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

‘Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory . . . ‘

Palamedes Swallowtail Butterfly on Thistle photographed by Jeff Zablow at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, GA

This is what I want to be doing in fast approaching 2020. I want to gape. Gape at such incredible, extraordinary sights as this. Laura recommended our visit to Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, not far from the Georgia coast. The result?

Dozens? Yes I think so. Dozens of very special, memorable moments there, as this one, a very fresh Palmades Swallowtail butterfly on wetland thistle. Thistle at pond’s edge. ‘Gators as close as  . . . ? Butterflies abundant and pollen/nectar dispensing flora everywhere.

Opening up our wingedbeauty Media Library, my eyes locked on this image. The ‘Glory’ I saw there, then? You choose the words.

Jeff

Twin-Spot Skipper How Do You Do

Twin-spot Skipper Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, GA

We made the brief acquaintance of this “U” for Uncommon (Glassberg, A Swift Guide to Butterflies) Twin-Spot Skipper in Laura’s Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge. Yes it was a rush to see a seldom seen and very fresh skipper butterfly, perhaps the 3rd I’d ever seen. My move to Georgia continues to reward me with these kinds of thrilling moments, seeing butterflies that are seldom seen by even the most avid butterfly seekers.

Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge? Highly recommended. It is the home to so many much sough butterflies, wildflowers, botany, birds of wetlands and dry, insects, big alligators and baby alligators, snakes and more and more.

Fortunate you are when one such as Laura takes the time to urge you to head out to a destination, one that she knows is full of G-d’s creations, especially for me, butterflies.

Jeff