MIA? Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies?

Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly photographed at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

I’ll reluctantly join the growing chorus? Where are our beloved Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterflies? Many, most or all of you have shared that they are absent. So many of us proudly share that our perennial gardens are now in full bloom, rich with nectar producing flowers. Flowers that normally draw these large, colorful swallowtails.

At this time year after year we enjoyed seeing shots of Tiger caterpillars, chrysalises and newly eclosed male and female Tigers.

My own garden is beginning its 3rd full year, and the Tithonia (Mexican Sunflowers) are reaching 4′-5′ and opening flower. Our 3 species of Hibiscus are busters, our giant Zinnias hale, day lilies still spending new flowers,  Black-Eyed Susans strong, Obedient Plant throwing out hundreds of flowers, Cardinal Flower the deepest of red blooms, Coneflower by the dozens of blooms, Cosmos many and I’ve only seen a single Tiger Swallowtail, back in April 2019.

They’re always our dependables, like Commas on trails, Carolina Satyrs in Southern perennial beds, Silver Spotted Skippers at trails edge where wildflowers abound.

Stalwarts, myself included, expect to see them any day now, what with fennel, dill, black cherry, plum and chokecherry all present and accounted for.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail female at Raccoon Creek State Park, 42 minutes west of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and 8 hours west of Times Square in New York City.

Jeff

Coppers In The Galilee (Really)

Lycaena Phlaeas butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Nahal Dishon National Park, Upper Galilee, Israel

We have many wingedbeauty Followers who love to see posts of butterflies in the HolyLand (Israel). I am happy to share some, for photographing in the pristine, almost unspoiled wilds of the Upper Galilee, Golan and the Golan’s Mt. Hermon, is thrilling, truth be told. To think that They walked these same ancient trails, and stopped to examine/admire the same butterflies, is very sobering, very profound.

So it was here, an encounter with this male Lycaena phlaeas timeus, a copper, met in Nahal Dishon National Park in the very Upper Galilee. He’s very vivid in color and marking, and he sports those classy blue spots, seen on the outer margin of his hindwing.

Photographing butterflies in the Galilee and the Upper Golan, wild, you don’t see anyone for hours. You’ve never done that yet, have you?

Not showing off, just stating the facts, M’am.

Jeff

My Northern Pearly-eye Butterfly

 

Northern Pearly Eye Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania

Here’s one that folks rarely share. When I do see a posted image of a Northern Pearly-eye, that little smile appears. I was fortunate to have met this individual on Nichol Road Trail in Raccoon Creek State Park, some 40 minutes west of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

When I spotted it, I was immediately juiced, for it was a magnificent Northern Pearly-eye, and it was perched so majestically on that leaf. They prefer to be at the edges of trails, and almost always very near to water, usually a small stream/creek. All that applied here.

I approached, sooo slowly, all the time asking, of G-d I guess, that this remarkable butterfly stay, not bolt.

I shot away, maybe some 40 exposures (Fuji film, Velvia 100), and these 3, well I found it too difficult to choose one from among them.

Whyi? The colors, though not bright ones, are rich and attractive. The pose of this one is excellent, on those leaves with their deep, becoming green. The background, reduced light, so evokes the favored habitat of this bruishfoot Satry. The outer rims of those forewing eyes are as gold as gold. The hindwing eyes shoot out flashlight white at their centers. The bands on the wings are stark. The eyes are good, the legs seen, the clubs have black, and much more.

I am forever appreciative that I was there, then, and met a gorgeous, understanding butterfly.

Jeff

Gauging The Net Gain Of Finding Rare Butterflies

Red-rim butterfly at rest photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

Red-rim butterfly on leaf photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

Why Mike Tyson? I’m not sure, but I do remember seeing ‘celebrities’ in person. Add to that list Kirk Douglas, that special elevator ride down with Diana Ross. I’ve never met or seen more than the head of a United States President. I saw a U.S. Senator in synagogue in Washington, DC, some 3 times (shook Liberman’s hand after services, for I had some respect for him).  I met real farmers and real cowboys in Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, receiving my artillery training (Big respect for them, for whatever had to be done, they never shirked, only asking ‘When do you need it done?’).

I remember 2 or 3 young women from my formative years,(during my red hair/green eyes ‘stage.’)

I remember guys I fought who were ferocious, ’cause that took a great effort.

All this to share that I remember each and every time that I’ve either seen a spectacularly beautiful, fresh butterfly, especially when I wanted to shoot them, and could not or the crazy rare butterflies that I’ve seen over these years: Erato heliconian, Compton Tortoiseshell, Gold-rimmed hairstreak, Malachite, Milbert’s tortoiseshell, Parnassian on Mt. Hermon and Parnassian in the Golan/Galilee regions, Leonard’s skipper and this Red Rim  seen in these 2 images here.

We saw this Rare Red Rim at the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas. It stayed in thickly treed habitat and, it was gorgeous. Movingly gorgeous.

I sometimes try to figure out the net gain benefits of having seen rare butterflies and of seeing celebrities/national leaders. I’ve not yet, despite the decades, worked to a conclusive decision as to the net gain of seeing people of great fame, nor for meeting a butterfly that only 0.00091% of Americans have seen.

Your input here?

Jeff

Rare To Locally Common Gems

Gemmed Satyr Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Hard Labor creek State Park, Georgia

Glassberg’s Glossary explains that the “R-LC” assignment for these Gemmed Satyrs means that these reclusive butterflies are Rare to Locally Common.

I wanted, for decades, to find and shoot Gemmed Satyrs. This southern USA butterfly’s name triggered me, the name did.

Problem was, when a butterfly is designated Rare-Locally Common, it is near impossible to locate. Sure, A Swift Guide to Butterflies writes that their habitat is “grassy moist woods.” Which southern USA state doesn’t have grassy moist woods? They all do.

I learned my lessons the hard way. At one time, I’d set out to find Rare butterflies, driving hours to prospective habitat destinations. Most of the time I got skunked.

Lesson learned. Now, as here, I urge knowledgeable people to help me, and even to meet me at good butterfly target destinations. Proven destinations. That’s how I met this beautiful Gemmed Satyr. Phil met me at Hard Labor Creek Sate Park (Georgia) and he guided me to this shady moderately treed spot. Gemmeds!

Thank you Phil.

Jeff