This Viceroy Stunned Me!

Viceroy butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at the Butterflies and Blooms Habitat in Eatonton, GA

This super-charged my eyes and rocked my mind! It was early morning in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia, Virginia’s in-town miracle. I do especially like Viceroy butterflies, and I’m always on the lookout for an extraordinary one. This photo shot me to the moon, it did. Why?

  • Our Viceroy star here posed, in excellent form, long enough for me to cop many images, and super-like this one.
  • This was a Macro- shot, me having to be very very close, and he/she allowed me to close the space between us.
  • The colors it wore are so very sweet, reminding me of those many many visits to the finest of the jewelry houses in NYNY back then. G-d here shares colors that Cartiers must quietly . . . envy
  • Viceroys prefer habitat near much water, the B & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat had willows, but little water, so why were we so blessed with this visit?
  • Every aspect of this Viceroy butterfly is gorgeous. You slowly scan it and more and more finery is seen.
  • Frieda A”H loved fine jewelry, and as I stood at this beauty, it so evoked for me memories of how . . . .
  • My goals remain the same: Chief among them is to score images as good as or better than those in the best of the Butterfly field guides. I did that here, I’d like to say.
  • Why? Why? was I so fortunate to be there, at this place, at this time, enabling me to meet such Beauty! A moment earlier or a moment later and . . . . Will of the Wisp they used to call it.
  • I suspected then, that if I could capture the essence of this magnificent creature, that some whom I much respect would be pleased, and would say so. That is the wind to my sails. You do it for me.

Jeff

You Never Meet Your Fav Movie Star At A Chic Cafe

Viceroy Butterfly on Sumac (Woody Pond) photographed by Jeff Zablow at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, GA

This is how it happens. You never ever will meet your favorite heart throb movie star at a chic cafe for coffee and babka. You also almost NEVER meet a butterfly you so want to photograph in exactly the place, time and weather that you’d like to.

I’ve been startled, startled over these years when, without warning or anticipation, I’ve met butterflies that were GORGEOUS and chose to set down in a landing site that was perfect for me. Off of the top, some opps I’ve missed, me caught off guard and not expecting deliverance, included unexpected meeting with Mourning Cloaks, Common Mestras, Compton Tortoiseshells, Goatwood Leafwings and Orange-barred Sulphurs.

We were working the trail that’s 4 feet from Woody pond in Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, along the Georgia coastline. We were near native Sumac. The day before, the Georgia Native Plant Society had shared a Facebook post, of the wonderfulness of native Sumac. That blew up all the negatives I’d heard, back in New York City, of the Sumac that always invaded empty city lots and those tiny city back yards and gardens. Alien Sumac it was, and Sumac became a dirty word, for me.

Suddenly, this big Viceroy flies in, and begins slowly nectaring on the native Sumac. Well I have a fondness for Viceroys and I’d been given a Re-Education about Sumacs the day before! Mamma Mia!! Viceroy supper fresh, big and richly hued . . . and Sumac in an eye-pleasing setting!

The Viceroy was well within the Sumac branches, meaning that my images would, should show part Viceroy in sun and part Viceroy in Sumac-shade. I shot away!

Here’s the image of a beautiful Viceroy, don’t know if male or female, on a healthy, native Sumac in early bloom. You’ll be as lucky as anything if you ever meet your favorite, smile pleasing star for coffee in the perfect sidewalk cafe, on the perfect day, you unhitched and carefree. No?

Jeff

Upon Meeting A Fresh Viceroy

Viceroy butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at the Butterflies and Blooms Habitat in Eatonton, GA

When you are out and about seeking butterflies, there are moments that require that you stop and marvel, stop and question.

Upon meeting a fresh Viceroy Butterfly, you:  a) Carefully check and see if that black line extends across the last 1/3 of the hindwings b) Confirm that it is smaller than a Monarch Butterfly c) Review in your mind the habitat you are standing in, for Viceroys stay close to wet habitat and they prefer the close presence of their hostplant, Willows d) Roll your mental ‘Rolladex’ to compare your instant Viceroy with the beauty of the other Viceroys that you have seen and shot before d) If the Viceroy is as handsome as this one seen here, you Hope/Pray in your given nanosecond that it tolerates your presence and allows you to shoot away!

When I met this amazing Viceroy in Virginia’s Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia, I knew I’d met a very special Viceroy. All of the above happened, and now, I am pleased, much.

Jeff

Viceroy Gazing

Viceroy Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow in Kelso Swamp, Fayette Township, PA

Scrolling down our Media Library, I stopped when I reached these 3 images of a Viceroy Butterfly. I was in Kelso Swamp in Fayette Township in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Viceroys are easily spooked, meaning that if I try to get closer for a better image, this handsome Viceroy will go. Be gone.

That inviting blue sky, the Viceroy resting with wings fully extended, wings that were full, fresh and beautiful, made this image a keeper for me.

Looking at our celebrity butterfly here, during this stay at home thing, inspires me, much.

Viceroy gazing, difficult to do, for finding a Viceroy when you’re far from a pond, creek or lake, and far from its chosen willow trees and shrubs . . . is a chance in 50,000.

Jeff

Decades of Love

Viceroy Butterfly on Sumac (Woody Pond) photographed by Jeff Zablow at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, GA

I imagine that you have yours, for I know that I have some myself. These decades of searching for butterflies in North America and the Middle East (Israel) have produced a very short list of butterflies that I especially love.

Here at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, along the Georgia coast, my imagination was caught by this native Sumac bush. It grew within. a foot or two of Woody Pond. That pond is the home of herons, storks, ibises, rails, egrets and alligators. Ellen Honeycutt has written of the Sumacs native to Georgia, and this Brooklyn boy was fascinated, Fascinated because 1/2 of my adult life, spent in and around New York City, I’d always heard that Sumacs (alien) didn’t belong, despite that there were 10’s of millions of alien Sumacs thriving thereabouts.

As I was examining this Woody Pond Sumac, it just beginning to bloom, who flies in? One of my butterfly favs, this Viceroy butterfly (Limenitis archippus). The Sumac kept it in partial shade, but the deep, rich color of this Viceroy was compelling, and there I was admiring a handsome specimen of one of my favorites, most beloved butterflies.

Decades of Love triggered, at Laura’s Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge.

Jeff