Thanksgiving Day Approaches and It’s On My Mind

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

Less than a handful of days away, Thanksgiving is in the USA. It’s a day for us Americans to think of all that we are Blessed with, and for us here in the States to gather family (COVID-19 precautions considered) and revel in all that we have, in the good health that most enjoy, and to sit there and smile, as we watch the youngsters, year after year, preparing to take their turn in life.

Our table will be not quite that, but Thankful? I am very, very Thankful. I am happy, so very happy. We enjoy this home we’ve moved to in North Macon, those .68 acres, steadily filling with Georgia native plants and do you believe it? Today, November 23rd we enjoyed Zebra Longwing and Cloudless Sulphur butterflies. Back in Pittsburgh, that first week of September was almost always the Bye Bye week for seeing butterflies.

On my mind, adding to my euphoria, the hope of seeing total, abject beauty, as you see here in Lynx Prairie Reserve in Adams County, Ohio. The Butterflyweed (a Milkweed species) lush and richly colored. The Zebra Swallowtail butterfly? Mama Mia! The Edwards Hairstreak butterfly, tiny, yet elegant. The background in this image? Oh how I long to return again to this botany wonderland! 2021!

Jeff, sharing of Thanksgiving thoughts.

Jeff

That ‘Locally Rare’ Hairstreak (“Gimme An M!”)

White M Hairstreak butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow in Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

These years of seeing thousands of Facebook butterfly posts, kind of jades you to images of the butterflies that y’all post the most. There are butterflies that few post, year in and year out. Those are the butterflies that you and I most search for.

Here’s one that I have only seen 2 or 3 times. This hairstreak is seen alone, never with similar White-M Hairstreaks nearby. It is a bit larger than some other hairstreaks. My own experience is that it favors Goldenrod blooms, just as you see it nectaring on a Goldenrod (Solidago) flowerhead.

If, if it does the rare thing, and moves its wings slightly, your mind goes BOOM! for that lets you see the iridescent deep blue dorsal (top) surface of the wings. Even for that 3/4 of a second, you soon move on, ecstatic, for you realize you have an image of that incredible moment, for what? the rest of your life?

We’re here at Raccoon Creek State Park, in Doak Meadow, in late August. Do I recommend that western Pennsylvania state park? 100% for butterflies, for I’d seen more (way more) than 50 species there, including Goatweed Leafwing, Compton Tortoiseshell, Orange-barred Sulphur, Meadown Fritillary, Coral Hairstreak . . . .

Jeff

‘I’m Sitting On Top Of The World’ Gray

Gray Hairstreak photographed by Jeff Zablow at Fort Federica, Saint Simons Island, GA

Apply lyrics to this relaxing image? ‘I’m Sitting On Top Of The World, I’m Rolling Along, I’m Rolling Along.’ This is my choice.

Imagine being a beautiful Gray Hairstreak, living on the site of Fort Federica on tony St.Simons Island on the Georgia coast. Not a care in the world (it would seem).

Jeff

Deudorix Livia Seen in Ein Gedi

Deudorix Livia Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in Binyamina, Israel

I’ve only seen Deudorix Livia once, in the Biblical place known as Ein Gedi. the Dead Sea is within sight of Ein Gedi. Meeting D. Livia pleased me. His black spots show well here, as do his set of ‘tails.’ He also reveals a tiny bit of his dorsal (upper surface) burnt orange color, a color I like alot.

A hairstreak butterfly that flies all year in the HolyLand, Israel, yet is never seen in any appreciable numbers. One of those butterflies that can be seen throughout Israel, but is uncommon . . . everywhere.

To see him, I took a train from Binyamina to Ber Sheva University South, then took a bus ride, a long bus ride, through a decidedly hostile region, until finally, finally the Dead Sea came into sight, and my bus descended from the high plateau we’d been driving through, to the very, very, very low land that the Dead Sea rests in.

As before, I am pleased to have found so many Israeli butterflies, just as King David, Jesus and Joshua did, then.

Jeff

I’ve Seen 2. You?

ZablowButt_First60-30BlgPht

My best meeting with a Striped Hairstreak (Satryium liparops) took place a very long time ago. I was looking through a small ‘butterfly garden’ at the old HQ of the Powdermill  Reserve Refuge in Rector, Pennsylvania. The refuge was in the lush, sylvan hilly country known as the Laurel Highlands, with Ligonier nearby. This region gets heavy tourism, what with Frank Lloyd Wright’s world-renowned Fallingwater, down the road in Mill Run and the very lush Bear Run Reserve across the road.

There, stationed on a leaf, I met this Striped Hairstreak. It was fresh, intricate and plain gorgeous. I shot away, it remained in place, moving only slightly in the next minutes! I tell you I kept marveling at how G-d had Created so much, including this tiny beauty.

Glassberg’s A Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America cites the Striped Hairstreak as “R-U” (Rare -Uncommon), with “one rarely encounters large numbers.”  Several years later I did get (for the first and only time in my life) banned from Powdermill, preventing me from much returning to that bountiful Reserve to perhaps again meet a Striped.

So, I’ve seen 2 Stripeds in my time. How many have you seen?

Jeff