Northern Pearly Eye Thrills

Northern Pearly Eye Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Allenberg Bog in New York

They are often hard to find. They stay in shade, or within several feet of shaded spots. On your approach, they flee, flying low, but with the skill of an accomplished F-16 pilot. Few of us ever get to savor the spots that adorn their closed wings. What we are lucky to see is just that, their ventral (the underside) wings’ surfaces.

So they are demure, very. They do not come out and display their comely features or bling. Mostly they stay to those margins of the forest, very prim ands proper, and shy, so shy.

That is why this image of such a Northern Pearly Eye Butterfly stands out for me. This one allowed my approach, and I was thrilled, because it was there taking in whatever early morning sun it felt safe to absorb. Thrilled for how many get to see this? See the milk chocolate hue of those wings, and the handsome array of those spots,  each bordered in yellow gold? He is a hunk, no doubt of that.

Jeff

Caron 2

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

‘Jeff’s Earrings’ served as my first pick, responding to Caron, she asking what may be my 5 favorite butterfly images. My first photo was shared here yesterday.

Caron 2? For many years Raccoon Creek State Park was my favorite destination. Doak fields there is a more than 100 acre meadow, where after 3 to 4 hours, I usually saw not a single soul there. Perfect! After those hours in the summer sun, I would hike back to my truck. That 3/4 of a mile hike, went along a moist area, with trees on each side. For many years, I would see Northern Pearly-Eye butterflies fleeing ahead of me. They preferred that short stretch of Nichol Road trail, enjoying the dappled shade, moist forest borders and nearby little stream. I scored few shots of them, ever.

This time, about 4 years ago, my eyes searched the low growth of the trail edges. There it was, a very, very fine Northern Pearly-Eye. It was a good size and . . . it held to its leaf.

I so, so slowly made my approach, decided not to cop ‘insurance’ images. I was going in, robotically. I’m pretty sure I had Fuji Velvia ASA 100 (faster) film in camera. I began talking to this gem telepathically, ‘Don’t go, don’t go, Please.’

Pearly-Eye remained in place. I was no down on my left knee. Good. I slowwwwly raised my Macro-lens. Good. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Perhaps 35 or more exposures.

I waited the 2 weeks or so to get my slides back from Dwayne’s Photo. You must remember that day, Caron, for that day you heard a muffled scream of Joy!! when I louped them on my lightbox. Several were worthy of Caron’s List, Yippee!!!

Jeff

2018 is in with a Bang!

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

I’m back from the Rio Grande Valley, Mission, Texas to be exact. Just flew home less than 24 hours ago. Wow! I repeat, Wow!

This accompanying image of a Northern Pearly Eye Butterfly is one of my favorites. An elusive species of butterfly, but that day there it was, and how fine a Northern Pearly Eye, this one. This is one of those images that, back in the early ’90’s, I hoped, hoped I could ever share. An image that stands on its own merits, and that encourages and reminds that we are surrounded by G-d’s magnificent handwork.

I’m now shipping my 27 rolls of Fuji Velvia film to Parson, Kansas. You will not believe how many very, very rare and, very very beautiful butterflies we saw in very southern Texas. Short of a couple of cloudy, cool days, my Life list of butterflies ballooned out, in just that one week in Texas.

So, I wish a Happy New Year to you, and if Dwayne Photo’s returns good stuff to me, I look forward to sharing dreamy images of Erato heliconians, Red rims, Malachites, Gold-bordered hairstreaks (last seen in the U.S. in 1968), Tropical leafwings and so many more. Those and the largest, freshest male Monarch I’ve ever seen, and his quick, successful flirtation with an equally Big female Monarch.

To 2018!

Jeff

The Butterfly of the Shadows

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

Along favorites trails we keep our eyes alert for butterflies that fly the forest edge. When the weather forecast fails, and clouds that shouldn’t, do appear, its drats! Butterflies almost universally prefer sunny to dappled sunny locales. Bring dark clouds, and butterflies disappear, as quick as that.

When it’s cloudy, or dark or slightly drizzly, there’s a strong temptation to no longer remain alert for random butterfly flight. Years of working trails has taught that when you are moving through moist wooded habitat, or habitat with active streams or moderate wetland, it’s important to not succumb to dropping your attentive radar, for  with wet conditions flanking your trail, chances are good that you will note these beauties, Northern Pearly-Eye butterflies.

Northern Pearly-Eyes are difficult to make approach to. They flee approach, not with jet-like speed, but just as effectively, as they fly their low, looping flight, and just about vanish from sight.

This magnificent Pearly-Eye was seen on Nichol Road trail in Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania. It was to my right on the trail, and the forest that began at trail edge was poorly lit, and humid.

I kept asking the Ab-ve to allow me to get my Macro- lens close to this one. It looked handsomely fresh. I approached, robotically. It held the leaf. Closer again, it remained. Slowly lowered my left knee onto my Tommy knee pad, it was still there.

I love this image, now one of my favorites. A butterfly that when seen looks bland, now revealed to be very shmeksy! when you close the distance from Pearly-eye to Macro- lens.

When I occasionally revisit this image, Oh, how I  appreciate the many features that it shares, so easily.

Jeff

Happy Pearly-eye New Year!

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

Happy New Year to All! We have grown in number and enthusiasm. Shared so much new: new butterflies, new places and new ways of seeing those wingedbeauties.

Perfect example here, this one of 3 images that didn’t get pitched into the circular file (AKA trash can). So many of us know the Northern Pearly-eye butterfly. I almost wrote them off as well, seen them, done that . . . until I met this comely Pearly-eye on that trail at Raccoon Creek State Park. Guaranteed to frustrate, this one remained in place . . . and rocked my boat!, for I saw that I was looking at a stunner! An especially handsome Northern.

I shot it out, hoping that my manual compensations for aperture and shutter speed would deliver, despite the challenging lighting.

I say to you here, I will not take long known  butterflies for granted, for amongst them, may be a Bedazzler, as I rate this one. Those hindwing eyes, with the sweet tiny white pearls in their centers, That’s why they are  . . . Pearly-eyes.

On to 2017, taking nothing for granted, and hoping to meet them . . . and You! out there.

Jeff