Unchained Melody At The NBC

Monarch Butterflies Coupled photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

He is closest to us. She is barely visible below. Monarchs coupled in the Perennial Gardens of the National Butterfly Gardens of the NABA in Mission, Texas. The largest Monarchs I have ever seen. A mere 2 miles or so from the Mexican border.

Me? Sitting here watching the rain, it 52 degrees Fahrenheit outside, in usually sunny Georgia.

What does this view make me sing in my mind, the lyrics to Unchained Melody, and those summer days on the beach at Arverne, Rockaway, Queens, New York: Oh My Love, My Darling, I Hunger For Your Touch. Time Goes By So Slowly And Time Can Mean So Much . . . Are You Still Mine? I Need Your Love, G-d Speed Your Love To Me.

Sure a trip to the National Butterfly Center is unforgettable . . .

Jeff

Upon First Seeing A Malachite

Malachite butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

It was Christmas week, when my friends pointed out my first and only encounter with this Malachite butterfly.

It was so so fresh, its colors vivid and it was calm, remaining where it was for Oh! nearly 25 minutes. Me? I considered whether or not G-d sent this Gem there, for reward for I am not sure what?

I shot away, from different angles, there in that darkened understory of The National Butterfly Center trail, we in Mission, Texas.

I ask that you compose a short Ode to Malachite.

Would you do that for us?

Jeff

 

Tropical Leafwing Treat

Tropical leafwing butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

More than 20 years of wanting to photograph a Goatweed Leafwing butterfly, without a single image to my name. I’ve seen Goatweeds, in Pittsburgh and in the Mississippi Delta, but yes, not a single image.

This was a Happy! shock to me, when Nancy and John pointed out this Tropical Leafwing, she not too distant from our trail at the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas. She did fly from one perch to another, but she at least gave my minutes each time to s-t-r-e-t-c-h as far as I safely could to shoot her.

I shoot Fuji Velvia slide film, this 100 ASA for less than sunny locales. My film is wonderful for real-time color, and this is a fine example of the rich, deep, satisfying color of our butterflies. She was just as striking in appearance as you see here.

Don’t always agree with their political leanings, but truth be told, the National Butterfly Center attracts butterflies that you never, never forget!

Jeff

N.B., I plant Alabama Crotons in my Georgia garden, just in hope of attracting those elusive Goatweed Leafwings, they very native to Georgia.

Fine Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak

Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

Face to face with that large black spot, it bordered by that orange-juice Julius ring, and I smiled, for this was a fresh Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak butterfly. Atlanta flight to San Jose, Texas, next that 4 hour-drive to our accommodation in Alamo, Texas.

The next days were filled with butterflies not seen in the New York City metropolitan area, or in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania or west of Phoenix, or Israel, or the Mississippi Delta or Toronto or Savannah or the Georgia Piedmont.

Found along the southeast corridor from California to Texas, I love the colors: gray, black, white, orange served up with bands, chevrons, arrow-heads, etc.

Seen at the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas.

A Clint Eastwood Butterfly, as in Make My Day.

Jeff

The Joy Of Meeting Lower Rio Grande Valley Butterflies

Fatal Metalmark butterfly (2) photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

What an elixir! My trip to the Lower Rio Grande Valley was a stunning success. In Mission, I met dozens of new species of butterflies at the National Butterfly Center’s perennial gardens, trails and meadows.

Years of Oohing! and Awwing! at shared photos of those butterflies psyched me for that trip. Flew to San Antonio, drove to Alamo, Texas and we spent several days at the NBCenter, as well as the “Wall” and Bensten State Park.

That joy that I felt, over and over again, happened when I was introduced to such as this, a Fatal Metalmark butterfly. Little Metalmarks and Northern Metalmarks tantalize me, with their understated elegance and shimmering ‘metallic’ stripes.

Pics like this one stoke my excitement for what this glorious 2020 will possibly produce!

Jeff