People Plan . . . & G-d Laughs?

Jeff Zablow at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, GA

JLZ at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge on the Georgia coast. I gaze at this pic of me, and . . . I’m good with it. Gave up long, long ago comparing myself with make-believe folks, like Hollywood stars, TV personalities and Mickey and Roger and Michale Jordan and what was the name of that NY Giants football great? I stare at this, the me of me, and smile, the street kid in very real Brooklyn, the kid who took the subway to the National Golden Gloves Finals, boxed in Boys Club, took the NY subways for those years to college w/ long steel on me, kinda had Connected friends, but knew that would not be good for the future, Dean (for Discipline) in a New York City high school, managed a Staten Island multi-family and smiled as the last Connected Guy living there moved, was an artilleryman and graduated from OCS, managed buildings in New York’s Chelsea, East Village, SoHo, West Village, Upper East Side, Upper West . . . .

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Success and a firm belief in G-d are the wind to my sails now. Wealth . . . gone. Friends . . . elusive. Family . . . ‘Dad you shoot “Bugs?”‘ Hey, I LOVE seeking and photographing butterflies. I more so enjoy when YOU come along and ‘Like.’ More than that I LIKE when you ‘Comment.’ You are folks I enjoy, admire and regret that I hardly ever meet!

2021 beckons. Election over, Idiot 20-somethings disappear from the MSMedia . . . 2021 is the year I look forward to busting-out!! I want to shoot, shoot and shoot again. I’ve already received real, not imagined invites to come and be shown destinations heretofore unknown to me in Ohio, Arizona, southwestern Georgia and on the Georgia coast. The ‘Little Boy In The Candy Shop’ is so looking forward to going and meeting Facebook and WordPress friends and together investigating 2021 habitat that they know.  Budget? Meager? Heart? Doc always says “Excellent.”

The generation gone always cautioned, “People Plan . . . and G-d Laughs.” What I haven’t mentioned yet is that I’ve always been a species of Optimist. How else could I have survived the stuff written above, the knives, guns, fists, wrecks and the treachery that ended my  . . . .  Frieda A”H in her last years always (firmly) told me to go, go photograph. Some just hope to see and shoot very, very rare butterflies. Me? I expect that to happen at every turn of the trail.

People Plan . . . & G-d Laughs [at their Plan].

Jeff

Monkey Pea and Me?

Monkey Pea wildflower photographed by Jeff Zablow at Harris Neck State Park, GA

I’ve seen Monkey Pea plants occasionally these 5 years I’ve scoured Georgia for butterflies. This plant here introduced itself to me in Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge on the Georgia coast. I set out to find butterflies, but when a wildflower glows, I often stop and shoot it.

We’re now 5 full months in our home in North Macon, Georgia, squarely located in the Georgia Piedmont. As plants appear in our sizable backyard, we are charmed by some, puzzled by others, and displeased when alien plants show up. Just days ago, a newbie chose to flourish. It looked promising, so I photographed it, and sent an image along to my fav authority, Ellen. After staking one up, and tieing it to the stake, back came the response, our possible new star of the garden was not what we wanted at all, the non-native Chamberbitter!

Our good news (??) is we now have Monkey Pea, and we throw out to y’all, are we in luck? Is Monkey Pea a boon or a bust. Does it boost butterfly traffic, and does it behave itself? Is it native?

Jeff

Barred Yellow Playing

Barred Yellow butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Harris Neck State Park, GA

We were having a wonderful 5 days at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge in coastal Georgia. So many butterflies, ‘gators, egrets, storks, rails, hawks, bees, wasps, beetles . . . and that never to be forgotten morning when on the Woody Pond trail, just 4 feet from the pond edge, SUDDENLY, without warning, an alligator, sounding like it was 20 feet in length, ROARED!! Immediately, a chorus of ‘gators all roared together. I will not ever forget that, as if I entered a Brooklyn alleyway and came face to face with . . . .

I spotted this little yellow butterfly flying to and fro in the low grasses, and I spent many minutes pursuing this Barred Yellow (Eurema daira) butterfly. Up and down I went, as it descended, then flew upon my approach. Hide and seek it was, this being my best capture of the lot. See the yellow showing on it left forewing?

Me, at this stage in life, playing Hide ‘n Seek? Funny, no?

Jeff

You Never Meet Your Fav Movie Star At A Chic Cafe

Viceroy Butterfly on Sumac (Woody Pond) photographed by Jeff Zablow at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, GA

This is how it happens. You never ever will meet your favorite heart throb movie star at a chic cafe for coffee and babka. You also almost NEVER meet a butterfly you so want to photograph in exactly the place, time and weather that you’d like to.

I’ve been startled, startled over these years when, without warning or anticipation, I’ve met butterflies that were GORGEOUS and chose to set down in a landing site that was perfect for me. Off of the top, some opps I’ve missed, me caught off guard and not expecting deliverance, included unexpected meeting with Mourning Cloaks, Common Mestras, Compton Tortoiseshells, Goatwood Leafwings and Orange-barred Sulphurs.

We were working the trail that’s 4 feet from Woody pond in Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, along the Georgia coastline. We were near native Sumac. The day before, the Georgia Native Plant Society had shared a Facebook post, of the wonderfulness of native Sumac. That blew up all the negatives I’d heard, back in New York City, of the Sumac that always invaded empty city lots and those tiny city back yards and gardens. Alien Sumac it was, and Sumac became a dirty word, for me.

Suddenly, this big Viceroy flies in, and begins slowly nectaring on the native Sumac. Well I have a fondness for Viceroys and I’d been given a Re-Education about Sumacs the day before! Mamma Mia!! Viceroy supper fresh, big and richly hued . . . and Sumac in an eye-pleasing setting!

The Viceroy was well within the Sumac branches, meaning that my images would, should show part Viceroy in sun and part Viceroy in Sumac-shade. I shot away!

Here’s the image of a beautiful Viceroy, don’t know if male or female, on a healthy, native Sumac in early bloom. You’ll be as lucky as anything if you ever meet your favorite, smile pleasing star for coffee in the perfect sidewalk cafe, on the perfect day, you unhitched and carefree. No?

Jeff

Decades of Love

Viceroy Butterfly on Sumac (Woody Pond) photographed by Jeff Zablow at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, GA

I imagine that you have yours, for I know that I have some myself. These decades of searching for butterflies in North America and the Middle East (Israel) have produced a very short list of butterflies that I especially love.

Here at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, along the Georgia coast, my imagination was caught by this native Sumac bush. It grew within. a foot or two of Woody Pond. That pond is the home of herons, storks, ibises, rails, egrets and alligators. Ellen Honeycutt has written of the Sumacs native to Georgia, and this Brooklyn boy was fascinated, Fascinated because 1/2 of my adult life, spent in and around New York City, I’d always heard that Sumacs (alien) didn’t belong, despite that there were 10’s of millions of alien Sumacs thriving thereabouts.

As I was examining this Woody Pond Sumac, it just beginning to bloom, who flies in? One of my butterfly favs, this Viceroy butterfly (Limenitis archippus). The Sumac kept it in partial shade, but the deep, rich color of this Viceroy was compelling, and there I was admiring a handsome specimen of one of my favorites, most beloved butterflies.

Decades of Love triggered, at Laura’s Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge.

Jeff