A Very Special Image Of A Pygmy Blue

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

As we prepare for our August drive to the Golden Islands of the Georgia coastline, this image brings back sweet memories of my first trip to that region, with Nancy and John. I wanted to meet, for the first time, Eastern Pygmy Blue butterflies and Little Metalmark butterflies.

My old friends knew where to search, and we found them! All of them!

I Love this image of the dorsal (upper) surface of an Eastern Pygmy Blue Butterfly. You must know that this is one of the USA’s tiniest butterflies, and they fly just inches above the ground. It is written that they almost NEVER open their wings to show their dorsal surface.

When your own image of a butterfly’s upper features is finer than that of the 2 best field guides, that warms the heart, encourages the Will. Pleases Jeff a whole lot.

Jeff

Back To The Future For Little Metalmark Butterflies

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

Is this the best of my images of Little Metalmark butterflies? Maybe. I’m maybe too hard on myself here, for photographing them, as we did here on Shellman Bluff, on the Georgia coast, is beyond difficult.

Why Jeff, why are these gems of a butterfly difficult to capture on an image? They elude your serious efforts to shoot them because: 1) They are about 1/3 the size of the nail on your pinky (1/4?) 2) They fly about 4 inches above the ground 3) The flowers they nectar on are about 4 inches above the ground 4) They rarely stay in place, moving over the flowerheads, forcing you to refocus, refocus, refocus, . . . . . . . . . 5) The air of their habitat is very hot and super saturated with moisture, causing the sweat to cover you (me) 6) You must get your body down, way down to shoot them, and they move, necessitating that you rise and again reposition yourself.

That said, I was determined to shoot these Gems of Shellman Bluff. Determined. This one survives being pitched into the trashcan, and it begins to show the beauty of their metallic lines, when they reflect the sun’s rays.

What’s this all leading to? We return to Shellman Bluff in August, and if we find these Little Metalmark Butterflies, and if the weather cooperates, and if they are a fresh flight and if . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Me? I can’t wait. Of course Jekyll Island, Sapelo Island, Little St. Simons Island, they all are the Siren’s Song for this Jeff.

Jeff

Peek-A-Boo With A Fatal Metalmark Butterfly

Fatal Metalmark Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

Haven’t used this image, for I continued to think that it was way too dark to see this southwestern USA butterfly, the Fatal Metalmark. It was in a shaded area, while the morning sun at the National Butterfly Center near the border wall was blocked by clouds. Add to that my built-in Canon light meter was acting up, and you have an image that I’m less than pleased with. Ouch.

This morning I had a fresh look at this photo, and realized . . . that this scintillant butterfly (with those metallic strips that readily reflect light) was, despite all, reflecting the available daylight. It’s difficult for the Fatal to play Peek-A-Bo, for with those metallic lines continuing to shine, there’s no place to run, no place to hide.

I love Metalmarks. This one is “C” for common, according to the expert Glassberg, but to enjoy it, you have to travel to Texas, New Mexico, Arizona or Southern California.

Jeff

Kamamama Bounty

Northern Metalmark Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Kamama Prairie Reserve, Ohio

I totally misjudged Ohio. We moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1990, this New York (Brooklyn) born guy had had enough of New York, and its steady decline. We lived in Pittsburgh for 27 years. Before Barbara Ann Case introduced me to Angela, I never considered driving into Ohio for butterflies, for where would I go? What would I seek? Was there good habitat in Ohio?

Angela led us to beyond excellent sites in Ohio in 2017. Parks, Reserves and privately owned land rich in native botany and just as blessed with wildlife and . . . butterflies. Kudos to the State of Ohio.

In Ohio’s southernmost county, Adams County, I met up with a fresh flight of more than 50 Northern Metalmark butterflies. Don’t doubt me on that count, for yes, I kept counting as that sweet meadow kept delivering more and more of the butterfly you see above, the tiny, but elegant Northern Metalmark.

The meadow’s name? Kamamama. I will long remember that name, and its Northern Metalmarks, Monarchs, Edwards Hairstreak, Coral Hairstreaks, Fritillaries, etc. For all of us now remaining in our homes, June in Kamamama would be . . . a dream of a dream.

Jeff

Northern Metalmark Butterfly On Oxe-Eye Daisy

Northern Metalmark Butterfly on Oxe-eye Daisy photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie, OH

Home like 99% of you are, thanks to the COVID-19. More and more I use my time well, reviewing and enjoying our Media Library of what 900+ images. I sit here, in our new sunroom (we moved) and what can I say? I love and revel in those images, reminding me of times, places and incredible good luck that has been visited upon me.

With Barbara Ann Case’s passing recently, I recall trips made because of the kindness and cooperation of her friends, i.e., Angela.

Here’s such an image. I’d already met Little Metalmark butterflies in Georgia and Fatal Metalmark butterflies in the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas. Here is the day in 2018 when I met Northern Metalmark butterflies in Adams County, Ohio. Angela and Barbara Ann (OBM”) guided me to Lynx Prairie Reserve, and I hit the jackpot, finding a fresh flight of more than 50!!

This Northern Metalmark butterfly is nectaring on Oxe-Eye Daisy.

Especially love Metalmark butterflies. That scintillating threading of metallic gleam just electrifies me, it does.

Jeff