Success! Georgia Satyr Success!!

Georgia Satyr Butterfly 2 photographed by Jeff Zablow at Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, Florida

We went back to the Big Bend Wildlife Management Area in Florida’s Panhandle in late June. Back to re-meet the Georgia Satyr butterfly. I’d waited years and years to shoot it, and my first trip there found Georgia Satyrs, but . . . I wasn’t satisfied with the images I scored.

This was a tiny, tiny, slow flying butterfly, that always flew close to the Spring Creek Unit’s swamp edge, flew low, and preferred to land close to the ground, with plants stalks hiding it from view. Once you got down to shoot one, 90% of the time it flew, mostly 10 feet away. So, you have to get up, and slowly approach it again, and lower yourself again, and re-adjust to get closer, only . . . . . . to have your Georgia fly again!

All the time you’re down on your ‘belly’ you’re remembering back to your Brooklyn childhood, reminded of times that you had to walk through ‘alien’ streets, keeping your eyes open for trouble. Lying on your belly in the Refuge, you sure were in alien territory again, for ticks were there, and your arrival was cause for celebration for them.

While wondering if you were attracting ticks, the humidity there was serious, and despite the head band across my forehead, the sweat soon began streaming down over my glasses and my eyes! The salt began to reach my eyes, and at times blind me for moments.

This Georgia held still, remained in place, and it was gorgeous, tiny but gorgeous. Why endure the up ‘n down struggle, the ticks and the streams of sweat? I am motivated in part by Ralph Waldo Emersons’s famous Success. I so wanted to share with you a butterfly that you will count as different, unusual, and beautiful. The inimitable Georgia Satyr. This one’s reddish/orange lines? I love them!

Jeff

Little Wood Satyr & Their Serpentine Moves

Little Wood Satyr Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania, August 2014

Was it Seinfield’s Kramer that came to mind yesterday?  We were in the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge in Juliette, Georgia, spending some time working the land near the rocky shelves that we often visit.

We were having a good time seeing butterflies, and soon saw a Little Wood Satyr, then soon another, and yet another. Photograph them? We tried and tried and tried. Problem was they fly not the path of a bullet, but instead they go a serpentine route, making keeping up with them difficult, and often near impossible. Total number of images of Little Wood Satyrs for May 3, 2020? Zero.

All of this brought a Big Smile, for it evoked memories of that Seinfeld TV show, where Jerry Seinfeld (or was it Kramer?) demonstrated the serpentine method of avoidance.

This Little Wood Satyr here was met in early morning, before it was revved up for its day ahead. It was in Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania.

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

Big Bend WMA Results Are In

Georgia Satyr Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, Florida's Panhandle

This my first meet-up with a Georgia Satyr butterfly. NABA’s Spring/Summer 2015 issue of American Butterflies featured an article, Definitive Destination: Big Bend WMA, Florida. It riveted me, and the very next year, in late August 2016 I drove down to Big Bend Wildlife Management Area. It was a super 5 days.

My images taken there were mostly good, but my Georgia Satyr shots disappointed me. They prefer to be inches off of the ground, requiring that you get down, down to their level. Sure you get down, robotically, and when you nearly reach their life space . . . they’ve flown. Several remained still in the early morning. That was good too, but the humidity was oppressive, the sweat cascaded down over my headband, washing my eyes in salt, every shot required that you first made sure that ‘bad’ snakes were not within your circle of activity, and the ‘No-See-Ums’ came divebombing in squadrons.

This shot here was the best I got. Slightly embarrassed, I shared it back then.

We got back last week from an April 2019 revisit to Big Bend’s Spring Creek Unit, and the lightly visited Old Grade tram (trail) delivered again. This time the very sameNo-See-Ums (sandflies) were worse than 2016, but we did spot 15 Georgia’s. My goal was to score a better image than this one.

The Fuji Velvia slides are back from Dwayne’s Photo, and Yes Ma’am, one of them made me smile. As soon as I can get them back from Rewind Memories in Pittsburgh, we’ll be sharing that one. If the scan does the slide justice, it’s color will be rich, it’ll have a pretty decent eye capture, and y’all (Did I spell that correctly, Virginia?) will see what a Georgia Satyr really looks likes, on a sunny late April morning in the Florida Panhandle.

Jeff

Hickory Mound & St. Marks

Georgia Satyr Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, Florida's Panhandle

Fuji film? Check. Camera and back-up camera (film)? Check. Batteries? Check. 40% Off!? Check. Coco Loco bars? Check. Babaganoush? Check. Merrell boots? Check.

Petra’s Wellness kibble? Check. Hills W/D? Check. Baked Wellness bars? Check. Ear cleaning fluid? Check.

Fishing rods and reels? Check. Fishing license (Florida)? No, get that when I arrive.

Knee pad? Check? Flashlight? Check. Alligator repellent? No, no such. ‘No-see-ums’ lotion? Nope, get that in Florida.

Getting ready to travel to Big Bend Wildlife Management Area and nearby St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge is a BIG challenge for me, as is the eventual Oops! when I come to realize that I forgot to bring . . .

All the above to cop new and more pleasing images of this Georgia Satyr butterfly. All that in the  hope of seeing new ‘Lifer’ butterflies for me.

Big Bend and St. Marks can do that, they can bring new joy on a golden platter, rich as they are in butterflies and botany and wildlife.

April 2019 . . . Florida’s Panhandle . . . Yummy!

Jeff