), had a taste of NYNY real estate, and often carried cold steel folded nicely in my pants pocket. I’ve seen and I’ve done. I savor life, beauty, botany and animals, especially butterflies. Me.

When Angela and Joe and Barbara Ann and Jeff entered Lynx Prairie Preserve, the prairie set all my sensory systems abuzz! What were those tiny butterflies that were active at the abundant butterflyweed? This very same Edwards Hairstreak butterfly. A good sized flight of Satyrium edwardsii. Tiny, fresh and just delicious to these eyes. Right where they should be, nectaring in a bonafide prairie, close by the oaks that serve as their hostplants. I can’t quantify how Happy!! I was that morning. Happy Jeff, Thankful that I met these wonderful, patient, giving friends, and Thankful for the opportunity to meet this Sweet! Sweet! gift from G-d.

How many understand this here Jeff. Well, not a whole lot. Treasure those who do. I think.

Jeff

 

Brunching With Edwards’

Edwards Hairstreak on Butterflyweed photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie, Ohio

Funny that. You are encouraged, for months, by new friends in Ohio . . . that there will surely be butterflies in those Ohio prairies that are new for you, lifers as some call them. The arrangements are made, cabins reserved, days calendared, and that June 2017 day arrives.

The drive to Dayton, Ohio and not a single wrong turn, not that fancy computerized stuff, but printed directions from Google Directions. Cedar bog and more, Showy orchids don’t disappoint, and then the drive down to south-central Ohio, Adams County. Angela has been touting Adams as a nature bazaar, and I’m the whole time trying not to be too excited. How can Adams County, Ohio be as good as she suggests it will be.

Easy! With beautiful June days, Adams County totally delivered. Lynx Prairie and Kamama Prairie, both wildlife reserves, were stunning! Just stunning!

It’s a Hit! when you see a butterfly all new to you, and then you see more and more of them, as here, Jeff buzzed! with Butterflyweed ( an Asclepias milkweed ) covered with a fresh flight of Edwards Hairstreaks. Sweet colors that douse your eyes with beauty! These hairstreaks worked the flowerhead methodically, and courteously allowed my approach, and presence. Angela delivers, for sure.

Jeff

Edwards Hairstreak Hello

Edwards Hairstreak Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie, OH

Angela kept touting the bounty of Adams County, in southern Ohio. Friends of mine were already planning to make that trip, in late June. Nancy and John would be coming from the Georgia coast. Barbara Ann from Frewsburg, New York. How could I resist Angela’s offer of prairies, butterflies, orchids, fens, meadows?

I drove to Dayton, Ohio from Pittsburgh, and  rendezvoused with most of the group. Cedar Bog did not disappoint. Showy Orchids, the first I’d ever seen. Big, big and exquisite they were. Just gorgeous.

We then drove down, Petra too, to Adams County and a cabin at Shawnee State Park. Others, Flower, Joe , Jane and Dave arrived, and we were a group heavy with field experience, especially schooled in butterflies, orchids,  native wildflowers, moths and more.

Lynx Prairie took my breath away. Native prairie, with wildflowers in full regalia,  coneflowers and butterflyweed in abundance. And on those butterflyweed flowerheads, Edwards Hairstreaks! Lots of Edwards. A sizable flight of them. I can’t remember ever having met this hairstreak before.

Look at this sweetie. You like?

Jeff