Acid Bog Blues

Open Pond at Allenberg Bog, photographed by Jeff Zablow in New York

We searched for this in 2016 and found it. Allenberg Bog in very western New York State. Found it, as you see here. A genuine sphagnum moss acid bog. Barbara Ann and I visited it 2 mornings in a row. 

You stand in the bog, your boots all the time sinking, 2 inches here, 4 inches there. That one time, the first day, I stepped onto a spot where the several feet thick moss hidden mat was not in place, and we both had jolt when I begin to sink nearly 2 feet into the abyss. Bye bye Jeffrey L? Thank G-d no, but I was Very Very careful after that.

In 2017 we tried again, but we could not find Allenberg Bog. It seems that the Buffalo Audubon Society that owns Allenberg Bog may not want us to visit it. We could not find it for the trail to it was allowed to grow wild, and trail markings were absent or hidden.

I wasn’t able to join Angela this year, 2018, at Bruce Peninsula in Ottawa, which I much regret. I so wanted to once again see Bog Copper butterflies and the fritillaries that can be found at acid bogs.

Here in Georgia, I am hoping that someone will do the heroics and lead me to good bog destinations. Now planning for trips in 2019, I am not encouraged that y’all will step forward and drop those bread crumbs ’til I am in such a bog. At Allenberg I stood there, impressed that this unique gem has remained unchanged for what 300 years? 500 years? No, 1,000 years?

This is what, the $64,000 Question?

Jeff

Thoughts On Going Back

Georgia Satyr Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, Florida's Panhandle

I learned long ago don’t go back. When your life paths go different ways, don’t go back. Move on to other objectives, for this world provides what. hundreds of millions of them, be they people, pursuits or objectives.

It’s gotten very cool here in central Georgia, and butterflies flew here in the backyard just 2 days ago, Checkered skippers, Cloudywings, Carolina satyrs and others. Looking out this window, I admit that I miss the Monarchs that were here 3 days ago, the Palamedes swallowtail seen in October, the squads of Gulfs all over my natives garden and the exciting singletons including: Pipevinve swallowtails, Spicebush swallowtails, Giant swallowtails, Great purple hairstreak, Variegated fritillary, Long-tailed skippers and dozens of others. This garden that I dreamed of, for what? 25 years or more, has been realized. Dozens of host plants enable to to hope that next year, their 2nd year in, will be Gangbusters!

Why ‘gangbusters?’ When ( and if? ) my treasured Hackberries, Cedars, Hercules Clubs, Hop trees, Native Black Cherries, Asters, Hibiscuses, Coneflowers, Black willows, Spicebush, Pipevines, Hollies, Milkweeds, Clethra, Pussytoes, Mountain Mints, Sassafras, Tulip Poplars, Crotons, Magnolias . . . . Yep, there all in, and if they go through this winter OK, OMG!

Where’s this headed Jeff? Well I scoured our Media Library here on wingedbeauty.com, and I saw images I am proud of, images that I knew are fine, for I knew how difficult it was to capture them, and yes, images like this one of a Georgia Satyr butterfly at Big Bend Wildlife Management Area in the Florida Panhandle. It was late August, and when I got there, sunny, hot and no wind, if was everything that the article in the Spring/Summer 2015 issue of American Butterflies had suggested, loaded with southeastern butterflies.

I was there to expand my bank of good images, and to see new butterflies. Georgia satyrs, “LC” ( Locally common ) as per Jeff Glassberg in Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America, were at the top of my list. They were there, and that side tram, 2 or 3 to be found. They were very docile, and allowed approach ( Macro- ).

I had on a fine coat of Off! so mosquitoes did not bother me. But, the humidity was brutal, and the sweat was overrunning my headband, onto my eyes and my glasses. I remember thinking that this was Nuts! I had travelled those 4 and 1/2 hours down from Eatonton, for just these moments, and now . . .  I could barely see clearly. If only Gunga Din was there with me, handing me fresh, dry glasses every 3 minutes.

That, and the built-in light meter in my Canon film camera was not working properly. I think I remember laughing there, what can happen next, a Burma python or 11′ ‘gator appearing from the swamp, just 10 feet away? I was on my belly, and disregarding my father’s teaching: Keep your guard up, protect your face, hold your ground.

So I share this image of the Georgia with you, knowing that only the really in-to-it haver stayed, this far into this blog post. Are there schools of thought for ‘Going back?’

I am stoked for 2019, my own garden lighting me up, and the strong inner push to get back there in April 2019, when that NABA article written by David Harder, Virginia Craig, Dean Jue and Sally Jue noted that Georgia’s fly once again. Florida Fish and Game took my call and they looked forward to Big Bend being workable soon, after that terrible Hurricane several weeks ago.

If you’ve read this far, I owe you a large lollipop, for sure.

Jeff

HolyLand Butterfly ID?

Hipparchia pisidice butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Meron, Israel

We’re on Mt. Meron in the Upper Galilee Region. Jews, Christians and Muslims value this region, at the very northern edge of Israel today. Me? I’m finding butterflies the entire time up on Meron.

I’ve already met some of them, most of them. Every once in a while, I catch a fleeting glimpse of a butterfly I do not know. One I never met before.

This one, Sherlock Holmes, is one new to me. Israel’s field guides? They’re helpful, but they are mostly written in Hebrew, and they have years to go before they can be described as ‘Excellent.’

This one is grouped with the Satyrs, but it differs much from the images in Dubi Binyamini’s landmark field guide.

Israeli Butterflies flee on approach, most when you’re 10-15 feet away. That to anticipate your cluriousity, ‘Why didn’t Jeff get closer?’

I hope that Yaron or Oz or Dubi will come along and help us here. What is this HolyLand satyr?

Jeff

No Tigers ‘Til . . . .

Male EasternTiger Swallowtail Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Cloudland Canyon State Park, GA

He seemed to have a plan, as he worked the Liatris in that meadow. Me? I was in very high mood, because a meadow of Liatris in bloom is a very good find, a near guarantee that you’ll see lots of butterflies.

Shooting film ( Fuji Velvia ASA 50 here in full sun ) at Cloudland Canyon State Park in the northwest corner of Georgia, I knew that a good capture here would be usable, very. His black and yellow pattern, wings free of bird/predator strikes and his fine head, those crisp, round and shiny eyes would go well with his defined antennae and active proboscis.

Score those blue dots on his hindwings and a tease of orange in those flashes on the trailing margins of his hindwings, that would help too.

Catch all that and the rich color of the Liatris, as well as the comely background tones that film usually does, and all would earn a serious checkmark, image achieved.

His leftwings, well, I’m not concerned. I already like this image.

Sitting here in central Georgia, with rain falling and the thermometer at 45F, I have to overcome this recurring thought ; No Eastern Tiger Swallowtails ’til wha? April 2019? Hmmmm. No Georgia satyr. No Eastern pygmy blue. No Goatweed Leafwing or Monarch butterfly. Buck up, Jeff.

Jeff