Teary Moments . . . .

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.

She battled Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma from the moment she was diagnosed, nearly eight years and Stem Cell Transplant later. Leukemia’s ‘side-effect’ so weakened her, that the Hillman Cancer Center specialist told her, at her demand, that there would be no last-ditch sprint to the NIH in Washington, DC, for if she could not walk in the door, they would not treat her. She thanked him, demanded that we all go home for our Sabbath night meal, and passed away some 3 hours later.

Frieda A”H was in Hillman for a total of 150 nights, and her last 2 years were horrific. She was home one-half of the time those last years. She demanded that I continue my field excursions to find and photograph butterflies. She loved my work, and she loved beauty.

There have been less than a handful of times that I have come to tears in the field, after butterflies have startled me with inexplicable behavior? The first was with that Mourning Cloak. Now I must stop for a moment, for that Mourning Cloak rocked my boat.

This experience, chronicled in our new Feature, ‘Jeff’s Earrings,’ took me to a tear in each eye, with Sylbie there to capture it on film. My strong, strong resolve to not cry before women (Yes, guilty as charged) prevented me from a full cry.

When we posted ‘Jeff’s Earrings,’ I invited friends on NABA-CHAT to see it, and many hundreds accepted my invitation. Dozens of Georgians came too. Teary moments in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat, Eatonton, Georgia. The best place to see scores of different butterflies, no better place from Toronto to the Florida Panhandle.

Some have shared experience with butterflies that reduced them to pudding, so to speak. What do you make of this? Why? What are the associations that we make that open the floodgates of emotion? I ask you this.

Jeff

Feel the Excitement?

Pipeline Swallowtail Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Fort Indiantown Gap Military Reservation, PA

As we watch February 2017 wane, and we see our daffodils peak here, friends farther south of Pittsburgh are sharing images of perennials in bloom, and butterflies flying . . . now! Knock on wood, for the Weather.com forecast here calls for moderate temperatures in the next 2 whole weeks. Carramba!! With some of those 14 forecasts predicting temps above 60F, we can expect butterflies: Cabbage whites, Eastern Commas & Mourning cloaks, and you can almost ‘take that to the bank.’

This view is very special to me, enjoyed at the restricted military reserve in central Pennsylvania. You remember that I travelled there 2 years ago, in June, when it is opened for 4 days, for folks like us to see and go Pop-eye! at the sight of Regal fritillary butterflies. George Washington saw them throughout the colonies, but today, the only ones known to fly between Maine and the Panhandle are in this Fort Indiantown Gap Military Reserve, near Harrisburg, PA and near Penn State University. This instant look captures a very shmeksy! Pipevine swallowtail butterfly, at the thistle bar.

Those regal fritillaries fulfilled a long-term goal. Now what butterflies fly out at my field guides, as I turn the pages? Diana fritillaries in the mountains of northern Georgia (Who? to lead me to them??), Uncommon commas in northern Maine (once again, who??), Northern metalmarks & Swamp metalmarks in Ohio (That one is booked!), Great Purple hairstreaks (Virginia?), Dorcas coppers (That Ohio caper?), the 3 northern Fritillaries that I have yet to make the acquaintance of (Bog, Purplish & Silver-bordered), Viola’s Little Wood-Satyr (???) & Cofaqui Giant-skipper (Dare I ask my friend for another favor???) for starters. Then there is Texas, northeastern Texas (Dreamy!) and my eyes extend to Vancouver Island (With a very experienced resident).

2017, dare I to dream. With the ’06 Tundra willing, Petra (my black russian) eager, and sufficient resource$, the excitement just keeps bubbling up in me. Which of you feel that breed of excitement?

Jeff

Giant on Thistle at Oakey Woods

Giant swallowtail butterfly sipping nectar from thistle, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Wildlife Management Area, Kathleen, GA

A frozen moment in time, caught at Oakey Woods Wildlife Management Area. Mike and I were working the trails, hot, dry trails through Oakey Woods, he focused on flora, I scoping for butterflies.

This patch of thistle showed up, and we paused there, anticipating the traffic you see in this region, at Krogers or Publix. Sure enough butterflies came in and left. This Giant Swallowtail flew in, and, as they do, nectared furiously on the thistle flowerhead. I split my time well, spellbound and again determined to get this compelling scene on film. Appraisal? Like the thistle here, and like the Giant, wings nicely played with translucent sunlight and that left eye.

In Kathleen, Georgia, 738 miles from my Pittsburgh home, with a butterfly that I have seen twice in 27 years. Pleased to be in tow with Mike, a very committed, very serious botanist, who enabled, with great patience, my dilly dallying, each and every time I stopped to see unusual butterflies.

I am enjoying these experiences more and more often this last few years. Making trails with top naturalists, some birders, some orchid enthusiasts, and others botanists. Way too much fun!

Jeff

Very Exciting News! Jeff’s Earring . . . .

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

With much pleasure, I finally, invite you to enjoy my extraordinary and exciting! interaction with fresh, exquisite Eastern Black Swallowtail butterflies. We encountered this pair in August 2016, they coupled together, me stunned by their beauty. We were all at the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat, in Eatonton, Georgia.

By the end of this saga, I was adorned with an earring unequaled in beauty, beyond the ability of the workshops of Tiffanys, Cartier’s, David Webb and all the rest.

Sylbie Yon was there, at the right time, in the right place. The 6 featured images were captured by her. The Eastern Black Swallowtails and I will always be thankful for Sylbie’s images.

To view them, see the top of this wingedbeauty window, and click on ‘Jeff’s Earrings’ – Part 1 . . . after reading and viewing, go above once again and click on ‘Jeff’s Earrings – Part 2 . . . and then click on ‘Jeff’s Earrings’ – Part 3.

This sweet series was zippity-doodah! for Sylbie and for me. How I hope that you will provide us with feedback. Tell us what other wild butterfly earring experiences you’ve seen . . . .

Jeff