Amongst the Giants

Giant swallowtail butterfly on tithonia, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

Mornings giddily photographing southern and northern butterflies, in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat, Georgia, midway between South Carolina and Florida, midway between Atlanta and Savannah, sort of.

I’d seen a Giant Swallowtail in my own Pittsburgh side yard this past September 2015, and that was a Thrill! She was worn, and had some time ago seen her magnificence disappear, scale by scale.

August 2016 here, and I know what I want. I want to shoot Giants and score their rich color, and the deep, warm color of the blooms they are visiting.

There are 3, 4, 5 flying around here, they come, they go. Much mystery surrounds that, but too busy to explore such behavior.

Jeff amongst the Giant Swallowtails, among the largest butterflies found in the United States of America.

So, here is what I want to share, the especially gorgeous coloration of the ventral surface of a Giant’s wing. A fresh, strong, handsome Giant, nectaring atop a lusciously tinted Mexican sunflower  (Tithonia), in one of America’s finest butterfly Habitat. Wings aflutter, yellow, black, burnt orange, baby blues, all the way to that nifty tail. Good. Very good.


Rare Butterfly (Israeli) With American Cousins

Parnassius mnemosyne butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Hermon, Israel

I went there to see if I could meet rare butterflies. We took the lift (I am not good with height!) to the 7,ooo foot peak of Mt. Hermon. On the top of this Israeli mountain, success! I met and photographed several species of butterflies, only found on the mountain-top, at the northern border of Israeli and Syria’s bloody bones. Eran is a bull of a guy, and he lugged liters of water, enabling us to continue in that 93F Middle Eastern heat.

I share this today, January 1st, 2017, New Years Day, because I look to this ’17 as a year to extend my list of new butterflies seen and shot.

This butterfly is Parnassius mnemosyne, rare and Protected.

Is it one of the White butterflies? No. Would you have guessed that . . . its American cousins are the . . . swallowtails?

Where in the U.S. are our American Parnassians? You have to travel west of the Mississippi River to find American parnassians.

See, that’s the kind of 2017 I’m looking for, challenge, excitement, new, new, new and fascinating, interesting and compelling, very compelling.

Know this, I will give it my All. To 2017!


Pipevine on Bergamot for the Holidays

Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow as it perched on Bergamot flower at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania, 7/31/14

With Bergamot in bloom, and an especially good year for it, as it was back here in 2014, there I was on July 31. This was a goldmine that day, in Raccoon Creek State Park, July 31st. Shovel in hand, of course not. Camera instead, with Fuji Velvia film, man and camera seeking rich color.

The flying lanes in this corner of Doak field were busy, and my patience paid off, when this very fine Pipevine butterfly burst on the scene, and was at this very nearby Bergamot flowerhead.

Skipper butterflies interest some, Satyrs interest some, my experience is that Monarchs and Pipevines interest all. Especially when sunlight reflects off of their OMG! wing and body colors.

Right time, right place, right conditions . . . and enough patience to await reward. And reward there was here. G-d’s bounty of color, mutually assuring Pipevine and Bergamot their respective sustenance and success.

Merry Christmas tonight and Happy Chanukah tonight. Good. Very good.


Me? I’m Dreaming . . . of 2017

Allancastria Cerisyi butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow in Hanita, Israel

Here we are in late October of ’16. We here in southwestern Pennsylvania now see an Orange sulphur butterfly here and there. Maybe a worn Mourning cloak butterfly in Frick Park or in Raccoon Creek State Park. Virginia and friends daily share on Facebook, Monarchs, Swallowtails, Gulf Fritillaries and American Ladies. We are checking where we left our snow shovels, Virginia, Stanley, Nancy, Cathy and Marcie are stalking butterflies.

Somehow that got me to thinking of my next trip to my grandsons in Israel. Two hours waiting for my Pittsburgh flight to New York, then some 3-5 hours wait for my El Al flight to Ben Gurion International airport in Tel Aviv. Meet my daughter Rachel at the beautiful airport, then we rent a Hertz car and drive the 1-hour plus to her home, north of Hadera, not too far from mysterious Caeseria.

Three, perhaps 4 weeks as Rachel’s guest, in their bomb shelter equipped 3rd bedroom . . . and at least 2 long drives north, to the Upper Galilee and north Golan regions. Objectives? #1 Butterflies. #2 Wildflowers and especially rare Orchids and Irises.

In the Galilee and Golan, I pass, see, photograph next to Christian sites that would so excite so many of you. Yet, to date, not a single taker, to my suggestion, book when I do, and let’s roam . . . .

Oh, and what the Media scares you with, that Israel is dangerous, is a whole lot of Hooey (whatever Hooey is).

On a recent trip, I set out to find an endangered swallowtail-relative, Allancastria cerisyi. Well here he is. I found them near a small Galilee village. They fly wildly, and then, unexpectedly, stop, and well, pose. 10-15 exposures, and Zoom!! gone. Then I went on to find the next male, and repeated this minuet. The females, well they were mostly hiding, but when I found one, she usually stuck around a bit, as I softly whispered to her. Totally Fun, and very Rewarding that! Funny, quite rare, but if you find them . . . there they are. Amazing I think.