Addicted To . . . Spots

Gray Hairstreak Butterfly at Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh

I don’t know how many of you share this addiction, but for me it’s real and I can’t kick it. When I’m out there, on those magical trails, let a butterfly appear, and more often than not, I’m searching for its dots and patches and stripes and epaulets. Those searches are rushed, for how long will the butterfly stay, when will it fly off, at speeds that sometimes exceed 40 miles per hour?

Spots and such mesmerize me, and always have me hoping that I’ll be seeing the finest spots I’ve ever seen before. Sometimes they are!! and little a little boy, or a total teenager, I am totally zonked!

Other addictions of mine? None, I think, ‘cept my usual idiosyncrasies, which let’s agree we needn’t go into.

This Gray Hairstreak was seen early in the morning in the Outdoor Gardens of the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Phipps is perhaps the finest Greenhouse Conservatory in the U.S.A.

She has beautiful spots, no?

Jeff

Wow! A Revelation Revisited

We’re now solidly through 2017 . . . A re-read of this Important Post would be good, very good, for very many, we think. I’ll bet Leslie, Virginia, Angela, Barbara Ann and Cathy would vote with me on this!

Winged Beauty Butterflies

Hibiscus Flowers photographed by Jeff Zablow at Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh, PA, 7/29/10
This flawless, magnificent Hibiscus bloom was growing at the entrance to the Phipps Conservatory’s Outdoor Gardens in my hometown, Pittsburgh. The earlier post we made, with this same flower, shared that despite alot of time spent posted right there, there were no insect visitors. None, and I was there in the middle morning, when flies, bees, butterflies, beetles and others are at their busiest. Nothing flew or walked or crawled to get the nectar of this stunning giant of a flower.

Recently, a visit to Kathy at Sylvania Natives, a Pittsburgh nursery that devotes itself to selling native plants, led to her recommendation that I read Douglas W. Tallamy’s Bringing Nature Home (Timber Press, 2007). It was slow getting into it, then . . . . Wow! The Revelation? It was something that has puzzled me for much of my life. I remember the gardens, carefully coiffured, of the…

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Who’s Seen A Milbert’s?

Milbert's Tortoiseshell Butterfly

Sure this is one of my favorite butterflies. I’ve seen Milbert’s Tortoiseshell butterflies several times. Always an OMG! butterfly, for when the morning is doing just fine, and you’re having good success with butterflies here and there . . . . One flies into your field of view, and it’s not a this or a that, its . . . OMG! a Milberts!!!! Battlestations!

That how I’ve felt when I’ve seen Milbert’s, a northern butterfly for those of us east of the Mississippi River. I remember each and every time I got that healthy buzz. Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania (2x) and here, Bonkers! unexpectedly in the middle of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the Outdoor Gardens of the Phipps Conservatory.

When the upper side is at a 90 degree angle to the strong morning sun, and your eyes are level with the wing surface, the sunlight dances on those reddish-orange wing bands. It looks just like fire! dancing. I saw this with my own eyes at Raccoon Creek. I subsequently read such an account in one of the butterfly field guides.

I’ve learned to temper my tales of Milbert’s, for when I ask folks here, there and everywhere, have you ever enjoyed a Milbert’s, my statisticians count a 99.874% No. Keep vigilant, for if you’re there enough, you just may.

Who’s seen a Milbert’s?

Jeff

Favorites For 2016: Tiger Swallowtails

Tiger Swallowtail butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Phipps Conservatory,  Pittsburgh

We’re in a butterfly year that for sure challenges. Butterflies are flying, but aren’t you seeing them less often, and in reduced numbers? Don’t you work your trails thinking, ‘I miss the Eastern tailed blues, duskywings and American coppers that usually monitor me as I move along this or that trail?’ and ‘It was so much fun watching the Wood nymphs play Peek-a-Boo with me just 2 or 3 years ago!’ Totally “Missed seeing Monarchs surprise us all and come on stage” to resounding cheers, in June!

That’s the year I’m living here in ’16. Then who does this year seem to belong to, at least for now? I say, the Tiger swallowtails, Papilio glaucus. Males are almost everywhere, doing the wild and crazy swooping, diving, swerving and otherwise wild flying in search of females. Their females have certainly played hard to find, too.

Enjoy your Independence Day, and report back, won’t you?

Jeff

The Monarch That Americans Tolerate

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I’m more than half way through Benjamin Franklin, An American Life by Walter Isaacson (Simon & Schuster, 2003). I’m enjoying it alot, and PS 244 in Brooklyn taught us little to nothing about this period in our history. The English royalty is always in the background, playing a silent but critical role in the disfunction that existed between the Colonies and England. I’m now on page 301, with the great majority of the colonists through and done with the King and Crown. Franklin loved the Crown, but came to realize the our place in the British Empire was cooked, done, over.

Now, Americans retain a great Love for this Monarch, (Danaus Plexippus). wingedbeauty.com has posted many images of Monarch butterflies, yet personally, I do not get bored seeing a good one. We suffered a real scare these last years, with doomsayers forecasting the flight of the very last East Coast U.S. Danaus Plexippus.

Now that we are hearing that the flight of the East Coast and Mid-Western Monarchs is substantial, we can relax at least this one tension in our lives.

This one (gender?) is fresh, and that forewing flash of burnt orange bedazzles. In this photograph, we’re at the Outdoor Gardens of the Phipps Conservatory, in the center of my home city, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Jeff

N.B., The 122 scans are back from Rewind Memories, and very soon we will be sharing our images from New York, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Florida. Yippee! You Bet!