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

Metalmarks in 2018?

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

Would you? I think I want to, I do. I want to revisit those destinations along the Georgia coastline, that delivered Little Metalmark butterflies, Eastern Pygmy blue butterflies, Great Northern Whites, Cassius Blues and more. I know where they mostly are, and I want to let loose my newish Canon 100mm/2.8 Macro-lens with IS. I $prung for that extra IS (image stabilizer (= with built in gyroscope to correct for lens sway) to score sharper captures of eyes, antennae, feet, wing beauty, etc,, This image of a Little Metalmark was taken with my now defunct Macro- lens.

I think about going back. What I want are finer images of these butterflies, especially ones that boast excellent, scintillating silvery wing bands! For the Eastern Pygmy blues, I want images that I can admire, and know that yes, this is my image.

Pyle, RT Peterson, William Bartram, Virginia C Linch and the fabulous Paynes go back. Why shouldn’t I go back and finish the work?

Thoughts?

Jeff

Schooled By Little Metalmarks

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

There they were, finally. Little Metalmark Butterflies. Shellman Bluff, Georgia, along the eastern coast of the USA. Months of anticipation, and there I was with Nancy and John. I should have expected them to be tiny, but truth be told, I was taken aback, for they were smaller than tiny. They were tinier than tiny.

They were methodically nectaring on tiny yellow blooms, and they all but posed, as they slowly worked the flowers, one after another.

I’ll admit to a bit of personal bravado, me thinking that I will leave there with several excellent exposures of these flying gems. I especially wanted to capture images with those silvery hindwing bands, smartly reflecting the strong Georgia sun.

And? Well I’ve studied and restudied the 6 or so exposures that I didn’t pitch into the trash. This one, for instance does Pop! those silvery bands, features other decent Little Metalmark shares (one good antenna, an OK abdomen and a decent eye capture).

17% overconfident Jeff, got schooled by those Metalmarks. Why?

They were so tiny that they required that I crouch over in a very uncomfortable position, that awkward twist of body became increasingly difficult to sustain. They did move across the flower, forcing frequent movement and camera adjustment, then they would fly some 2-3 feet to another flower, sending me following them, into yet another and another pronounced crouch. Soon the sweat begin beading up on my forehead and then, sweat would trickle down over eyes, the Georgia morning humidity soon semi-blinding me, salt in the eyes.

This was before I upgraded to my Canon 100mm/2.8 IS (Image Stabilization) lens. IS lenses compensate for the almost imperceptible sway that moves the camera lens when you shoot such tinies in such challenging shoots.

So, yes, those Little Metalmarks schooled me, learned me good, to not come into the field fully expecting to land the big one, so to speak. Beware specks of butterflies on minuscule flowers, on steamy hot mornings , for the odds of copping a dropdead gorgeous image of the bejeweled Little Metalmark favor Las Vegas, and not the boy from Brooklyn!

Jeff