Zebra At The Briar Patch

Zebra Heliconian butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat I, Eatonton, GA

The juice is flowing for sure. Sampling the many new shares on the internet, they of fresh, exquisite, purposeful butterflies, brings us to these months that we have so waited for in the United States. We’re now in the latter half of Spring 2018. Each and every trip into the yard, to a State Park, Wildlife Management Area, National Wildlife Refuge or Monument . . . holds the promise of exquisite beauty, reunion with your favorite butterfly species and, the potential to see NEW. New for the year, new for the county, new for the state, and, as in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, new for the United States!!

Our Zebra Heliconian butterfly here was at the Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat I in Eatonton, Georgia. May 2017.

I study this beaut, on strong Tithonia (Mexican Sunflower) and Thank G-d that I am among the few, the fortunate, who head out to see such magnificent creatures.

Jeff

Eastern Black Swallowtails Coupled

 

 

Earring Series - Blackswallowtail butterflies coupled, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

A better image of the pair, with the female’s dorsal side in view

I look at this image, photographed Oh so many months ago, in the Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat (Eatonton, Georgia) and experience much encouragement. Much.

I detach myself from subjectivity, and walk myself away from my deep connection to this image capture. I study it, with these 2 Eastern Black Swallowtail butterflies, she closest to us, he with wings closed and mostly hidden from us.

Truth be told, I am very proud of this photo. Such beauty, grace and form. Sylbie Yon’s shot, taken some minutes later, has been viewed hundreds of times, and can be seen in the series she shot there and then, in our “Jeff’s Earring” section.

That morning was unforgettable.

Jeff

The Next Red-Banded Hairstreak Butterfly

Red-Banded Hairstreak butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

I scored this photograph of a Red-Banded Hairstreak in the Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat (I) in 2017, Eatonton, Georgia. When I saw this one, standing motionless on a Tithonia leaf, it was let’s get to the battle stations! Why? My 1/1,000 of a second assay of this beaut noted those wide red bands, nice blue patch, patented large black spot with a bit of red showing over it, good tails, fine overall color and it looked fresh!

Funny that. I never pass up a Red-banded without first giving it a good look. After all these years of seeking butterflies, I can’t say the same about Cabbage white, Red-spotted purples, Question marks, Eastern tailed blues, many Skippers, most Monarchs, and the list goes on.

There is something about Red-banded hairstreaks that stops me. Up to 2014, I’d read that Southern red-bandeds were more colorful than those up north. Finally in 2015, I drove south to this very same Briar Patch Habitat, and yes, true it was that the Red-bandeds of the South were, well, sweeter to the eye.

These last months I’ve seen amazing butterflies in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, especially at the National Butterfly Center: Malachites, Red Rim, Erato Heliconia, Tropical Leafwings, Gold-Bordered Hairstreaks, 1,000,000 Queens, Mexican Fritillary.

Even so, I’m confident that I’ll stop at the very next Red-Banded Hairstreak I see, expectant, hoping that it surpasses this sweetie here, and also hoping that if it does, I can capture the essence and finery it boasts.

Jeff

A Darner in The Briar Patch (Habitat I)

Darner dragonfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat I, Eatonton, GA

I can’t be the only one. I’m sure others do too. Working through the Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat in July 2017, I saw this handsome Darner (Dragonfly?). Yes? No? It was too fine to pass up, so I made my approach (I shoot Macro- . It did not flee. I came in, within 18″ and shot away.

I was born during WWII and I still remember the Current Events reports my classmates had to give in PS244. Many students chose the really unpleasant reporting of America losses in battle that week in Korea. Then with Viet Nam I was an Artillery Officer, but our NYARNG unit was not sent over. With the contemporary war in Iraq and Afghanistan; the ever present concern that Israel will be engaged by its neighbors; the immediate carnage in Syria and now the of-concern-to-me build-up of PRChina’s military machine . . . all this and more has nurtured a lifelong begrudging respect for airplanes, jet fighters and now missiles.

When I watched Darners do their daredevil flying in those empty lots in Brooklyn, I became a forever fan of these amazing creatures.

When this slide came back from Dwayne’s Photo in Parsons, Kansas I was pleased with the delicate capture of wings, the fair sharing of the head, abdomen as well as the nice muting of the background in soft color.

I thought this look served Darners well. They do what they do (capture their prey in mid-flight, at dizzying speed). As with our USAF fighter jets, they fly above and serve. Never, never have they harassed or assaulted me, even after thousands of hours in the field, darners everywhere.

Jeff