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

Red Rim? Yes!

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

“R” according to Jeffrey Glassberg’s A Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America (Princeton University Press, 2017). Rarely seen in the United States. December 2017, and there we were in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Mission, Texas. We were working a trail in the National Butterfly Center, and I think it was John who spotted it on a bait log (banana and beer mashed and ‘painted’ on a log suspended inches above the ground). A Red Rim Butterfly (Biblis hyperia).

It was spectacular. The upper surface was jet. black, and that band of rich red across the hindwings jumped out at you, it did. It tolerated a few shutter clicks, and then flew to this nearby tree. I continued shooting it, even with my Macro- lens at considerable disadvantage.

I finally make it to this southern tip of Texas, now me in my majority, and I make the acquaintance of this Red Rim, and that Erato Heliconian and Tropical Greenstreaks and Mexican Fritillaries and that regal Malachite.

My internal debate, should I share this image, was brief, for most of us cannot find a Red Rim in our image bank, and this is one, a slight bit of eye strain aside.

Jeff