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

Who Knew Such Existed?

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

Often I reflect back to my upbringing, in the East Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York (New York city). We lived on the edge of decades of development, with just a few undeveloped ‘lots’ near our house. That’s where I searched. We saw a few butterflies, some darners and several species of birds.

Those ‘lots’ are now all gone. I’ve grown, and live in central Georgia.

The dearth of beauty that we saw during my childhood is stunning. When I meet those 6′ 4″ farmers here and there nowadays, I end up telling them. “You have no idea how lucky you are.” The infinite beauty that they enjoyed. incredible.

Only in 2017 did I get to see this winged beauty, a Northern Metalmark butterfly, fresh and vital. I got separated from the others there, in Lynx Prairie Reserve, in very southern Ohio. I entered a sizable prairie, alone, and soon discovered a fresh flight of dozens of Northern Metalmarks. Dozens!

I spent hours (?) attempting to capture the sunlight, reflecting back from those metallic jagged lines.

Who knew such exquisite beauty existed?

Jeff

Bear Oak & Edwards’

Edwards Hairstreak Butterfly in 1/2 Shade photographed by Jeff Zablow at Adams Lake Preserve

My 2 foot tall Bear Oak (purchased from Nearly Natives Nursery in Fayetteville, Georgia, an A+ natives nursery) will never be a 100′ tall giant. It is one of the ‘small oaks,’ and I would love to live and see it reach some 20 feet. Its leaves are unique looking, and it acorns, well I’ll have to wait some for them to be produced.

I’ve enriched my grasp of the plants and animals of these United States, to include those of southeastern America. Bear Oak is native to the US, and to America’s South.

The first time I saw Edwards’ Hairstreak butterflies was in June, 2017. They were a fresh flight, some 35 or so Edwards.’ I was struck by their rich, stunning reds, blues, white and black. They are usually described as ‘Locally Rare,’ and that morning, in. Lynx Prairie Reserve in Adams County, Ohio, I was so Thankful that we were there that week, to savor that artists palette of color, against a solid background of grayish-brown.

My young Bear Oak? Glassberg’s A Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America range map shows Edwards’ Hairstreaks flying just about as far south as my backyard. and Bear Oaks are their preferred hostplant.

Would it not be AmaZing! if one showed up next year? What’s that rock n’ roll song of maybe I’m a dreamer? Two or 3 more Bear Oaks?

Jeff