The Clint Eastwood Metalmark

Northern Metalmark Butterfly at rest photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie, OH

Ohio turned out to be a Goldmine for butterflies. I drove there from neighboring Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, knowing that Angela and Barbara Ann would find orchids, and that would mean that I’d find . . . butterflies. I had no idea that we’d meet Dave and Joe and Flower and Deb and others, that meaning that our chances of success rose exponentially!

When my incurable roaming caused me to be separated from them in Lynx Prairie Refuge in Adams County (very southern Ohio), I thought that morning was going to be a bust for me.

That never happened. My solitary hiking brought me into a magical prairie/meadow, and there I had a Clint Eastwood, Make My Day! experience. In that prairie meadow I found rare Northern Metalmark Butterflies. I treasure metalmarks, and appreciate that any of their species are local, short of flight period and hard to find. Yippee!

Here’s one of them, a fresh Northern Metalmark Butterfly, hard to find, ‘Locally Rare’ (Glassberg, A Swift Guide to Butterflies) and spectacular, especially when the sun bounces off their incredible metallic streaky lines on their hindwings.

The right time, right place and right friends!

Jeff

Another 274 Days?

Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly and Edwards Hairstreak on Butterflyweed photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie Reserve, Ohio

I’m still stuck. Still thinking Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Long Island, New York. Still programmed to think of the first week in September as the week to literally wave bye bye to butterflies, until approximately 8 months until that first Cabbage Whited is spotted once agin, in . . . late April?

Open your eyes Jeff, as you sit now in Eatonton, Georgia, home of there Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat, that now world famous home to dozens of species of butterflies. To that add my own 303 Garden, with 25-50 butterflies aloft at any given time. They first appear here in early February and fly through the last week in November. Imagine that, this year Boy Blue’s birthday falls on Thanksgiving Day and something called Rosh Hodesh . . . for Jeff, a Trifecta!

So I relax, ratchet down, knowing that true we won’t be seeing the Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly and the Edward’s Hairstreak Butterfly (Lynx Prairie in Adams County, Ohio) until at least very late June, but we in the South will be winging Welcome! to our butterflies . . . in early February! A minor Miracle for this young man from . . . the concrete, asphalt and brick of Brooklyn, New York!!

Jeff

Things Changed . . . Ohio!

Edwards Hairstreak Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie, OH

New or familiar, you may have read of how I have near zero folks to guide/lead me to new butterflies. As one decade lead to another, this absence of willing guides did sort of displease me.

In 2017, I think it was, Barbara Ann made friends with Angela, just over the border in Ohio. Angela invited some to explore Ohio, and I requested to go too. Request approved, and soon I was with them in the very southernmost county of Ohio, Adams County. Wow!

Here’s one of my many new finds there, in Lynx Refuge Preserve. They must have nearly all eclosed (left chrysalis) the day before, or . . . that morning.

Edward’s Hairstreak, in one of Lynx’s several pristine meadows. I loved them from first sight, those red epaulets and that patch of blue/blue. Those white stripes. Edward’s Hairstreak were more than just a new Lifer butterfly for me. They were placid in the early morning, posing gracefully, and enabling lots of camera shots, lots.

I’d lived next door to Ohio for what, 23 years, with no one inviting me to see zip. Barbara Ann and Angela introduced me to Ohio, and what with Showy Orchids and dozens of new butterflies and wildflowers to me, Ohio is a treasure, much of which I have yet to open.

Jeff

Pyle, Berthet, Lawson, Childs . . . and Zablow?

Edwards Hairstreak photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie Reserve, Ohio

Over these decades, every so often, the Media announces the discovery (!^!!#**!) of a heretofore unknown animal. Like you I drop what I’m about to do online, and quickly open the news dispatch, to read of the new OMG! mammal, reptile, fish. I’ve given up on Sasquatch, that Loch Ness thing, the Dodo bird and especially sadly, the Ivory Billed Woodpecker. We’ve way too much populated Earth, and there’s not much territory that has not be trekked over. The African Veldt of my youth is now full of people, full of guides to show you whatever you want, and it seems has been compartmentalized into people place and game reserves.

The loss of the Ivory Billed bit! I took it personally. How could we/they not protect their huge, dense forest stands?

Butterflies? There are some who seek little explored, dense pristine habitat to find rare and they dream, undiscovered butterflies. Pyle’s Big Year, wonderfully described in his book Mariposa Road, Berhtet’s recent explorations, Ian Lawson’s wide travels as well as Child’s, often cause me to question my own reluctance to hit the road, by the hundreds and thousands of miles?

Just recently, I came to a resolution. I will resist the siren’s song of the road, and the airport terminals that I so dislike. One more airport men’s room and I will lose it. One more full body frisk, with me struggling to keep my served my country, OCS completion, ready to go riot control platoon leader in Brooklyn in the late ’60’s, with mouth SHUT.

I will make few long journeys, with the exception of searching the Negev, Galilee & Golan regions of the HolyLand (Israel). I will get my VAVAVAVOOM with the butterflies of our beautiful USA and Canada. No way I’m going to be kidnapped by Shining Path or whatever. That too, that the $$’s lecture.

This Edward’s Hairstreak was one of a fresh flight of 50 or more that marked my first Edward’s ever!!!  Lynx Prairie Reserve, Adams County, Ohio. That was bonkers! exciting, and was just a 6-hours drive from Pittsburgh. Newly discovered butterflies may well exist, but I’m not to travel deep into Cuba or enjoy the unexpected company of latter-day headhunters in Borneo.

Anyone who wants to chat about trips in 2020, I’m all ears. No Uzbekistan. No Honduras. No Mongolia. No Myanmar. Please.

Jeff

American Icons?

Great Spangle Fritillary Butterfly on Coneflower photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie Reserve, Ohio

I think so. When I first visited Adams County, Ohio, Lynx Prairie Reserve treated me to my first wild Coneflower. To that point, a rich lifetime, I had presumed that coneflowers were non-native cultivars. How thrilled I was that morning, to learn that they are 100% American!

Perched on this coneflower, this Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly is another American icon. Glassberg’s Swift Guide to Butterflies has them present in almost all continental US states, except for Arizona, Texas, Mississippi and Florida. This big butterfly is born & bred USA.

This then is an American iconic view, Great Spangled Fritillary perched on Coneflower. I must add that Ohio, where these were seen, has been the most welcoming, giving, sharing of the 48 U.S. states, for I’ve enjoyed more self-less butterfliers and orchid seeking and wildflower lovers there than in any other state I’ve visited. Thanks Angela, Deb, Dave, Flower, Joe and others.

Jeff