Angela Said It Would!

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

Barbara Ann made a new friend, Angela. They scheduled a trip to the southern tip of Ohio, Adams County, on the Kentucky border. There was no way this was not going to be anything other than an excellent several days of orchids, wildflowers and . . . butterflies. Angela assured me that I’d be fine going with them, and Joe, David, Flower and one or two others, and she assured me that butterflies there were plentiful and special.

It was and more so. We started our week further north, near Dayton, Ohio, and there I finally met my very first Showy Lady Slipper Orchids. That should/shall always remain a clear, happy memory for me.

Our small group then drove down to Adams County, and more days of new, amazing, Wow! and success.

Lynx Prairie and Kamamama Prairie were extraordinary. Wildflowers of pastels and more boasted large numbers of butterflies, nearly all fresh, and some never before seen.

Lynx Prairie Reserve had a fresh flight of this butterfly, Edwards’ Hairstreak. They stop often to rest, as seen here. When they nectar, they tolerate close approach. Their colors were strong, distinct and eye-candy.

I shot away, dozens of Fuji Velvia exposures, all the time so wanting to cop an image of those rich colors. I feel like I did just that.

That voice in my brain is urging me to return in June 2019, for there was that phantom Fritillary butterfly that I almost photographed, ‘cept it fled, and I had no spotter to tell me where it . . .

Jeff

Learning, 24/7

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

I’m now a seasoned guy, with rich life experience. The deep beauty of that is that I am always learning, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This image so reminds me of that.

I’ve been digging holes in my gardens for decades, planting back then cultivars, and planting now native Georgia plants. I never invested much time with where did my new plants originate. I used to get my Pittsburgh natives from Sylvan Nursery in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I didn’t ask them of the Coneflowers they cultivate and sold. I did find it puzzling, where do Coneflowers grow?

In 2016, I met Angela, Barbara Ann and Dave in Adams County, Ohio, almost a stone’s throw from the Kentucky. border. At Lynx Prairie Reserve, there they were . . . Coneflowers. I was short of stunned to see them, and to resolve one question. Coneflower is native to the USA, and resplendent in Ohio.

Our Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly is enjoying the rich nectar of the Coneflower head. Days later, Goldfinch birds will fly in and strip all the seeds from the Coneflower.

Yes, Ma’am, I continue learning, 24/7.

Jeff

The Excitement Of A Fresh Flight

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

I’m struggling to count the number of times it has happened to me. How many times have I come up a finite area of habitat . . . with a fresh flight of butterflies aloft? That’s, how many times have I arrived at a destination, to find alot of butterflies, all of the same species, and all very recently eclosed (exited from their chrysalises)?

Magical Adams County, Ohio treated me with a double-header in June 2016. I waded into Lynx Prairie to gape at this Edward’s Hairstreak, spectacular in its reds, blues, gray, white and black as well as dozens of others, perhaps 40 Edward’s about. They were some resting as this one, while others were mobbing Butterflyweed and other wildflowers. I wanted a capture like this one, of the beauty of their Edward’s’ ventral hindwings. I am satisfied that this one accomplishes that.

I somehow managed to get separated from my friends that day. That is not the first time that has happened to me. I’ve quit joining tours in the field, for tour leaders well, hate me, for when I see something that fascinates me, in habitat or in a museum, I get lost in my enthusiasm, and kind of put the tour off schedule, as in “Where’s that guy, Jeff?”

So, very separated from the others in the sizable Lynx Prairie Reserve, I came upon yet another prairie, and OMG!! I found a lifer for me (!!!) a Northern Metalmark butterfly. Then a 2nd one, a 3rd one and soon had seen more than 40 Edward’s Hairstreaks, all fresh and yummy to the eyes.

Lynx Prairie, just miles from the Ohio/Kentucky border drove me nuts! that day, late in June. Two new butterflies for me, and large flights of so so fresh ones at that.

It was a very rewarding Thank You G-d day for me. A very nourishing day for my eyes and a fine adrenaline wash for Jeff. Such days remain long remembered.

Jeff

Evermore Milkweeds

Rare Asclepias photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie Reserve, Ohio

This one was spotted in Lynx Prairie Reserve in Adams County, Ohio. Angela and Joe served up its name, but I can’t now recall it. It’s a milkweed (“Whirled?”), though after decades of seeing Common Milkweed, this one defies and disrupts my formula for recognizing a milkweed. Butterflyweed, OK. Swamp milkweed, Sure. Just weeks ago I met my first White milkweed, and after minutes of ogling it, and got used to the reality of it.

This one though remains an enigma to me, as if G-d sought a milkweed to fill the role of ‘Clown’ of the North American milkweeds, and this one was summoned to center stage, and that was that, assignment filled, the Clown of the milkweeds . . .

Jeff

The Siren’s Call (Hairstreak Version)

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

Angela urged us to join them in western Ohio, June 2017. She repeated that Adams County was full of surprises. I liked that idea, visiting Adams County, the southernmost Ohio, with Kentucky just miles away.

After 2 days in the Dayton, Ohio area, I knew Angela knew good places, with good stuff. Give an example? That’s how I saw my first Showy Lady Slipper Orchids. It took about a lifetime, but yes, they were extraordinary.

Hours south of Dayton, we were in Lynx Prairie Preserve, Adams County, Ohio. Battle stations!! So so much new, beautiful and never seen before.

A fresh flight of hairstreak butterflies was all about. I saw this one, shown here, my first Edwards Hairstreaks. Fresh Edwards Hairstreaks. They, not quick to flee on your approach. Sporting my new Canon Macro- 100mm/2.8 IS lens, I approached, shot and OMG! they are bejeweled. I robotically move closer, shot. Each time I look into my camera, the hindwing ventral (underside) markings stunned with their beauty.

It was the siren’s call to me, move in, be amazed, move in some more, and revel, Yep, revel. You get quiet, respectful. This time the siren’s call rewarded.

Jeff, still smiling, after Edwards, Northern Metalmarks, Coral Hairstreaks, Monarchs,That mystery Fritillary, Great Spangled Fritillaries . . .  and the first time I ever saw Coneflower and Indian Paintbrush happily at home, in the land they belong in.

Jeff