Female Bog Copper Butterfly

Female Bog Copper butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Allenberg Bog in New York

This sweet image of a rare cranberry bog butterfly, the Bog Copper was a real rush (translation: major joy) for me. It looked like she’d flown for more than one week, yet her black wing spots remained strong and distinct.

Visiting a true bog is a hard to forget experience. The footing is scary, the thought of you sinking down, way down, is well, concerning. They are usually much north of where you live, and the flora and fauna there evoke the feeling that it is actually 1,000 years ago, and nothing has changed, except . . ., that you are there, in that very bog.

I was there with Barbara Ann Case, not too far from her home in Frewsburg, New York. This was Allenberg Bog, owned by the Niagra Audubon Society. Barbara Ann’s passing continues to upset me. She introduced me to this cranberry bog, and that was typical of her desire to share her knowledge.

Jeff

Another Hidden From View Butterfly & Barbara Ann Case “OBM”

Eyed Brown butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Allenberg Bog in New York

I do delight when I introduce butterflies to you, that 99.99% of Americans have never seen. It so enthuses me, sharing the epiphany that G-d has bestowed upon us countless living things of beauty.

That’s the way I think, freed from those decades of working and raising my family. There has been, and continues to be, an infinite number of beautiful things about. Some can be seen at your doorstep (almost) and others have to be sought. This Eyed Brown butterfly soothes my long love of browns and versions of brown.

Seen at Allenberg Bog, with Barbara Ann Case. Very western New York State.

Barbara Ann left us on Friday, March 13, 2020. She led me through the almost unmarked trail, that took us to this gem of a peat moss bog. She was not in good health then, but she would not desist from heading out to, and exploring that spectacular, nearly unknown bog.

How will I find Allenberg this year? Who will lead me there? Who will fill the enormous void?

Jeff

We Have Lost . . . Barbara Ann Case

Barbara Ann photographed by Jeff Zablow at Allenberg Bog, NY

I am saddened to have learned just minutes before, that a superb authority on northeastern Orchids, Ephemerals and Botany has passed away, yesterday, March 13, 2020.

When I first shared messages with Barbara Ann, on Facebook, she went by the moniker MonarchMama. Would you have adopted that marquee name? She did, and she loved what it told of her: She was fully 100% dedicated to nurturing the development and health of Monarch butterflies.

She introduced me to many species, and her knowledge, patience and total glee when she would find extraordinary orchids in the field or on her own land in Frewsburg, New York cannot soon be forgotten.

My Condolences to her husband Sig Case.

Should her grandchild ever see this, he must know that she loved Kole, totally.

Jeff

Extraordinary People: Extraordinary Experiences

Barbara Ann photographed by Jeff Zablow near Allenberg Bog, NY

Some years back, I was stymied. I so wanted to find and shoot new butterflies, and new botany. Stymied because the United States is big, very big. How can you find new butterflies, when almost no one was willing to show me where they can be found. Almost no one.

Why folks refused (a strong word, but true) to invite me to drive 2, 4, 6, 8 or more hours, and be shown the habitat where new butterflies can be seen . . . long baffled me. Why would folks decline to show me? Why would they refuse/remain silent when I was willing to drive so many hours to meet them on trails, at park, refuge offices, etc.? If you’ve got a guy who is in young shape (Thank Y-u), reveres and respects habitat and the plants that live there, is very savvy and no namely pampby (thanks to my coming up on the real streets of Brooklyn), hikes well and for hours, loves butterflies and Never, Never collects or wields a net, and on and on, why?

When I met Barbara Ann on Facebook, she was posting about her beloved orchid excursions. I like orchids, know not too much about them and knew that trips to orchid habitat also end up encountering many many butterflies. I asked to join such, and Barbara Ann agreed to allow me to tag along.

That led to several trips from Pittsburgh to western New York State and Ohio, and more recently from Georgia to New York State and Ohio. So much new, so much beautiful and so much to long remember.

I met Angela through Barbara Ann, she another extraordinary lover of orchids and wildflowers and ephemeral and more.

Here’s  Barabra Ann carefully searching for wildflowers and more at Allenberg Bog, home of sundew, pitchers plants, bog cranberries and Bog Copper Butterflies.

Locating much that we share here becomes easier, when you encounter extraordinary people. They open extraordinary experiences, of indescribable beauty and learning.

Jeff

Vegas Says You’ll Never Meet This One

Dorsal View of Bog Copper Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Allenberg Bog in New York

Jeff sooo wanted to meet up with Bog Copper (Lycaena epixanthe) butterflies. Barbara Ann shared that there was a little known, almost never visited bog near her home, Allenberg Bog, in very western New York State. We agreed that Allenberg may have Bog Coppers, if we go during their very brief ‘flight.’

When to go? They only fly when their hostplant, cranberries, are going into flower.

The opportunity to finally meet this rare butterfly, found only in cranberry bogs in New York, New England, Michigan and Minnesota, was too sweet to pass up.

We followed a very overgrown trail, from where we parked on the side of the road, and after several wrong readings of almost non-existent trail markers, there was Allenberg Bog, replete with Pitcher Plants and Sundew Plants in bloom. The tiny bog cranberries were also in bloom, and there were the Bog Coppers, they something past the mid-point of their brief flight.

Here is a Bog Copper, perched on Cranberry leaf. She was adorable, and I had met, and shot Bog Coppers. Not need to mention how I almost sunk down toooo deep into that unfathomable bog’s depth.

You? Vegas passes on that Your chance of seeing one, at the rate you’re going is 726 to 1.

Jeff