Is the Tawny Emperor My Second Most Favorite Butterfly?

Tawny Emperor Butterfly on Rocky Ground photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Not much secret that my favorite butterfly is the Mourning Cloak Butterfly. Many have read of that surreal experience I had just weeks after the loss of Frieda A”H. That Mourning Cloak unsettled me, and I admit that I was unable to suppress tears that day. Whenever I am fortunate enough to again see a Mourning Cloak, I am instantaneously moved, much. Butterflies can do that, no?

Asked what is my #2 favorite butterfly, here I’m forced to think. Candidates for that distinction are the Great Purple Hairstreak, the Milbert’s Tortoiseshell, the Compton Tortoiseshell, the White M Hairstreak, the Two-Tailed Pasha (the HolyLand) and the Tawny Emperor.

Here’s a gorgeous Tawny Emperor butterfly, dazzling my eyes in a sea of browns and tans. At Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania, just 8 hours from Broadway, New York, New York.


Hung In My Home

Tawny Hackberry butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Of the 60,000 or 80,000 exposures I’ve shot over the years, a handful have been printed and archivaly framed by artisans of their respective trades. Which captures did I choose to have Gerry Hare print in his darkroom?

I charged Gerry with printing images that moved me, pleased me. Images that were nearly impossible for me to capture. Images whose color and form and overall Geshtalt made me Happy, fulfilled.

Our new home in North Macon, Georgia has several of my favorites, framed prints done meticulously done by Gerry, as his renowned father, Red Hare taught him to do.

This may well be my all time favorite. It hangs in my home, a reminder of the morning that I snapped it, on that Fuji Velvia film, on the Wetland Trail in Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania. I felt that G-d was with us that early morning, having set up a butterfly then new to me. A butterfly so elegant as to take my breath away.  It’s wings were fresh, their colors among my favorite browns, creams and near blacks. Its wings seemed too large for this good-sized butterfly. It’s body, a miracle of engineering. Its antennae knobs, as tiny headlights in the early morning haze.

That this Tawny Emperor (Hackberry) butterfly remained in place while I maniacally copped some 40-50 exposures, that too was a gracious Miracle. Was I nearly silently begging G-d to keep this mystical mirage there, keep it in place? Yes, to that.

Hung here in my home, with Hebrew calligraphy set in the frame matting, that hand done by a revered, now long gone Rabbi. It’s translation?  ‘How Great Are Thy Creations, G-d?”

The most beautiful Tawny to have flown in the USA in the last 200 years? Truth be told . . . I Think so.


Boxer Puppies & Choosing Favorites

Tawny Hackberry butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

When I was a kid in my Brooklyn, there began a spate of night home entries, through windows. It frightened our street, alot. My mother and father agreed to my plea to get a dog. Which dog did I tell them we should get? A stout, bull chested boxer. I scoured the For Sale ads in the New York Daily News Newspaper for Boxer Pups for Sale. I wanted American Kennel Club registered litters only. Found a good enough add, from a boxer owner in Long Island, New York,

In those days, a drive from Brooklyn to Long Island was a big deal, absent today’s highways. We went, and it was a litter of 7 boxer pups. The owner was friendly enough. I fell IN LOVE with a male pup, he with those scrumptious boxer markings on paws and chest and he had a well formed head. I was sooo excited. I told her (the owner) “I want this one!” She paused, and quietly said, “I’m Sorry, He Was Picked By Somebody.” Ouch! Ouch! I was a young teenager . . . I breathed deeply, went back to the pups and made a second, OK choice. Again . . . “Picked.”

I chose another pup, and I did come to love him, but lookee here, many decades later, the experience burned. We later had other boxers, always the same story, and it happened again and again when we purchased Bullmastiff pups. Petra was born in Lumberton, Mississippi, and I had CHOICE of the 5 female pups the owner of the Sire had (litter of 9). I chose Petra.

Choosing and Favorites are sticky issues. I’m the father of 4 children, and Frieda A”H and I agreed, and held to it, to never, never, NEVER crown one of my children as a favorite.

Comes my love of photographing butterflies, and things are different. I’ve been Blessed to do alot of it, in the USA, Canada and Israel. No longer the wealthy man I was in the 1980’s, travel to Americas west, Alaska, Israel (I’ve been there at least 10 times), Arizona’s southeast, State of Washington, Sri Lanka and Trinidad are fast becoming  . . . dreams.

The images, the thousand or so that stand out, have and continue to provide me with memories, love and substantial feeling of achievement.

Which one of the more than 100,000 is my favorite. This one, in Patrick Adams’ Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania. For the Sri Lankans, Chinese, French, Estonian, UAE, Saudi Arabian and Polish followers, this state park is a 9 hours drive due west from New York, New York, where the Statue of Liberty stands.

Why is this Tawny Emperor image my Favorite? See my earlier posts, for that.


Who Sees Us?

Tawny Hackberry butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

We got to thinking? has been posting butterflies and their tales for 6 years now. Who’s come to visit? We checked, and, well it’s something to consider. Visits are registered as ‘views.’ We sought the answer.

We’ve been visited by people from 133 countries. I liked that, for it meant that Virginia C Linch’s Briar Patch Butterflies and Blooms Habitat has come to the attention of folks in every corner of the world.  Eatonton, Georgia, brought to the attention of folks in Syria, Mongolia and Chile.

Me? It’s fascinating to find where we’ve enjoyed heavy web traffic (the USA of course, with more than 360,000,000 people) and unexpectedly light traffic (Peoples Republic of China, with 1,6000,000,000 people who have registered only 55 views).

Make of this what you will: Canada – 1,679 views    Israel – 1,305 views     United Kingdom – 938 views     Brazil – 557 views     India – 445 views     The Netherlands – 382 views     Australia – 283 views     Switzerland – 270 views

Germany – 247 views     France – 218 views     Japan – 72 views     Sri Lanka – 69 views     Mexico     – 65 views     Saudi Arabia – 54 views     Viet Nam – 23 views     Slovenia – 16 views     Iraq – 8 views     Estonia – 7 views

Panama – 5 views     Tonga – 4 views     Puerto Rico – 2 views     Kazakhstan – 1 view     Guatemala – 1 view     Uzbekistan -1 view     Iran – 1 view     Bosnia & Herzegovina – 1 view &  Bhutan – 1 view

This image shared here is one of my all times favorites. Prints of it hang in the homes of friends whom I admire. Why is it a favorite of Jeff’s? It’s stark beauty, regal pose and to me, improbable wing dimensions continue to mesmerize me, honest. That it has been seen by many, and that it may well have pleased and teased many, is the ballast that helps me sail on.


Two Joys!

Tawny Hackberry butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Please allow me to share 2 Joys! with you.

The Joy of these wonderful Holidays with their anticipation of the new, only to be imagined, year 2015 and the Joy I always sense when I see this, one of my most favorite images.

Image of? A Tawny Hackberry butterfly, toasting its wings in the earliest morning sun, at Raccoon Creek State Park in beautiful southwest Pennsylvania, USA.

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and a Happy New Year.