My Most Viewed Butterfly?

This female Easter Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly remains one of my viewed wingedbeauty images, ever. Taken at Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania, some nine hours west of the Empire State Building in New York City.

One of my most viewed ever.

Do be so kind as to share with me. Why have so many of you taken the time to have a look at this particular butterfly?

Jeff

My, What Big Eyes You Have

Little wood satyr butterfly photographed at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Miss this one too. It’s been some time since I’ve seen a Little Wood Satyr. Now relocated to the southeast, what I see are dozens and dozens of Carolina Satyr butterflies. With all respect to the Carolina satyrs, they cannot boast the oversized ‘eyes’ that this one sports. Little Wood Satyrs also give pause for a smile, as the bound about the forest edge with their near ridiculous flight, bouncing, bobbing and weaving.

They mean no harm, seem to be purposeful and give those of us who frequent those trails from Maine to Florida, North Dakota to Texas, sweet thoughts and quizzical looks. How the heck do they roam about the forest perimeter, carefree, when there are so many predators and predicaments just waiting for them?

I love Little Wood Satyrs and their Big ‘eyes’ and chocolate stripes. We are overdue, we are.

Jeff

Meadow Frit Eludes Tiffany’s

Meadow Fritillary Butterfly at Raccoon Creek State Park

Those were cherished moments, working the expansive Doak’s Field meadow at Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania. It was July, and the 100-plus acre  meadow was in full bloom on those hot, sunny July mornings.

I’d wade into the 5′ tall grass, if I spotted something nice on the Common Milkweed, or Bergamot or late Teasel. I’d be reminded of the classic (now) movie, “Jaws,” for after 13 whole summers on the ocean beach at the Rockaways in Queens, New York, that evil film really got to me, and I’d no longer go into the ocean surf beyond my mid-thighs. Yep, the street kid from Brooklyn met his match with that mind-blowing film. Why reminded of “Jaws?” Because wading through all that tall botany to reach the island of milkweed, I knew that I for sure risked picking up a tick or 2 or 5.

Now in the meadow itself, grass up to my chin, along would come a bouncy little butterfly, you’d know it was a fritillary butterfly, but it was too small to be a Great Spangled frit and Aphrodite frits are very uncommon there. Boing! It’s a Meadow Fritillary Butterfly. Yay!!! I’d go to that same field sometimes 5 mornings a week, but seeing a Meadow frit? That’d happen maybe once every 3 or 4 years.

Just rewatched the cute movie, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” Reminded of those Meadow Fritillary Butterflies. Each time I saw these tiny beauts, I’d marvel at how other butterflies were often severely birdstruck, but the Meadow Frits were nearly always full in wing, unscathed.

I’d daydream when I saw them, that they were precious broaches at Tiffany’s (been there at times) that’d decided to take wing and fly out those heavy Tiffany revolving doors, and enjoy a brief flight along Fifth Avenue, to the pleasure of the throngs fortunate enough to take notice of them.

Jeff

The No Respect Butterfly

Red-Spotted Purple butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek Park, PA, 8/24/07

Mr. Rodney Dangerfield (RD) would commiserate with this butterfly. Johny Carson would goad him on, and ask Rodney if he [Rodney] felt akin to this butterfly. This would send RD on a 5-minute tear, likening how he and this Red-Spotted Purple butterfly get “no respect.”

I’m not seeing many Red-Spotted Purples here in Georgia, but in early summer they were very, very common back in Pennsylvania. I loved them, and played a little game with myself, challenging JLZ to find an individual with very prominent red spots at the margins of those forewings.

I like them. For 2 decades, they would appear on the trails that I worked, we repeating over and over again the routine: I approach on the trail, they fly up no more than 2 feet up, to a new spot 12 feet up trail. I continue my hiking, reach them, and again they fly up a bit, and take a new spot, again some 12 feet up trail. Trail companions they were, reminding me of my trusty black Russia pup, Petra.

Find a stunner of a Red-Spotted Purple, and you wonder to yourself, Why do some of us search the wilds of Brazil, India, Bolivia or Myanmar, when here in the USA, you may find a Red-Spotted that equals any of the rare stunners in any corner of the world.

Maybe it’s because you almost never see them nectaring atop beautiful wildflowers? Maybe that truism, ‘Familiarity breeds contempt.’ Some really, really want to find aberrant types or like the Lower Rio Grande Valley stalwarts, want to spot and report a butterfly not seen there for what, “10 years!”

They remain, my vote for the No Respect Butterfly, seen as we sail down trails, but infrequently offered the respect and attention they richly deserve.

Jeff

Northern Pearly Eye Thrills

Northern Pearly Eye Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Allenberg Bog in New York

They are often hard to find. They stay in shade, or within several feet of shaded spots. On your approach, they flee, flying low, but with the skill of an accomplished F-16 pilot. Few of us ever get to savor the spots that adorn their closed wings. What we are lucky to see is just that, their ventral (the underside) wings’ surfaces.

So they are demure, very. They do not come out and display their comely features or bling. Mostly they stay to those margins of the forest, very prim ands proper, and shy, so shy.

That is why this image of such a Northern Pearly Eye Butterfly stands out for me. This one allowed my approach, and I was thrilled, because it was there taking in whatever early morning sun it felt safe to absorb. Thrilled for how many get to see this? See the milk chocolate hue of those wings, and the handsome array of those spots,  each bordered in yellow gold? He is a hunk, no doubt of that.

Jeff