Butterfly’s “Eyes”

Common Wood Nymph butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Clay Pond,  NY

I’m a guy who searches for eyes. Mine are blue, but that has nothing to do with this now. I travel much, to find butterflies with extraordinary eyes. When I find a butterfly with outstanding ‘eyes’ I will follow it until I can score alot of images. It’s all about getting exposures with comely, sharply focused eyes.

Eyes on the head of the butterfly? No. We’re after the ‘eyes’ found on the wings of many species of butterflies. They’re in italics because those are not the eyes that see. They are instead decorations on the wings. Their reason for being there has been much discussed, but there is no sure determination of why butterflies have retained their wing’s eyes for those thousands of years?

A trip of several days may be declared a major success if I’ve gained several good exposures of butterfly wings sporting great ‘eyes.’

This Wood Nymph butterfly rang my Alert! bells when I saw it. That large forewing ‘eye’ was crisp, prominent and film worthy. The smaller ‘eyes’ strung along next to it along sung to me.

I remember several people I have run across in my life, people with strikingly remarkable eyes, as that Afghan girl on the cover of National Geographic some years ago. Another, that girl who walked into my Biology HS classroom back at that Pittsburgh high school. From September to June, I was transfixed by them.

Winged beauties often stop such as us in our tracks, The Eyes! The Eyes!

Clay Pond, very western New York State.

Jeff

Wood Nymph Butterfly (Clay Pond)

Common Wood Nymph Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Clay Pond, NY

Clay Pond in very western New York state features acres of grass wetland. That day in 2016 there was a sizable flight of butterflies. I was seeing Wood nymphs, wetland Skippers, Satyrs, a Viceroy here and there, a Monarch or two and more.

My eyes were mostly searching for Wood Nymphs. Why? Ever since that day some years ago at Raystown Lake, Pennsylvania, I have been on the lookout for Wood Nymphs with attractive forewing ‘eyes.’

This one here was hiding in 4 foot grass. Once I made a successful approach, I liked what I saw, a lot. This Wood Nymph has scrumptious! ‘eyes,’ they encircled by rich orangeish borders, and those eyes have the bluish centers, something that I have always enjoyed finding.

One of my most sought after butterfly patterns, ‘eyes’ on a Wood Nymph that bring a smile to a Butterfly guy.

Jeff

Skipper On Break in Clay Pond Reserve

Skipper Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Clay Pond Preserve, Frewsburg, NY

Stats once again. It is my belief that 0.00038% of Americans are able to ID the Skipper butterflies of the northeastern United States, or the southeastern United States, etc. This translates to less than 4 people in 10,000 who can tell you the name of the Skippers where they live in the United States.

Self consciously, I admit to have difficulty identifying Skippers. This one here, seen at Clay Pond Reserve, in Falconer, New York State? Is it a Long Dash Skipper?

What it is, is fascinating. Starkly beautiful. Met in thigh-high grass in on marshy land, just 30 feet from the pond. Resting, though I forever wonder how they make the decisions they do, as here, to take a break. What is the level of conscious decision making?

This stuff triggers me, that’s for sure.

Jeff

Long Dash Skipper– a Polites mystic

Skipper Butterfly II photographed by Jeff Zablow at Clay Pond Preserve, Frewsburg, NY

It’s Skipper time. Here we were, at Clay Pond Reserve in western New York State. My eyes are peeled for Satyrs, Viceroys, Monarchs, Wood Nymphs, Angle wings. Rare and/or beautiful wildflowers are also appreciated.

The grass is thigh high, and the going is slow, for though the pond is only 50 feet away, this is a very wet read very wet meadow.

You see what I saw. A very beautiful skipper on a lush, colorful bloom. Arrgh! I try to make believe that I don’t see handsome skipper butterflies, because there are so many species of them about and I never did develop a working ID program in my head, to tell one from another skipper species.

That moment though, I thought, Hey! this is one of the more interesting Skipper species, it is totally occupied as it nectars the full flower head, and it’d make a fine image, if I can capture what I see and share it well.

June 2017, and I make this as a Long Dash skipper, nicely adorned, eyes good and proboscis well extended. And Barbara Ann, he is sipping at this (what kind do you think this is?) bloom.

Jeff

That Monarch Moment!

Monarch Butterfly In High Grass photographed by Jeff Zablow at Clay Pond Preserve, Frewsburg, NY

I keep my eyes peeled. Looking for beautiful fresh butterflies as well as good, unique looks. It’s constant scanning your periphery, searching for fliers, butterflies at rest, butterflies busy nectaring, coupled together, and always, fresh, beautiful butterflies. This blog is so much like a magnificent tiger in an enormous compound, for wingedbeauty’s visitors like it regular and as fresh as can be.

Mucking through Clay Pond Wildlife Management Area, in Falconer, New York (in very western New York State), I was keen on finding wetland butterflies, and especially satyrs. We did well, finding them here and there, mostly kicking them up as we struggled through the high wetland grasses. Late June, 2017.

What I did not expect to find was this rich, brilliant reddish orange, amidst the 3 – 4 foot grass. Whoa! This is not a satyr, not a Wood Nymph! A Monarch moment! Danaus plexxipus, at rest in this luxuriant marsh, just broadcasting this most beautiful smash of color. Know that I did not make my usual Macro- approach, for I did not want to disturb her Majesty, the Monarch.

(I do shoot only film ( Fuji Velvia ) and this rich, real-time color in this image delights me, truth be told).

Jeff