Baltimore Magic

Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Jamestown Audubon Center in New York

Jeff told Barbara Ann that they were flying, and we hustled over to that wetland section in the Audubon center in Jamestown, New York. I scored one of my most favorite images there, some 2 years before. A very fresh Baltimore, with full display of its magnificent dorsal wing surface, plus the red-top on the head, the Sunkist-orange antennae clubs and the strong black and white spotting on the abdomen.

When we reached the wetland area, I was tickled pink, for there they were, a fresh flight of Baltimore Checkerspot butterflies. The Audubon center planted the Baltimore’s hostplant, Turtlehead, and the appearance of the Baltimores was a joyful success.

It’s always the same, you search for and find Baltimores, and before you shoot away, you stare at them, hard and long. Their coloration and color pattern are near magical, design and color selected to amaze.

The only response to an afternoon or evening query, “How was your day?” on a Baltimore meet-up day must be, “Excellent! We saw Baltimores!!”

Jeff

Thanksgiving Day Telescoped

Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at the Jamestown Audubon Center in Jamestown, NY.

Sitting here at my iMac computer with its 27″ screen, and just out my window, here in central. Georgia what do I see? Cloudless Sulphur butterflies flying, seriously visiting the few native flowers in my November 22nd garden. I’m pleased, very.

I have so much to be Thankful for, my birthday just 6 days away. My family has its health, I have this, my strong, fulfilling interest, and, and 2019 beckons, calls to me. I am ready, willing and able to scour 2019 fens, meadows, marshes, medium mountains, swamps and such to find new and beautiful butterflies. Thank Y-u for That.

You’re seeing one of my top favorites images, a Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly seen at the Audubon Community Nature Center in Jamestown, New York. I very much want to enjoy such moments again, want 2019 to be a Bust-Out year for Boy Brooklyn.

So my impetuous mind is accelerating to the possible trips I’d love to make, with my brain trying hard to hit the brakes gently, with practical considerations galore.

I keep thinking Big Bend Wildlife Management Area in the Florida Panhandle. Lynx Prairie and Kamamama Prairie in Adams County, Ohio. Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge on the Georgia coast. Okefenokee Swamp here in Georgia. The Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas. 

All this telescoping ahead teases with other Wow! possibilities = Why not travel to find those Very Very rare butterflies that I’ve day dreamed of seeing for these many years: A very rare Satyr in Alabama; Pyle’s beloved Magdalena Alpine; the Bog Fritillary up north, a slew of Metalmarks; those Buckwheat loving Blues; the Sonoran Blue and a bunch of western USA Coppers.

Thanksgiving Day. A day to consider what you have to be Thankful for, a for such as us, a day to dream of future meet-ups with G-d’s winged beauties.

Jeff

“Let Me Count The Ways”

Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Jamestown Audubon Center, NY

We’ve grown. An increasing number of folks now follow wingedbeauty.com. Well, China, South America and Africa still lag behind in those who follow us here, but they are more than offset by our increased reach here in the United States, in Europe, Canada, the Middle East, Australia, Japan, and much of the Far East (Vietnam, Japan, Korea, Sri Lanka). I am so very pleased with knowing that friends from so far afield come to visit, and return again and again.

Growth here at home and abroad comes with interesting challenges. Many come along, and then share their own image captures. It doesn’t take more than a nanosecond for me to recall the images that I was scoring as many as 20 years ago. They were done with such determination, zeal and, absent in the field mentors, enough well, confusion, to make me shudder at how much I wanted to get OMG! looks, and how far I was from doing that, regularly.

A new friend arrived from Sri Lanka, very interested and very appreciative of whatever advice I might share. Share too much, and you risk overwhelming, share nothing at all, and me, I know how that vacuum feels.

So I return to one of my most valued images, this Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly, met at the Jamestown (NY) Audubon Center, before it’s name changed. This look tickles me a lot, for it gives you a whole host of this beauty’s beauty, from wingtip to wingtip, from palps to posterior end of its abdomen, and then those antennae, the head, eyes, the color sings too, as do the distinct markings that I’ve noted challenge Tiffany’s and Cartier and the living and long gone artisans of those jewelry workshops.

A favorite image, I ask, how many ‘standing ovations’ must it give you? How I’d Love to know your responses to this last query??? Peggy, Kelly, Virginia, Holly, Cathy, Jim, Sherrie, Katarzyna, Ian, Phyllis, Laurence, Angela, Lois ,Jim, Kathryn, Marcie, Kathy, Jill, Leslie, Paula, Barbara Ann . . . .

Jeff

Tete a Tete With Baltimores

Baltimore Checkerspot Caterpillar photographed by Jeff Zablow at Jamestown Audubon Center, NY

Last year I  captured one of my most favorite images, the Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly I met in Jamestown, New York at the fabulous Audubon Center there. That shot was shared here as a post, and enjoyed very heavy traffic. It’s the kind of look that gives me immense satisfaction, knowing that many dozens of you saw it, and some will, maybe, internalize it as their reference Baltimore adult look.

This 2017 we returned back, and this time Jeff, their very valuable Nature specialist, gave us directions to where we were likely to find Baltimore Checkerspot caterpillars, that last week in June.

We traced our way to that wetland trail, and amongst a goodly number of Turtlehead plants ( the hostplant of Baltimores ), there they were! Baltimore Checkerspot caterpillars.

Determined to cop a good image, I shot away, yep!, with my Fuji ASA 50 slide film.

Here is one of those Baltimore caterpillars. Near bizarre in appearance, and richly colored. Bold and standing out in a deeply green backstage.

I Love such beauty! You?

Jeff

Distracting Darner Dragonflies

Darner photographed by Jeff Zablow at Jamestown Audubon Center, NY

I just, just finished reading Travels of William Bartram ( Dover Publications, 1955, first published in 1928 ), Bartram’s travels through Georgia, Florida and other southern states in . . . the 1780’s. You know, I often wonder what this place and that place was like in the late 18th century. Bartram was a trained botanist, whose father hiked that land before him, and they both chronicled the flora, fauna, geology and topography of early Florida, Georgia, Alabama the Carolinas and Virginia. Our William Bartram describes the grasses, annuals, perennials, bushes and trees, especially the trees that he saw. They were, by today’s comparison, beyond belief! Yet he never exceeds, or exaggerates. He shares the wildlife, roebuck, bear, cats, snakes and birds, and Very Aggressive bands of ‘crocodiles.’

Especially readable are his accounts of the Creeks, Muscogulges, Cherokees, Seminoles and Choctaws. He lived with them, they befriended him. He shares their physical appearances ( way different than I expected, i.e., most of the Creek men were 6 feet tall or more, the woman also tall ). Bartram shares their games, their solemn ceremonies, too frequent skirmishes, and their near absolute respect of one another, absent the need for police. They had formal organization to govern themselves, they had ‘kings’ and they had slaves. His accounts of the woman also surprise, but you must read to learn more of that.

I, well, could not put this book down. If you’re like Barbara Ann, Angela, Mike A. or Dave, the rich, colorful introduction to the botany will mesmerize. I guarantee that.

Come to this comely Darner. My guides are inaccessible for a while, so short of searching for a name online, I leave it to you. Know that often butterflies are not seen for pieces of time, when we’re on trails, and again, I admit that making a calculated approach of a dandy Darner is a distraction that I sometimes . . . cannot pass up.

Jeff