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

My, What Big Eyes You Have

Little wood satyr butterfly photographed at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Miss this one too. It’s been some time since I’ve seen a Little Wood Satyr. Now relocated to the southeast, what I see are dozens and dozens of Carolina Satyr butterflies. With all respect to the Carolina satyrs, they cannot boast the oversized ‘eyes’ that this one sports. Little Wood Satyrs also give pause for a smile, as the bound about the forest edge with their near ridiculous flight, bouncing, bobbing and weaving.

They mean no harm, seem to be purposeful and give those of us who frequent those trails from Maine to Florida, North Dakota to Texas, sweet thoughts and quizzical looks. How the heck do they roam about the forest perimeter, carefree, when there are so many predators and predicaments just waiting for them?

I love Little Wood Satyrs and their Big ‘eyes’ and chocolate stripes. We are overdue, we are.

Jeff

Them And Me (Mine)

Lasiommata Megera butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Meron

It’s mid-winter here in the Georgia Piedmont. I did see a sluggish Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly last week, on a 67F day, in my yard. That said, the general butterfly hiatus is some challenging. That’s especially so when I open Facebook and the Ian’s and Bill’s photos from the likes of what Peru, Indonesia and Bolivia, India. Mike and Javi put me over the top, when they share butterflies just seen in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas!

Their sweet images of impossible butterflies tease out the little boy in me, and I start thinking of images I have gleaned that ‘they don’t have.’

My many trips to the HolyLand jump out at me as I scan my Media Library, and here’s one that sure qualifies for an exciting find. This Lasiomatta megara emilyssa jumpstarted my blood pressure when I spotted him sunning on a rock on a trail on Mt. Meron, in the very northern Galilee region of Israel. HolyLand butterflies dislike close approach, and for that I stopped where I did, Macro- lens and all, for closer approach would have left me with zero images. They flee, and they flee at high speed.

This butterfly is not uncommon, but at the same time is rarely seen.

Do I plan to travel to Indonesia, Chile or Slovenia? No. But I’m booked for the Lower Rio Grande Valley, and kind friends continue to beckon me, to far, far away locales.

Jeff