Zebra, Lynx & Edwards With Weed

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

I was still kind of stunned to be in prairie . . . in Ohio! Somehow, through good fortune and the wisdom of folks who fought to protect Lynx Prairie Preserve, this very, very unique eastern prairie has been preserved, for all to enjoy. Fortunately, most don’t visit there; they are lost to the allure of asphalt, brick, concrete, steel, neon and such. Me? I grew up with that stuff, asphalt, concrete, brick. Following Angela, Joe, Barbara Ann and Janet into  a prairie? Words can’t be summoned to properly describe how happy I was to finally see my, my prairie.

I’m telling you it was lush. June 2017, and an open prairie full of wildflowers. Full too with butterflies! My beat. Butterflies.

Here, very healthy Butterflyweed is deep in that comely shade of orangish-red, and must surely be pumping sugary nectar like a micro-gusher. In came this Zebra swallowtail butterfly, joining an Oh! so fine Edward Hairstreak, all on the Lynx. They are doing weed as is appropriate.

Jeff

American Butterflies Magazine (Summer 2017) & Parnassian Mnemosyne

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

I finished reading Harry Zirlin’s article in the Summer 2017 issue of American  Butterflies (NABA), and ‘Go Tell It On The Mountain’ by Zirlin is a tour of the US Parnassian butterflies. Funny that, I’ve not yet met an American parnassian butterfly, but did have that exciting meet-up with Parnassius mnemosyne syra on the peak of Mt. Hermon at the northern limits of Israel.

Harry brought back exciting memories of that day in June, and especially exciting was the moment when this beaut flew in and nectared on these ground-covering blooms!

This Israeli parnassian, distant cousin to the swallowtail butterflies, is a threatened species, and is found only on this 7,000 foot high mountain peak. It survives in an austere habitat, that also features still undiscovered land mines, from earlier battles on the mountain (Eran and I found one, before it found me!).

Jeff

Daddah Da Da Dah Da!

Earring Series - Blackswallowtail butterflies coupled, photographed by Jeff Zablow at

A better image of the pair, with the female’s dorsal side in view

Can’t sound the trumpets. for I have no trumpets. But these last days have produced Big News, news neglected by Reuters, the AP, Washington Post and the Atlanta Journal-Consitution.

The news is potentially very good news. In Eatonton, Georgia, there is that gem of a Habitat that I’ve posted about. Visited it 9 times in these last three years, each visit a 688 miles drive from Pittsburgh. Pennsylvania. For our international followers, this Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat is in the Deep South, east of the city of Atlanta, and 2 hours west from the Atlantic coast and beautiful Savannah.

Why did I go there so many times? A hard-working visionary, Virgina C Linch, with sweat, tears and a little bit of blood, prodded several volunteers to work with her to create a butterfly oasis in the center of a small city, Eatonton. They plowed, dug and hauled in topsoil and compost, and converted a brownfield ( at one time an aluminum factory and employee housing ) into butterfly . . . well, heaven. 90% of the 29,715 plants and trees set in there were native, most chosen because they were butterfly magnets, hostplants for butterfly caterpillars.

It worked. It flourished. On any given morning, I would ID 20 or more different species of butterflies on the wing there. These Eastern Black Swallowtail  butterflies were there in 2016. Do they not challenge your beauty gauge indicator?

So . . . just a few weeks ago, the city of Eatonton, county seat of Putnam County, announced that the land, leased to the Habitat ( for a nominal fee ) . . . was to be sold to a developer!! Virginia Linch was stunned. She, without any complaint, had logged 256,881 hours of work in it, spent small  bundles of her own money, smiled heartily when folks made contributions for plants and material, and went there every day after work, something that is hard for us to get our head around. Finish work, and then go spend hours in the heat, weeding, watering, planting. Who today commands such fortitude?

A good number of folks let there voices be heard! What? Scuttle this beautiful site, deprive our kids of this experience? Destroy perhaps the 2nd best location in the US to see a wide variety of butterflies? Created a mini-quake in Eatonton, and got certain anonymous folks really riled up.

A meeting was called. People spoke to the Eatonton City Council. The Council made an offer. The City will move it to a permanent location, provide personnel and equipment to do so, enable the move to be after the hot summer weather, provide city water to the site, provide bathrooms on site and more.

Virginia took several days to think, prayed much, and then called a meeting of her stalwarts. Her decision ( I told her that she could easily pack her pruning shears and never look back ) . . . . . . . . . .She would accept the Eatonton offer!!!!!! Yay!!!!!!!

Imagine in a few years, the 1st Annual Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch Convention? Will you be there? Will Robert Michael Pyle be the Keynote speaker at the seminars that surely will be part of this gala 3-4 day event???

Don’t you love a good end to a worthy story?

Jeff

The Smile Of A Lifetime

Earring Series - Jeff Zablow with Black Swallowtail 'Earrings' - on Arm, at

Sylbie shoots away, and the pair move to my upper arm.

I scan the images in wingedbeauty’s ‘Media Library‘ when I prepare to post anew, and truth be told, I always pause when I see this series of images, shot last year, 2016 in the Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia.

Pause, to reflect on how happy I was. How thankful I was. How emotional those 10 or 15 minutes were, when Sylbie Yon arrived unexpectedly, and that pair of Eastern Black Swallowtails, coupled tightly together, flew onto me.

Since Frieda Z”L passed, butterflies have brought me to tears, several times. They so evoke Her Memory, and so flummox me when that rush is triggered. The initial moment of loss/despair . . . vanishes quickly, and it’s replaced by how much Love there was, and support there was for this well, different (to most) passion of mine. And, how such floods of beauty are extraordinary, yet so very real.

in the beginning of this odyssey, family and friends struggled to understand. Photographing butterflies? Won’t make you rich? Sends you into swamps (mosquitoes), meadows (ticks), fens (travel to see a meadow ?). Came the time when those family and friends became resigned to what I do, and on the rare occasions that I showed up in an image, noted, more often than not, The Smile of a Lifetime. A fine Rx, No?

Jeff

NB, Have you seen the “Jeff’s Earring“series, with the click-on button at the top of your screen?