Thanksgiving Day Approaches and It’s On My Mind

Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly and Edwards Hairstreak on Butterflyweed photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie Reserve, Ohio

Less than a handful of days away, Thanksgiving is in the USA. It’s a day for us Americans to think of all that we are Blessed with, and for us here in the States to gather family (COVID-19 precautions considered) and revel in all that we have, in the good health that most enjoy, and to sit there and smile, as we watch the youngsters, year after year, preparing to take their turn in life.

Our table will be not quite that, but Thankful? I am very, very Thankful. I am happy, so very happy. We enjoy this home we’ve moved to in North Macon, those .68 acres, steadily filling with Georgia native plants and do you believe it? Today, November 23rd we enjoyed Zebra Longwing and Cloudless Sulphur butterflies. Back in Pittsburgh, that first week of September was almost always the Bye Bye week for seeing butterflies.

On my mind, adding to my euphoria, the hope of seeing total, abject beauty, as you see here in Lynx Prairie Reserve in Adams County, Ohio. The Butterflyweed (a Milkweed species) lush and richly colored. The Zebra Swallowtail butterfly? Mama Mia! The Edwards Hairstreak butterfly, tiny, yet elegant. The background in this image? Oh how I long to return again to this botany wonderland! 2021!

Jeff, sharing of Thanksgiving thoughts.

Jeff

Extraordinary Eastern Tiger

Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly photographed at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

She was nectaring on native Teasel flowerhead. When I found her, my rocket-fast examination of her wings gave me a sugar jolt! She was extraordinary. There’s always that 1/35th of a second moment of apprehension. Would she leave before I could position my Canon Elan 73 film camera with its Canon Macro- 100/2.8 lens?

Long time ago, very fine photographers, at Pittsburgh’s Filmmakers, opined that it’s preferable to position your main subject somewhere other than at the middle of the image. No time to do that here, for such a once in 10-years female Tiger might, probably might, go, go to another flowerhead or totally go.

I’m a ‘men,’ and some of us remember beauty long after we’ve been Blessed to meet it. I remember this one. The rest? We’ll leave that alone.

Raccoon Creek State Park, Nichol Road Trail, Hookstown, New York, some 45 minutes drive from Pittsburgh, give or take.

Jeff

Want To See A Grown Man–

Earring Series - Jeff with Black Swallowtail Earrings (Best shot), at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

This is the shot with the Eastern Black Swallowtails fully on my right ear.Want To See

I went there early, really early that morning. My plan? To hope to find butterflies nestled in their overnight hideaways, and track them as they slowly flew to flat leaves, where they’d remain until the growing morning sun warmed their wings. That plan worked, worked just fine.

I found that coupled pair of Eastern Black Swallowtails. Began to photo them. Heard someone entering the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch and I was concerned that the butterflies would be spooked by that person (?) and flee. Who’d I see arrive? My friend Sylbie Yon. Huh? What? Why had Sylbie come to this mini-wilderness, smack in the middle of Eatonton, Georgia?

I wildly signalled her to slow down, approach us cautiously. She did. I thought fast. Before I could do anything else. The Black Swallowtails flew. Sylbie quietly told me that they’d flown onto me???

I handed her my camera, gave her quick instructions as to how to operate my Canon film Elan camera, and Look! Look! Sylbie capture the now famous Jeff’s Earrings series of shots. I Love these images, the series seen by selecting it at the top of wingedbeauty.com posts.

This is the one that rattled me. The pair moved from my shoulder to my hat to . . . my right ear. I was already ‘pudding’ for such mystical moments melted me, they bringing memories of Frieda A”H and her losing battle with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma/Stem Cell Transplant/ side-effect=Leukemia. I cried, trying to not let my friend see me (on the Brooklyn streets, crying was not done, period).

I will always cherish this, hang with me here, don’t judge, but where I lived my formative years, those streets, guys did not wear earrings,.

Look at me. How I’ve . . . .

Jeff

‘Busters’ Now A Memory

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

Been doing this now for decades, that is, seeking and photographing butterflies. Some things get easier, including enduring the disappearance of butterflies in the Fall, here in Georgia, and disciplining yourself, with the understanding that they will reappear in the Georgia Spring. Spring here in the southeastern USA comes as early as February. That means that your parsley and rue, domestic and cultivar will begin to prosper, and that also means that these butterflies, Eastern Black Swallowtails will soon appear.

When Black Swallowtails show up, it’s an adrenaline rush. That such a beautiful, elegant and graceful swallowtail butterfly visits your garden, so pleases, you happy that he or she has chosen your robust herbs as the most worthy site for her to deposit her critically valuable eggs, for her to entrust her genetic jewels to your healthy, green favorites. Corollary to that is the warming knowledge that such males head straight to your place, sensing that your natives will draw females, the very same females that males must find, to progress their rich jewels onto the next flight of Black Swallowtails.

This male was seen in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia. Atlanta to the west, Augusta to the east. A springtime stunner, for sure.

Jeff

Evokes, ‘Oh Beautiful, For Spacious Skies. For Amber Waves of Grain, For Purple Mountains . . . . ‘

Earring Series - Blackswallowtail butterflies coupled, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

This is why I photograph butterflies, alot. There are moments that thrill, as when I find a rare butterfly, resplendent in extraordinary color, and itself fresh, just days out of its chrysalis. Unexpected moments when I come upon a butterfly that I’ve shot before, but those earlier exposures just did not satisfy my quest for ever finer images.

Then there are times like this, at the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat, in Eatonton, Georgia. There I am witnessing, witnessing beauty that just about takes my breathe away! A fresh pair of Eastern Black Swallowtail butterflies, both just hours out of chrysalis, coupled together, motionless. The thoughts that run through my head? Many. Splendor in the Grass. ‘Under the Boardwalk.’ Inexplicably, ‘Oh Beautiful, For Spacious Skies, For Amber Waves Of Grain, For Purple Mountains Majesty Above The Fruited Plain, America, America, G-d Shade H-s Grace On Thee . . . . ‘

We have a Presidential Election here in the U.S.A in a few days, and its been unpleasant and full of vitriolic activity. This Swallowtail look? It relaxes me, and reminds that their job is to nurture, conserve and foster the expansion of our American G-d given riches. That’s the job of the President. So many before have neglected that responsibility. Teddy Roosevelt. Didn’t he model such thinking?

Jeff