My Striped Hairstreak Butterfly

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Forgive me, but I am very pleased with my capture here of a fresh Striped Hairstreak butterfly. Tiny, like all hairstreaks, it startled me when I first eyed it. I was looking for the usual larger butterflies, in the Powdermill Reserve of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, in Rector, Pennsylvania. Rector is in the sylvan Laurel Highlands of south-central Pennsylvania, and finding such a tiny, “Rare-Uncommon” butterfly there, should not have been a surprise to me.

When my Macro- lens came closer and closer to this beauty, it remained in place, and I marveled at how magnificent it was. A shmeksy! butterfly that is never found in abundance, and is alway seen as a solitary specimen, alone, naturally.

This is one of my early finds, and Yep, it stoked my passion to work to find and shoot common and uncommon butterflies, fresh, colorful and reminders of the Gift that we continue to receive.

Jeff

Does She Hear?

Painted Lady Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

In the field, during those early years of seeking butterflies, I always became silent when I sought to make my approach. Silence ruled until I finished shooting, and only then would I talk. Some 10 years or so later, I abandoned that, and now I will speak to you, in normal voice, while I am at my usual 18″ away from a butterfly. One in 20 butterflies appear to flee when I begin talking to you. Nineteen of 20 do not react to my speaking.

This fresh, gorgeous American Lady butterfly riveted my attention, and on my approach, on that gravely road in Raccoon Creek State Park (southwestern Pennsylvania). I placed my feet down as gently as I could as I got closer to her (presuming this is a female), knowing that she could easily sense the vibrations I produced on the trail. She fled several times, alway flying in a lazy loop, to return within about 3-4 minutes. I was patient, and got this.

Some months ago, I recall reading something about butterflies, it sharing that they can hear. Can they?

We are a large enough group to expect that you can weigh in here, and share on whether or not butterflies can hear?

Jeff

Hairstreak Euphoria

Red-Banded Hairstreak butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

It never goes away. I expect that I speak for all of us who love and search for butterflies. Whether you arrive at your refuge, meadow, fen, garden or roadside berm, that euphoria that electrifies you when you spot a tiny, tiny Hairstreak butterfly, never lessens.

We stop, verify that it is a Hairstreak, a fresh Hairstreak (the price of film now matters) and as quickly as those years in the field allow, which of the hairstreaks you have found. Me, I best know the hairstreaks of the eastern half of the United States . . . but. I’ve seen hundreds and thousands of these abundant hairstreaks, but others, that count drops to one or two. Or, zero.

This winged beauty is a Red-banded Hairstreak. Fresh, zero bird-struck with gorgeous, rich color including that handsome blue patch and generous red bands.

So many Red-bandeds bear wing damage or extensive wing scale loss. This one, seen at the Butterflies and Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton Georgia is a crowd pleaser for sure. When I’ve shot away, those 20 or more exposures, am I able to slowly back away from this shmeksy! gift from G-d, and share my war-up “YES! May well be you heard it, be you in Brooklyn, Dallas, Mission, Seattle, Atlanta, Mishmarot, or Valdosta.

How I love what I do!

Jeff

Peru? Bolivia?

Close Up of Pipevine Swallowtail  Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow as it perched on Bergamot flower at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania, 7/31/14

Life sure has a way of intruding on your plans. Paul’s brother Fred dazzled me with anecdotes of his studies in the interior of Bolivia and Peru. He’s an academic, and travelled there to pursue birds. The things that he found, leave you speechless. Birds and butterflies of almost indescribable beauty and mystery. His telling of the dangers that he confronted chastened me, for after the streets of Brooklyn, thank you, I do not want to be one of the poor souls who are in a bus the goes over the side of a cliff, on one of those unimproved mountain roads!

Me? I’m very happy to travel here in the U.S.A to more predictable destinations, like this one. Doak field in Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania. Imagine us there, with Bergamot blooms blanketing this enormous meadow, as a Pipevine swallowtail butterfly floats in. The pipevine is anxious for the rich sugary nectar of the Bergamot. Distracted, I cautiously move in closer, and what I see there, erases my thoughts of Peruvian rain forests, their ferocious mosquitoes, the very real threat of being ambushed/kidnapped ( my son was kidnapped there, and Thank G-d he and Rene were released unharmed ), or caught in the middle of a firefight in Lima, between army and rebels.

America is a butterfly magnet, and for good reason. My Fuji slide film shoots color real-time, and this year, I hope to please you with butterflies of much beauty, amidst green foliage that is honest in its share of green.

Jeff

Ordering A La Carte

Palamedes Swallowtail Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, Florida's Panhandle

Counting the days, until I return to the Florida Panhandle (northernmost Florida). This will be my second trip to Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, near Perry, Florida. The first visit there, in 2016 was better that I could have expected. The thistle was in good bloom and the liatris had just begun to open flower. Milkweed was abundant. The butterflies? I almost want to say everywhere!

That first visit was in the last week of August. This April trip?  The Spring/Summer 2015 issue of American Butterflies (NABA) reported that 84 species of butterflies were recorded there in September, and 70 species seen in Big Bend in April. That “70” jumps out at me, and is the siren’s call to revisit.

When I gaped at this Palamedes Swallowtail butterfly in the last week of August 2016, the high of the day was in the mid-90’s Fahrenheit. Working to shoot as Georgia Satyr, the sweat was pouring down over my eyes, having coursed over my headband, and the salty sweat nearly blinded. April 2019? I can only dream . . .

Taking orders at this time, let me know what you’d like me to find?

Jeff