The Elusive Southern Pearly-Eye

Southern Pearly-eye Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia

Rose and Jerry assured me that we’d find one of the most difficult of Southern butterflies, the Southern Pearly-eye butterfly. They inhabit moist, treed lowlands where cane grows. Glassberg in his Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America has Southerns as the most difficult of the Pearly-eye butterflies to locate.

Most difficult is an understatement. We met in the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge in central Georgia, U.S.A. and we headed out to what a Park Ranger forewarned me was a risky habitat that harbored mosquitoes that have transmitted diseases to earlier visitors! I’d grown up amidst a host of risks, and learned to live in a world of other risky situations . . . but entering that steamy, super-saturated lowland did make me wonder if the risk was worth it? Every step was a slough through mud that slowed you down to a crawl, the mosquitoes and flies were fierce, trees and limbs were down everywhere, breathing was difficult, the air hot and seemingly low in oxygen . . .

Rose and Jerry seemed undeterred by all of those negatives, they almost bounding through it all. Amazing, I thought.

Here’s one of the Southern Pearly-eye Butterflies that Rose spotted, and talked me over to. They were almost unapproachable, fleeing on my stumbling, noisy approach. No matter that, for here’s a fine, fresh Southern, and after examining it, study the terrain. See what I mean?

Thank G-d I did not contract any of those horrible diseases. Imagine, a habitat that makes you cringe, just thinking of it, yet a habitat that had all 3 of the Pearly-eye species that morning! All 3!!

Jeff

‘When You Wish Upon A Star, Makes No Difference . . . ‘

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

Had to be more than a decade, me working that productive Nichol Road trail at Raccoon Creek State Park. That southwestern Pennsylvania trail partly skirted a tiny, always moving creeklet. That’s where I ocassinaly saw Northern Pearly-eye Butterflies.

The trouble was, they almost never allowed me and my trusty Macro- lens to get close enough . . . We who do this have wishes, wishes of butterflies we’d like to photograph, REALLY want to photograph in all their, fresh, healthy glory.

My wish list? Northern Pearly-Eye used to be way at the top of my List. Others? Satyrs, Goatweed Leafwing, Metalmarks, King’s Hairstreaks and Giant Skippers. Oh, and Elfins, lots of Elfins?

When I was working Nichol Road trail, I spotted this spectacular Northern. My approach was especially cautious. I went down in my patented way, down to rest on my left knee pad. Good. I could have begun to serenade, with “When you wish upon a star, Makes no difference who you are, When you wish upon a star, Your dreams come true.”

Our star Northern stay in place, as if posing for me. Magnificent. Beautiful. Incredibly elegant, all these applied. The images? I prize 3 of them, they among my most beloved.

Happy Jeff.

Jeff

Handsome Northern Pearly Eye Butterfly?

Northern Pearly Eye Butterfly at Raccoon Creek State Park

Me? I often enjoy reminiscing, enjoy meeting up again with images that please me. This morning I considered several, and this one came up the leader, an image that so reminds me of good, fruitful days.

Spying on a Northern Pearly-eye Butterfly basking in the early morning sunlight’s rays is a rarity. Approaching without him fleeing is even more unlikely, and copping a good image, before he flees? Near to impossible. Truth be told, I’ve seen few images of such.

His dorsal ‘eyes’ are vivid and brightly bordered by sweet yellow. The 4th hindwing eye can be seen on both hindwing. Wing surface detail is good and head and antennae look good too.

At Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania. Jeff loved that day.

Jeff

Ten (10) Years of TomFoolery

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

Northern Pearly Eye butterfly

 

Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at the Jamestown Audubon Center in Jamestown, NY.

Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly

 

Male Black Swallowtail Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in the Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, GA

Me? I’ve taught high school Biology to thousands of young Americans, in New York City and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I am pleased with the respect and admiration that my students afforded me. I retired in 2006, to become the caregiver for Frieda A”H. I lost that job, when she passed in January 2008.

I’ve been in the bushes as much as possible, for these last 25 years. I search for and photograph butterflies. This wingedbeauty.com that you’re reading here is the product of my love and fascination with butterflies & wildflowers.

I have watched the health and well being of our land become taken over by ‘naturalists’ who claim 1) that they must protect our land for all of us and 2) lecture and alarm us that our pristine habitat will soon be destroyed by “Global Warming.” I have watched as they chastise us for the coming annihilation of our fauna and flora, and for the coming destruction of all that is wild and loved,.

It seems that to be an academic today, you must join the ranks of the alarmists. You must declare that butterflies, birds, wildflowers, dragonflies, wasps, moths and macro- animals are all soon to leave us.

All not so. I spend hundreds/thousands of hours in the bush, seeking and searching for butterflies, and I can Thankfully report that they are well, normal and unchanged, with an excellent future. There is no Global Warming and there will be none in the future. G-d is in control and has been since the beginning of time.

True it is, that if the relations of the loudest Global Warming supporters would stop developing valuable habitat, usually the home of endangered butterflies and living things, if they would stop developing the choicest sites along our oceans, lakes and rivers . . . if they would stop overdeveloping California, Oregon, Colorado, Texas, Washington State, Arizona, Florida, New Mexico and more, our children and grandchildren would so benefit, and species would not continue disappearing.

There is no Global Warming. These 3 American butterflies attest to that.

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