Chasing American Ladies

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

Back from those 4 exciting weeks in Israel, Painted Ladies greeted me almost everywhere. They escorted me along trails, and, identical to their American Painted Ladies, brought a comfortable connection to home.  Now, seated a my desk/desktop computer, with a thunderstorm’s bruising winds outside, this American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) assures that north american butterflies are drop dead gorgeous, and await me. Await my travel, and are ready to tease and tantalize my Macro-camera lens.

So many goals were met in 2016, Zebra heliconians, Juniper hairstreaks, Little metalmarks, Bog coppers and Eastern pygmy blues among them. Nancy, John, Virginia, Phil, Sylbie, Mike and Barbara Ann were my enablers, and I continue to extend my gratitude to them.

This 2017, with a grandson born to my daughter just 3 days ago (Aviva and baby boy Werner are now safely home, and well, Thank Y-u!) now sings the siren song to me, to get in the Tundra and maybe even board a plane or two, if the buck$ allow. Trips in the works? Georgia and Ohio. Trips possible?? Maine, Texas, Nevada and Vancouver Island, and ???

What’s that song about Lucky Boy?

Jeff

The Truth About Painted Ladies?

Painted Lady Butterfly at Raccoon Creek State Park

We are always learning. Today I was very impressed with one of our most personable butterflies. Painted Ladies remind of that $100 word, ‘ubiquitous.’ They do seem to be just about everywhere, across these United States. Sure they are not seen everywhere everyday, but . . . they show up here, there and just about everywhere, at some time or another. I see them regularly when I travel to Israel, confirming for me their special status: the most widespread of butterfly species, around the entire world!

What did I learn today? Well, if you live in Ohio, where are your Ladies at this moment (December it is)? If you live in South Dakota, where are they now? Georgia? California? State of Washington? Oklahoma? North Carolina?

The truth about our Painted Ladies is, that they are a migratory species. Across much of the U.S. we are in winter now. Answer to this question? They are in . . . Mexico. Mexico. When Spring ’17 begins, they fly by the hundreds of millions north, spreading across America. Comes September, progeny of the Mexican generation takes to wing, and return to . . . Mexico. How do they do that? You tell me. Vanessa cardui. Vanessa!

Jeff

Guess Where?

Painted lady butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow in Society for the Protection of Nature Hermon, Israel

Raccoon Creek State Park, Southwestern Pennsylvania? Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, Florida Panhandle? Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, Delmarva Peninsula, Maryland? Jamestown Audubon Center, Southwestern New York? West Don Park, Toronto, Canada. White Tank Mountains Regional Park, west of Phoenix, Arizona?

Briar Patch Habitat, Eatonton, Georgia? Yazoo National  Wildlife Refuge, Mississippi? Frick Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania?

Patti’s Colorado? Lynn’s Virginia? Jerry and Rose’s secret Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge swamp? Sylbie’s Rock Hawk Preserve in Putnam County, Georgia?

Nope, SPNI’s refuge reserve in the foothills of Mt. Hermon, at the northeastern tip of Israel, just several miles from murderous ISIS.

Isn’t it Amazing that Painted Lady butterflies are native to all of these places, and Central and South America and Asia and Africa and . . . Amazing.

Jeff

Here? There? Everywhere? Those Ladies!

Painted lady butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow in Society for the Protection of Nature Hermon, Israel

Spokane, Washington? Eatonton, Georgia? Perry, Florida? Jamestown, New York? Toronto, Quebec? Phoenix, Arizona, St. Louis, Mo.? Lumberton, Mississippi? Central Park, New York?

No to all. This Painted Lady butterfly (Vanessa Cardui) was nectaring in Northernmost Israel, at the foot of Mt. Hermon. I spent several days in the SPNI field house, my fourth furlough there. Their large nature reserve was rich in wildlife and botany, and it was March 2015, with millions of blooms of countless species.

Considered the most universal (widespread) of all butterflies species, it was, honestly, a shock to be 7,000 miles from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the U.S., and see what? A Painted Lady? Nevertheless, this is H-s plan.

Oh, and how far was this one from ISIS, Hezbollah, regular Syrian troops, Syrian rebel forces and Al Queda? Less than 10 miles, about as far as some drive to the supermarket. Our world!

Jeff