Finding a New Butterfly, Kind of on My Own, in Ohio’s Lynx Prairie Reserve

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

Imagine. You’re in southernmost Ohio, a handful of miles from Kentucky, there with new friends to find orchids, wildflowers and for me, butterflies. You’ve entered a very promising refuge, Lynx Prairie Reserve in Adams County. Somehow you get separated from the rest, and you wander alone, into a sizable meadow.

Without your friends, you just hope that you’ll happen onto your #1 goal, new butterflies that you’ve never seen before. As you work the periphery of that beautiful meadow, you spot a tiny butterfly, flying low and relatively slowly. It’s not a white or a yellow, not an Azure or a Blue . . . What can it be?

Moving fast, you reach this tiny flier, and Ooh My Goodness. it’s a Metalmark? Not a Little Metalmark, too large, too far north and much darker in color than that. Battle Stations! A NEW BUTTERFLY for me, a Northern Metalmark butterfly. In the next hour I found more than 50 of them, a fresh, healthy flight of them, all recently eclosed from their chrysalises. ‘Locally Rare’ in only 4 states, flying just a month or so.

I was ecstatic, I’d struck Jackpot! This life of mine has seen much, and yet, that find, those Northern Metalmarks thrilled me, left me that word again, ecstatic! That finding a new butterfly, kind of on my own, can do that for me, Wow!

I shall always Think Of and Thank Barbara Ann Case A”H (OBM”) for she enabled that trip, and others.

Jeff

Cruising through Hundreds of Images, I Stopped at a Coneflower

Coneflower photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx, Prairie Reserve, Ohio

Cruising through the hundreds of images in our Media Library bank, I stopped right here, at the enticing image of this native Coneflower, at Lynx Prairie Reserve Refuge, Adams County, Ohio. Why did I have to pause there?

We’ve set in a whole lot of coneflower, native and cultivar (truth be told. cultivar for the ‘color”) and today, with a high of 79F, we’ve been working in our 800 garden, front and back. I keep stopping at those same Coneflower plants, again and again examining the spent flowerstalks from last year, squinting my eyes to try and find any, any teeny, tiny appearance of new budding or leaves.

None yet. Nothing to be reported. We’ve been in this North Macon, Georgia for 11 months now, and last year, just as soon as we set Coneflower in, butterflies and bees visited, to reap the abundant nectar and pollen provided.

Waiting at 800, in late February. Georgia is amazing, BJ, Jim, Cathy, Jerry, Marie, Barbara, Phil, Lisa, Lisa, Donald, and y’all. I saw a butterfly today, my first for 2021, in late February. It zoomed by me, and I’d have to guess that is was an Admiral or a Painted Lady, but it never stopped . . .

Jeff

Edwards Hairstreak at Lynx Prairie

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

Surrounded by a sea of gentle green, this Edward Hairstreak butterfly is a fine Rx for this January 20th, 2021. Reminder for all that we sit upon a treasure trove here, long known as the United States of America.

I’m near finishing my 4th (5th?) reading of The Travels of William Bartram by William Bartram. Few of you’ve read it. If you want to visualize what Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama and such were like in 1777 or so, this is a book you will love. Now, “love” is a strong Rx, but, if you’ve longed to see what the South looked like before it was ‘dozed, this is your dreamed of read. Bartram was a British botanist, and his telling of the botany, bears, ‘tygers,’ Meleagris and millions of birds in flight is riveting. That and his dozens and dozens pages of his time with the Creeks, Cherokees, Seminoles, Ocmulgee, Chactaw peoples? I loved it. I have often dreamed of walking into their ‘towns’ (Bartram carefully describes their buildings [yes buildings], gardens, orchards, etc.) as they were, and I continue to dream such.

This Edwards image sends me thataway, yearning for a time when the highways, roads lined with stores, tire shops and shopping centers did’t exist. He writes one destination where the entire land, level to more than 7 miles extant, is covered with Cornus florida, the American dogwood tree. I crack my brain thinking that today, that’s all gone, bulldozed into who knows what. That was Florida.

Look how a single image, seen in Adams County, Ohio, a handful of miles from the Kentucky border, can set me near adrift . . . . . . . . . Kudos to Angela.

Jeff

An American Native: Coneflower

Coneflower photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie Reserve, Ohio

Doug Tallamy’s book urged us to stop putting in alien plants, don’t purchase non-American plants for your home gardens. is argument? Compelling. Real. In 2013 that’s exactly what we did. Our new Pittsburgh home gardens, front and side filled with native plants from the northeastern USA. At the time, Sylvania Natives was an outstanding natives nursery . . . and it was in Pittsburgh, 1/2 miles from our home.

In went native plum trees, Pagoda Dogwoods, Obedient plant, Asclepias (common milkweed), Clethra, Cut-leaf Coneflower, Oakleaf hydrangea, Ironwood, Senna, Hawthorne, Cornus Florida, Tulip Poplar and more, so much more.

I was skeptical about one or two of these ‘natives.’ I’d seen Purple Coneflower many, many times in those big-box home improvement stores, Lowe’s and Home Depot, and I’d seen it in several nurseries that stocked alien cultivars. What’s was the truth of Purple Coneflower?

In 2017 I joined a stellar group of folks at Adams County, at the southern tip of Ohio. Angela, Dave, Joe, Barbara Ann A”H and Flower. There, in the OMG!! Lynx Prairie Preserve, there, I found it! Purple Coneflower, native and Spectacular!

Coneflowers. Native and a favorite of butterflies, bees, Ruby-throated hummingbirds and I’m sure more, so much more. Easy to set-in, hardy and a fine, fine investment for you Wall Street types.

Jeff

Approach of Thanksgiving Day is on My Mind

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

Less than a handful of days away, Thanksgiving is in the USA. It’s a day for us Americans to think of all that we are Blessed with, and for us here in the States to gather family (COVID-19 precautions considered) and revel in all that we have, in the good health that most enjoy, and to sit there and smile, as we watch the youngsters, year after year, preparing to take their turn in life.

Our table will be not quite that, but Thankful? I am very, very Thankful. I am happy, so very happy. We enjoy this home we’ve moved to in North Macon, those .68 acres, steadily filling with Georgia native plants and do you believe it? Today, November 23rd we enjoyed Zebra Longwing and Cloudless Sulphur butterflies. Back in Pittsburgh, that first week of September was almost always the Bye Bye week for seeing butterflies.

On my mind, adding to my euphoria, the hope of seeing total, abject beauty, as you see here in Lynx Prairie Reserve in Adams County, Ohio. The Butterflyweed (a Milkweed species) lush and richly colored. The Zebra Swallowtail butterfly? Mama Mia! The Edwards Hairstreak butterfly, tiny, yet elegant. The background in this image? Oh how I long to return again to this botany wonderland! 2021!

Jeff, sharing of Thanksgiving thoughts.

Jeff