Hairstreaks Teach . . . Respect

Gray Hairstreak butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek Park, PA, 9/21/06

They’ve been good to me, these Yeats have. Hairstreaks? So, so many. Striped hairstreak was my first, seen in Rector, Pennsylvania at Powdermill Reserve (University of Pittsburgh aviary research station). Grays, Banded, Coral, White ‘M,’ Red-banded and Acadian. That’s what I met by the end of 2016.

2017 nicely expanded my Hairstreak list: Edwards hairstreak (Ohio), Clytie Ministreak (National Butterfly Center, Mission, Texas), Tropical Greenstreak (‘The Wall,’ Mission, Texas),Juniper hairstreak (Panola Mountain State Park, Georgia), Dusky-blue Groundstreak (National Butterfly Center) and Gold-bordered hairstreak (‘The Wall).

This 2018 is young still. As able, Oh, how I look forward to combing Ohio, Texas, Georgia and Nevada for hairstreaks and more. Dave enable me to reach out to the Georgia DNR’s folks, and they gave me a strong lead for finding Hessel’s hairstreaks in April. I wish.

That long said, I had to stop and well, admire this image of mine of a very shmeksy! and fresh Gray hairstreak. Now that I am in the big leagues of hairstreak chasers, what’s a fresh, gorgeous Gray mean to . . . me?

Truth be told, more than you’d like, hairstreaks found are not fresh, sporting wings with heavy scale loss (cause dulling of color). So down in the Rio Grande Valley, late December 2017, folks came speeding over when a rare hairstreak was found at ‘The Wall.’ I was there early, and some of them were rare, for sure, but long in the tooth, that is, kind of -worn looking.

Grays, like ours here, are usually seen in find color, fresh, perky and just pookies! They pose, prance on a flowerhead, and just demand that I shoot my Fuji Velvia, not hold back.

Rare, uncommon, OMG! hairstreaks excite, but an excellent Gray hairstreak still demands stop, look and shoot.


Panhandling, Finally

Wildflower with Skipper Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, Florida's Panhandle

I retired in February 2007. I Loved teaching high school Biology. My Vo-tech students weren’t college bound, but together we enjoyed teaching/learning Biology. The administration of that school often made my teaching life hellish, something about me being from “New York” and more. They continued that although they knew that Frieda A”H was in the later stages of a battle . . . with Cancer. When the Oncologists told us that Frieda would need a caregiver going forward (?), she suggested that I retire and put on my caregiver hat. I retired, ‘though it did not end well . . . .

After, after the shiva (sitting and receiving friends and family) I took stock = what did I want to do with my life, to contribute something substantive? I wanted to continue photographing butterflies. Modest budget, time own. Bust-out to Bolivia, Costa Rica, Senegal, Mongolia, the Rockies? No, that was not my thinking. No getting kidnapped, no gut wrenching gastrointestinal diseases, no Bolivia bus going over the edge, with me in it. The USA was my focus, and east of the Mississippi at that. Israel too, once a year, to see Rachel and Hillel and Boaz, and to head-out to the Galilee/Golan . . . and come home and tease my Christian friends, that I stopped in at Capernum and drove past . . . .

Florida, especially northern Florida was an Oh, 25 year destination dream for me. When NABA published their first Destinations article, of the wonders of Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, that was that, I was going there. There.

Here I am in the Spring Unit of Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, near Perry Florida. The Hampton Inn was OK. Big Bend was 20 minutes away.

Oh, the wonders of that place! I worked the trails, alone (again naturally) and there was so much to see, so many new butterflies and wildflowers. Liatris was just beginning to open that late August 2016.

Native, wild Hibiscus (correct ?) were eye candy. That this little Skipper obliged and came in to nectar bespeaks of the richness of the Florida Panhandle.


HolyLand Copper



Lycaena Thersammon photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mt. Meron, Israel

Lycaena Thersammon photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mt. Meron, Israel

What with memories of the Lower Rio Grande Valley’s butterflies still fresh in my mind, I’m especially intent on finding butterflies fresh, colorful and vital. This look at Lycaena thersammon sure fills that menu.

I had worked my favorite trail on Mt. Meron, in the Upper Galilee region of Israel, taking it to its end. I had copped many promising images of butterflies, but my trips to Israel are always too short, and I wanted more and better.

This sweetie rested on the twig, not too far from the trail’s start point. Color? Rich. Tails? Intact. Spots? Stark and dramatic. Condition? Fresh! Eyes, head and antennae? Excellent. I shot away.

That twig that the Copper butterfly is resting on is just some 2-3 miles from Lebanon, an armed camp overrun with Hezbollah, Iranian fanatical ‘advisors’ and their claim of 100,000 missiles aimed at Israel.

Butterfly stunners and young men pledged to murder . . . such is the Middle East today.


Who’s For American Coppers?

American Copper Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania, August 2014

Facebook has been a great boon for the growing admirers of butterflies. FB let us share our images of butterflies from all corners of the United States. FB brought us closer together, enabling me to introduce myself to Virginia, Barbara Ann, Angela, Peggy, Phil, Cathy, Rose and Jerry, Laurence, Marcie, Deepthi, Lois and so many more fantastic people.

Over these last years, FB has, I think, contributed to much of my travel abroad, in search of butterflies, as with Ian, and my own images of HolyLand butterflies, knowing that they will have a good platform to be seen and enjoyed.

What I have noticed, is that as the number of butterfly seekers increases, there is the search for rare, ‘uncommon’ butterflies. NABA, aka the North American Butterfly Association, in a way pushes this quest for rarities. FB often shares extra special finds at the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas. I was there in December 2017, and you sure get caught up in it, for in that week, I saw Erato heliconian, Red-rimmed, Mexican fritillary, Tropical leafwing, Gold-border hairstreak and more, much more. It was Wow! Wow! Wow! daily.

With the ability of almost ea$y travel to once remote American habitat, me thinks that there has been a concurrent near dismissal of more familiar USA butterfly species. Who among the well known butterfly photographers share shots of American coppers, for example?

This richly colored American Copper, at Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania easily compares with the often worn, bird-struck super-rare posts so more common nowadays.

After all, Who’s for American Coppers in 2018?