Gone Are The Days . . . .

Great spangled fritillary butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park

Moving from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Georgia was a Big change for me. Few back there thought I’d done the right thing. My family thought I’d kind of made a mistake. Me? There were things I miss, after those 27 years in the region that Steel built.

Folks here in Georgia ask often, Why did I move to Georgia. I was asked that 2 times today. My answer, Snow & Ice. I’d lost my tolerance of them. Walking Petra on a ‘Black Ice ‘ morning? Beyond dangerous to this guy who Loves going into meadow, fen, marsh, forest or medium mountain to shoot butterflies. I also, blessed still with bonafide street smarts, found myself more times than I liked, being sized up by unfriendly youth, as in “Think he’s going to be easy?” With the telepathic answer, “Yeah, this _______ ‘ll be easy.” Not yet carrying, I didn’t want to find myself on the front cover of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, busted-up by teenage youth.

Now in Georgia, I miss this, views of Great Spangled Fritillary butterflies on Butterflyweed, that June-early July sight that always pleased me. I also miss the usually futile search for tortoiseshells, mourning cloaks and rare commas.

We’re back from St. Simons Island, and Georgia, it is . . . beautiful, and its got its own inventory of spectacular butterflies.

Gone are those days, here are these days. Good, that.

Jeff

‘I’m Sitting On Top Of The World’ Gray

Gray Hairstreak photographed by Jeff Zablow at Fort Federica, Saint Simons Island, GA

Apply lyrics to this relaxing image? ‘I’m Sitting On Top Of The World, I’m Rolling Along, I’m Rolling Along.’ This is my choice.

Imagine being a beautiful Gray Hairstreak, living on the site of Fort Federica on tony St.Simons Island on the Georgia coast. Not a care in the world (it would seem).

Jeff

Gray At St. Simons’ Ft. Federica

Gray Hairstreak photographed by Jeff Zablow at Fort Federica, Saint Simons Island, GA

I asked Virginia where should we go to find butterflies, on her beautiful St. Simons Island? Months later there we were, at Ft. Federica. The British built that fort there in the 1700’s, and it was now a historic site, for visitors.

Of course she was right, for we met many different species of butterflies in the fields and meadows of this fascinating military relic. St. Simons Island has become a playground for the rich, and its butterflies too enjoy this bucolic site.

Here’s a handsome Gray Hairstreak butterfly, fresh and resplendent, especially its orange/reddish spot on it hindwing.

Meeting a Gray? Like greeting a good friend, is how it feels.

Jeff

Are You Able To ID This Moth?

Unidentified Moth photographed by Jeff Zablow at Fort Federica, Saint Simons Island, GA

We spotted this moth on a mostly sunny morning at Ft. Federica, on St. Simons Island, on the Georgia coast. Me? I can recognize almost all butterflies, but moths, I don’t know most of them.

We spent almost a week in a vacation house in Townsend, Georgia. Most of our field work was was done at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, about 25 minutes from our beautiful rental home. That one day we drove to Ft. Federica, in part to see Virginia’s childhood home of St. Simons Island. I’d ask her where the best place to find and shoot butterflies on the island, and Virginia said that’d be this hundreds of years old English fort, Ft. Federica.

Id’ing moths is a very popular pursuit now, so I look forward to several of you helping us name this fascinating moth.

Jeff

I Photograph Butterflies

Gray Hairstreak photographed by Jeff Zablow at Fort Federica, Saint Simons Island, GA

It’s frustrating to watch sylvan habitat lost to development. I’ve been bemoaning the loss since as far as I can recall. That must have begun when I was some 12 years old, and fine ‘bay-side’ land was invaded by bulldozers in the Arverne Section of Rockaway Beach, in New York City’s Queens. I roamed those acres before the ‘dozers came, and their loss, even for a wide awake 12-year old, was forever irreversible.

We didn’t travel at all, and I had no idea how vast the United States were. Pre-teen me thought that soon there’d  be nothing left between Brooklyn and Los Angeles (where many of my friends ended up moving to).

It sure may well be that I still retain that apprehension that butterflies and orchids (didn’t know about natives back then) and bumblebees and darners and such will disappear, on my ‘watch.’ It’s true that back in about the 4th grade, in Public School 244 in Brooklyn, my teacher told us that bald eagles, beavers, and mountain lions would all be gone, during our lifetimes. I’ll never forget that, for it was clear that I’d never even get a chance to see them, except for those sad, forlorn captives in the Prospect Park Zoo in Brooklyn.

So there I was celebrating the losses sure to come, of so much, including plants and animals that were then unknown to me: wildflowers, trees, snakes, lizards, birds (I still hate knowing that the Ivory Billed Woodpecker is lost), bison, the Eastern Timber Wolf, the Regal Fritillary Butterfly that flew where my East 58th Street, Brooklyn house stood, when the British and Hessians marched through there, as they prepared to make their pincer attack on New York, New York.

I am thrilled to go into the bush to find and photograph butterflies. They are still flying, and often in good enough numbers to dissuade me from believing my 4th grade teacher.

There are way too few of us, who seek and shoot butterflies, but that’s what we are doing, and will seek to continue to do. My move, 2 years ago to central Georgia’s Piedmont region pleased me, for there I’ve seen so many new butterflies, some of them in my own yard, it, now busy with hostplants whose siren aromatic signals draw butterflies that we greet with Oohs! and Aahs!

I photograph butterflies, as for example this spiffy Gray Hairstreak.

Jeff