Why Do It? Virginia

Winged Beauty Butterflies

Virginia Cinch in the Briar Patch, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

2014 may have been the first year that Virginia C Linch put shovel into this former industrial site. I’m not sure. I know that when she enthusiastically invited me to visit in 2015, I jumped at the chance. See southern butterflies, drawn to a single  habitat in Georgia! Yippee!

I could not believe what Virginia and Bartow and not much more than a handful of volunteers had accomplished! They’d planted hundreds of perennials, bushes and trees. Host plants galore, nectaring plants, shade plants. The non native, but heroic Mexican sunflowers completed the nectar menu.

Those 4 visits in ’15 were fantastic. Virginia was friendly, helpful, informative and selfless, spotting butterflies and stepping aside, allowing me the opps that guys like me dream of.

2016 delivered me back to this Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat. My posts here caught the attention of other Georgians, and a couple drove…

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Ten (10) Years of TomFoolery

Northern Pearly Eye Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania

Northern Pearly Eye butterfly

 

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

Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly

 

Male Black Swallowtail Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in the Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, GA

Me? I’ve taught high school Biology to thousands of young Americans, in New York City and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I am pleased with the respect and admiration that my students afforded me. I retired in 2006, to become the caregiver for Frieda A”H. I lost that job, when she passed in January 2008.

I’ve been in the bushes as much as possible, for these last 25 years. I search for and photograph butterflies. This wingedbeauty.com that you’re reading here is the product of my love and fascination with butterflies & wildflowers.

I have watched the health and well being of our land become taken over by ‘naturalists’ who claim 1) that they must protect our land for all of us and 2) lecture and alarm us that our pristine habitat will soon be destroyed by “Global Warming.” I have watched as they chastise us for the coming annihilation of our fauna and flora, and for the coming destruction of all that is wild and loved,.

It seems that to be an academic today, you must join the ranks of the alarmists. You must declare that butterflies, birds, wildflowers, dragonflies, wasps, moths and macro- animals are all soon to leave us.

All not so. I spend hundreds/thousands of hours in the bush, seeking and searching for butterflies, and I can Thankfully report that they are well, normal and unchanged, with an excellent future. There is no Global Warming and there will be none in the future. G-d is in control and has been since the beginning of time.

True it is, that if the relations of the loudest Global Warming supporters would stop developing valuable habitat, usually the home of endangered butterflies and living things, if they would stop developing the choicest sites along our oceans, lakes and rivers . . . if they would stop overdeveloping California, Oregon, Colorado, Texas, Washington State, Arizona, Florida, New Mexico and more, our children and grandchildren would so benefit, and species would not continue disappearing.

There is no Global Warming. These 3 American butterflies attest to that.

Jeff

Shrimp Plant Question?

Shrimp Plant photographed by Jeff Zablow

We have a lovely, healthy robust Shrimp Plant in our 303 Garden, here in Eatonton, Georgia, some 80 miles east of Atlanta. Virginia gifted it to us. An occasional Ruby Throated Hummingbird visits it, once in a while. No butterflies have been seen on it. Ellen Honeycutt? Jim Rodgers? Deb Marsh? Katy Wilson Ross? Virginia C Linch?

By contrast, today, August 16th, we’ve seen here: Tiger Swallowtails. American Snout, Cloudless Sulphur, Gulf Fritillary, Spicebush Swallowtail, Sleepy Orange, Duskywings, Silver-Spotted Skipper, Giant Swallowtail, Several Species of Skippers (at least 6 species). Since butterflies come and go all day, my guess it that another 8 or more species have been here today, many when it was full sun and 97F.

Then there’s this Shrimp Plant, proudly producing large flowers, with zero butterflies seen? Curt Lehman?

Jeff

Fighting To Look Tough

Earring Series - Jeff with Black Swallowtail Earrings (Best shot), at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

This is the shot with the Eastern Black Swallowtails fully on my right ear.

I fought every kid I had to back on the streets of Brooklyn. Yes, I was good friends with a bunch of kids who’s family business was well, sort of organized crime. Sometimes I had to fight them too, that’s how it was.

I fought some in the Boys’ Club in Flatbush, and I did OK.

I fought some in high school, those who thought they would roll over me. That went just fine.

I joined the 2nd How 187th Artillery Guard unit in Brooklyn, friends were a couple of young Irish cops. I fit in just fine. They decided to go to Officers Candidate School, urged me to go too. Frieda A”H asked what does it benefit me with, and I told her better pay, live in the BOQ (Batchelor Officers Quarters), eat in the Officers Mess (better than 99% of Manhattan fine restaurants) and get a driver to drive me everywhere I go (the driver I got was a made Mob guy, and a very good driver). All that time I had to look tough, act tough . . . which was fine ’cause I already was kind of tough . . .

In John Adams High School, they made me a Dean for the Freshman Boys, and that meant disciplining the sons of many men in the John Gotti organization. That was fine, and there too I had to act . . . tough.

New York City Public Schools refused to promote me to Assistant Principal (they were not looking to promote a tough, young, OCS-grad Jew back then) so I eventually began managing small apartment buildings on very, very good Manhattan streets. There again I had to look tough, for my tenants, my office staff, my vendors and trades people, and the sometimes mob connected folks I sometimes had to deal with.

My whole life I’ve had to look tough and be tough. Men don’t cry, I had heard.

When Frieda finished her nearly 8 years of battling Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, the day the doctor told me, at her request, that there were no more new chemo- treatments for her, it was a Friday night. She first sent me home to prepare the Friday night Sabbath turkey for me and the kids (grown, they came because her fight was . . . ) She then sent them home, too. Moments after I put the Turkey on their plates, the telephone rang . . . . The nurse said we must come NOW, there was no time. I sped to Shadyside Hospital (part of enormous UPMC). Frieda had died some 5 minutes before we got there. I cried. I cried a lot. I forgot being/looking tough. I cried, loudly.

Sylbie was taking these images of this incredible Black Swallowtail visit, from my hat, shoulders and eventually to my ear. A pair of coupled magnificent black swallowtails, resting . . . on my ear. Sylbie was right there, and, I tried to shield tears, hide them, but I don’t know how well I did, for I cried. I forgot the need to look tough, to swagger, to fear nothing. I cried, for I had no doubt that Frieda was there, right then, and that she was responsible for those OMG! finest of butterflies, perching on my ear.

No, I stopped trying to look tough. Just long enough to . . .

Jeff

Tantalizing Blue Sky With Monarch

Monarch butterfly on Tithonia with intense blue sky, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat I, Eatonton, GA

Armed with my Canon 100mm/2.8 Macro lens, those tall-tall Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia) plants prevented me from getting scrumptious images of the many Monarch butterflies that day. I just couldn’t get close enough to captures the dramatic detail of the monarchs.

Denied, I began reviewing my situation. I wanted to cop Monarchs against the unique blue Eatonton, Georgia sky. This was the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat, and when Monarchs fly, fresh ones like this one, it doesn’t matter that you own dozens of good Monarch looks, you’ve got to respect the remarkable beauty before you. You’ve just got to grab some Monarch images.

My decide? I decided to go for it, to get a good image of a fresh Monarch, sitting high above me on a Tithonia bloom, with the rich blue sky framing it, all doable with my wonderful Fuji Velvia 50 slide film.

Here it its. I love it. You?

Jeff