Those Southern Viceroys

All Decked Out In Rich . . . .

Winged Beauty Butterflies

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

Our Viceroy butterflies here in Pennsylvania (8 hours west of New York City) are beautiful, elusive butterflies. We don’t see too many of them, they are now-you-see-me-now-you-don’t, and they are only found when 2 conditions are found together, wetlands and willow trees/bushes. No, my slide storage cabinet is not jam-packed with slides of Limenitis archippus. I have not seen as many of them as you would think. They are solitary butterflies and that means that you might see one here, see another later, a distance away there, and that second? Worn and wings bird-struck.

My trips to the U.S. southeast took me to the Land of possibilities. I might possibly find butterflies new to me. That I did: Georgia Satyrs, Giant Swallowtails, Little Metalmarks, Eastern Pygmy Blues, Zebra Heliconians (bold because that was a Kick!!), Juniper Hairstreaks, Cassius Blues, Palamedes Swallowtails, and more.

There was a type I wanted…

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Lasiommata Megara Emilyssa – The Image

Inching Up to Supersonics . . . .

Winged Beauty Butterflies

Lasiommata Megera butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Meron Lasiommata Megera butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Meron

It’s been four years. I’ve travelled to Mt. Meron in 2013, ’14, ’15 and in February 2016. This year the Israel National Parks Department closed off my favorite mountain trail. My guess is that storm damage during the winter destroyed so many Eastern Strawberry trees, that they just decided to leave the trail as is, and forbid hikers to use it.

This image of a cool brushfoot butterfly, Lasiommata megara emilyssa was appreciated back in 2013. This photo is the best I could get, for this species flees once you approach within 15 feet of it. I was pleased with this look, with its clear eyespots, wing patterns, antennae and other features. You might be wondering, Is that my shadow to the left of the butterfly?

Good for the time being as I am confident that future visits will score closer…

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What’s To Like Here?

Coupled Lycaena Thersamon Butterflies, Neve Ativ, Israel photographed by Jeff Zablow

They remained locked for 20 minutes that I know of. Lycanea Thersamon coppers, engrossed in that primary urge, the production of a new generation of copper butterflies. On the slope of Israel’s Mt. Hermon, we were away from the snow covered peak, away from the intercine battles fought that April 2017,  just down on the other side of Hermon. That meadow was blanketed with these little yellow blooms, and no shortage of perches there for interlocked butterflies.

I shot away, from many different angles. Months later, viewing the best of that series of images, I was pleased. I found much to like in several of the slides that I scored.

What did I like here? The rich color of the female on the right. Her distinct right eye and the brightly spotted right antenna. The crisp orange/black markings of the marginal spotting of her forewing and hindwing. The balanced positioning of her right legs. The satisfactory bristling of her wing borders. The discrete but muffled view of their terminal couple. His left antenna and his blurred, but still deep copper red dorsal tint.

Valued too is the seriousness of their look. Purposeful and important. Finally, I am reminded how much I like her spotting, and the whitish framing of each and every wing spot.

Shareable, that always my goal.

Jeff

Orchids Seduce

Orchid photographed by Jeff Zablow at Cedar Bog, Ohio

June 2017 came and that 4 hour drive to western Ohio held out the double promise of several days with Angela, Barbara Ann, Dave, Janet, Flower, Roger and Joe. Serious naturalists, with deep experience with orchids, butterflies and botany. Orchids were the priority for this multi-day field experience, but . . . I knew that we had, had to also encounter good butterflies. We just had to, judging from what they shared about our several critical destinations.

Ahead of all that, I wanted to see Showy Lady’s Slipper orchids, finally, once and for all. Jackpot! We met Showys in Cedar Bog. They were as large as advertised, though they were now hours past their peak. You just stood there, as you would if you were steps away from the Royal Family of Great Britain, well aware that you were in the personal space of extraordinary people. Here in Ohio, make that extraordinary orchids, opulent, very, very rare, and regal, very regal. We shared my image of the Showys in a blog several weeks ago.

At Cedar Bog, near Dayton, Ohio, the trail cut its way through wetland, and there these petite, seductive orchids sung to me. Their draw was unmistakable. They cajoled me, asking that I disregard my plan to save my Fuji Velvia 100 film for butterflies, and work to capture what they expressed in abundance, seductive glamour, natural and fleeting. I did, and share the result.

Grass pinks ( Calopogon tuberosus ). Certainly worthy of a more bewitching common name?

Jeff