The Clint Eastwood Metalmark

Northern Metalmark Butterfly at rest photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie, OH

Ohio turned out to be a Goldmine for butterflies. I drove there from neighboring Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, knowing that Angela and Barbara Ann would find orchids, and that would mean that I’d find . . . butterflies. I had no idea that we’d meet Dave and Joe and Flower and Deb and others, that meaning that our chances of success rose exponentially!

When my incurable roaming caused me to be separated from them in Lynx Prairie Refuge in Adams County (very southern Ohio), I thought that morning was going to be a bust for me.

That never happened. My solitary hiking brought me into a magical prairie/meadow, and there I had a Clint Eastwood, Make My Day! experience. In that prairie meadow I found rare Northern Metalmark Butterflies. I treasure metalmarks, and appreciate that any of their species are local, short of flight period and hard to find. Yippee!

Here’s one of them, a fresh Northern Metalmark Butterfly, hard to find, ‘Locally Rare’ (Glassberg, A Swift Guide to Butterflies) and spectacular, especially when the sun bounces off their incredible metallic streaky lines on their hindwings.

The right time, right place and right friends!

Jeff

Who Knew Such Existed?

Northern Metalmark Butterfly at rest photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie, OH

Often I reflect back to my upbringing, in the East Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York (New York city). We lived on the edge of decades of development, with just a few undeveloped ‘lots’ near our house. That’s where I searched. We saw a few butterflies, some darners and several species of birds.

Those ‘lots’ are now all gone. I’ve grown, and live in central Georgia.

The dearth of beauty that we saw during my childhood is stunning. When I meet those 6′ 4″ farmers here and there nowadays, I end up telling them. “You have no idea how lucky you are.” The infinite beauty that they enjoyed. incredible.

Only in 2017 did I get to see this winged beauty, a Northern Metalmark butterfly, fresh and vital. I got separated from the others there, in Lynx Prairie Reserve, in very southern Ohio. I entered a sizable prairie, alone, and soon discovered a fresh flight of dozens of Northern Metalmarks. Dozens!

I spent hours (?) attempting to capture the sunlight, reflecting back from those metallic jagged lines.

Who knew such exquisite beauty existed?

Jeff

The Excitement Of A Fresh Flight

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

I’m struggling to count the number of times it has happened to me. How many times have I come up a finite area of habitat . . . with a fresh flight of butterflies aloft? That’s, how many times have I arrived at a destination, to find alot of butterflies, all of the same species, and all very recently eclosed (exited from their chrysalises)?

Magical Adams County, Ohio treated me with a double-header in June 2016. I waded into Lynx Prairie to gape at this Edward’s Hairstreak, spectacular in its reds, blues, gray, white and black as well as dozens of others, perhaps 40 Edward’s about. They were some resting as this one, while others were mobbing Butterflyweed and other wildflowers. I wanted a capture like this one, of the beauty of their Edward’s’ ventral hindwings. I am satisfied that this one accomplishes that.

I somehow managed to get separated from my friends that day. That is not the first time that has happened to me. I’ve quit joining tours in the field, for tour leaders well, hate me, for when I see something that fascinates me, in habitat or in a museum, I get lost in my enthusiasm, and kind of put the tour off schedule, as in “Where’s that guy, Jeff?”

So, very separated from the others in the sizable Lynx Prairie Reserve, I came upon yet another prairie, and OMG!! I found a lifer for me (!!!) a Northern Metalmark butterfly. Then a 2nd one, a 3rd one and soon had seen more than 40 Edward’s Hairstreaks, all fresh and yummy to the eyes.

Lynx Prairie, just miles from the Ohio/Kentucky border drove me nuts! that day, late in June. Two new butterflies for me, and large flights of so so fresh ones at that.

It was a very rewarding Thank You G-d day for me. A very nourishing day for my eyes and a fine adrenaline wash for Jeff. Such days remain long remembered.

Jeff

That Satisfying Moment

Little Metalmark butterfly at rest, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Shellman Bluff, GA

‘Swish’ was the word we used, on the basketball courts back in Brooklyn, when your jump shot went through the backboard rim, smoothly, without touching the cold iron. Some National Basketball Association (NBA) players excel from way back from the rim, sailing the ball on a high arc, ‘swish’ into the rim for a healthy 3-points. Swish.

That’s exactly how I felt when we were on Jekyll Island, Georgia having located a colony of Eastern Pygmy Blue Butterflies. We shot away, at those fresh tinies, just inches from the ground. Backs soon protested the grotesque strain of leaning all the way over, time after time, to perfect our images of these “Locally Uncommon” blue butterflies.

I just surveyed our Media Library of images, and my eyes fixed on this one. Why?

Jeffrey Glassberg, in his superior Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America shares that “Eastern Pygmy-Blues rarely open their wings while landed.” Look here and please smile, for this is a view that is difficult to enjoy, of a rare butterfly, found only on the coastline from South Carolina to Texas. Few see what you see here.

Swish!

Jeff

Tiny Scintillators

Little Metalmark butterfly on bloom, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Shellman Bluff, GA

Yesterday I posted a pic of Little Metalmark butterflies. Had a very robust response. That was good, for I favor these tiniest of USA butterflies, and they stoke my desire to see more of them. More than that, I want to best these images of 2016.

The right wings of this one help explain why I want to revisit the Georgia (USA) coastline. That right forewing approaches the capture of their beauty. The right hindwing, well it misses, by too much.

If, if I can get back there, and if I can refind those Eastern Pygmy Blue butterflies, as well as the Great Southern Whites, and the other Blues that fly the Georgia coastal wetlands . . . you’ll know it, ’cause you’ll hear my war whoop!!! all the way to Frewsburg, Golden, Lilburn, Whidbey Island, Eatonton, Sri Lanka, Vegas, Montrodat,Tucson, Summerville, Warren, Vancouver Island, Paris and countless other places where our good friends live.

I’ll need sun, changes of headbands to mop the sweat, killer Off! 25%, liters of water laced with electrolytes and success with my new iPhone use of GPS.

Alone? Naturally. Almost all that wingedbeauty puts up rely on my finding butterflies sans local support/knowledgeable butterfliers. That’s why you hear my shouts as often as you do, I am amazed that I find what I find (often the result of heartfelt pleas to G-d, me requesting that I not go home only to be told on line, that Hey! you were just 200 feet from an active colony . . . . If only you had . . . .)

Jeff