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

Why Get Down With This Blue?

Eastern-Tailed Blue Butterfly II photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie Reserve, Ohio

We see this ultra tiny blur of grayish-white, on a trail somewhere, or in our garden here in the Georgia Piedmont. Don’t we brush off the tendency to disregard this tiny butterfly, for almost each and every time this happens, we gather ourselves together and crouch down to see more. Is it an Eastern Tailed-Blue, or an Azure or maybe maybe an uncommon Blue butterfly?

While we are concluding that this one is an Eastern Tailed-Blue, we’re at the same time examining it for: fresh color, that pair of ‘tails,’ those pookie eyes matched with that snappy pair of striped antennae, those incredibly tiny legs, that look way strong enough to support such a diminutive body, and as here, a pair of very shmeksy! reddish-orange spots.

Next is the decision, with several fine images of Eastern Tailed-Blue Butterflies in the slide cabinet. Do we expose rather expen$ive Fuji Velvia 50 slide film, to try for quality, usable images of this comely beaut?

We were at Lynx Prairie Reserve in Adams County, Ohio, and I sure did. Conditions were excellent, this butterfly posed so well, you never know when you will once again meet up with such a fine Blue and, who here has the strength to not try for a good shot of an exceptional individual?

Barbara Ann? Kelly? Curt? Melanie? Deepthi? Laura? Virginia? Jim? Cathy? Beth? Peg? Roxanne? Deepthi? Ken? Phil? Elisse? Leslie? Melissa Misconstrued? Joanne?

Jeff

The Non-Nursery Coneflower

Coneflower photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie, Ohio

Like most of you, I’ve planted Coneflower in my garden for what?, decades. If I ever gave this incredible perennial a thought, it was a fleeting one, as in I wonder where this beautiful wildflower comes from? Mexico? Peru? Cuba? Costa Rica? Tanganyika?

You just don’t stop learning . . . never. Imagine shock (not surprise, shock!) when Angela & Barbara Ann & Dave & Joe led me into Lynx Prairie Preserve in Adams County, Ohio?

When I saw this Coneflower there, I wondered. Did someone introduce Chinese Coneflower to the southernmost tip of Ohio, a handful of miles from the Kentucky border?

They patiently told me that Coneflower is a native. It took me days to grasp the irony. I spent decades presuming that Coneflower was introduced from Asia or Europe or South or Central America.

Nope, Virginia, it’s an American native. Not a local Nursery cultivar, native.

Jeff

Edwards Hairstreak Finery

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

This was a day that remains vivid in my memory. Angela, Barbara Ann, Dave & Joe led the way, to this largish prairie relict in Lynx Prairie Reserve, southern Ohio, just a handful of miles from Kentucky.

These Edwards Hairstreak butterflies were new to me, and this for sure was a fresh flight of them. Close approach to these tiny hairstreaks wowed! me, for their color palette was strikingly beautiful.

Shooting with my Fuji Velvia 50 slide film, I shot away, determined to capture those reds and blues amongst that handsome grayish brown, and sharp white and black.

This one will do just fine. I tried so hard to meet one universal goal of mine, capture the butterfly’s eyes in good focus, but the depth of field bugaboo denied my 100% success with that.

Winged beauty? Yep.

Jeff