Why Think About Scouring The Enormous West?

Lupine Wildflowers photographed by Jeff Zablow at White Tank Mountains Regional Park, Arizona

Daydreaming about how much of the Americans West I’ve not seen, and will never see. What fraction of Americans have visited wingedbeauty.com over these years? I’m in no rush to calculate that. We know that an incredible number of Americans do not think about flora and fauna, nor do they yearn to see photos of butterflies, wildflowers, moths, trees, mushrooms, bees, flies, mantids, vines and more.

I do. I think about all of those things, and I Love to find them and I Love to share what I find with you, just so long as I am able to share images that are worthy of your timed interest.

What brought this on? This image. A wildflower I met in White Tank Mountains Regional Park, just west of Phoenix, Arizona. Like some (most?) of you, this look brings up a pull on me, to go there, and to go to other Arizona destinations, as for example the Chiracauca Mountains in southeast Arizona that are renowned for species of blue butterflies.

America’s west is bigger than big, and will I have the time, money and get up and go to work it for images that will get your Comments & Likes?

Scouring the America west of the Mississippi . . . a man can dream? No? Peggy? Kenne? Melanie? Sherrie? Mr. Pyle himself? Nancy? The Princess of Whidbey Island? Javier?

Jeff

Sing To An Arizona Arroyo

Arroyo Wall photographed by Jeff Zablow at White Tank Mountains Regional Park, Arizona

Early morning at White Tank Mountains Regional Park, west of Phoenix, Arizona. The central desert region of Arizona, in the southwestern USA. Bad Boy Jeff sort of did not honor those signs posted nearby, warning all to not enter the Arroyo, because dry as bones now, a flash storm upstream might/could send a mountain of water your way, without warning.

I’d been to this Arroyo several times, with excellent butterfly finds. Finds I will not forget. What also mesmerized me was the walls of the Arroyo, they drier than bones but . . . .

Beyond those wildflowers, in February bloom, and the other flora and scrub trees on this Arroyo wall, tucked away in the shadows you see, away from the 98 degree Fahrenheit heat that almost took Jeff once, must be amazing desert creatures: lizards, mice, rabbits, scorpions, snakes, spiders, and much unfamiliar to me.

I’d stand there and never know what rested in those cavities, hunkered safely from the daylight and the burning sun. No Ma’am, I will not go there at night, Big Time violating Park regulations, to see what exits those shadows. No Ma’am.

Once, in the early 1980’s, I went with a Manhattan New York friend, who asked if I wanted to see a world famous nightspot, I think its Name was Studio 54 (?) near East 14th Street in Manhattan. We went, and it was the most bizarre place I’ve visited, Ever. I never went back, and the things I saw there, were beyond my belief. That’s what this spot must look like at 1-2 AM!

The things we’ll never see or know . . . .

Jeff

Ask The People Skipper

Skipper butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow in White Tank Mts., Regional Park,  AZ

We met in a dry Arroyo in White Tank Mountains Regional Park, west of Phoenix. I reflect back to that day, and first I remember how risky this was, for signs warn to not enter dry Arroyos, dry stream beds.

This Skipper butterfly found these flowers, among the few in bloom in this super dry habitat. I did see butterflies, actually quite a few, in that Arroyo. Problem was I knew much about eastern USA butterflies, and little about these Western ones. The good news, during those 4 or 5 trips to White Tank Mountains, while visiting my mother-in-law, I lucked out, sometimes seeing rare butterflies, as the Arizona Powdered-Skipper.

So I ask y’all, can you help in once and for all identifying this Arizona skipper, seen in this dry Arroyo? No other images taken, in that 94F hot place.

Jeff

Moving Experiences

Empress Leila Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in White Tank Mountains Regional Park, Arizona

Those Emperors in that White Tank Mountain Regional Park in west central Arizona sure caught my attention. In a bone dry arroyo, they flew alone, short distances, and almost always returned to the same spot that they left moments before. They much resembled Hackberry Emperors and Tawny Emperor butterflies, but their behavior was so very different.

Closer approach revealed that they were Empress Leila butterflies, western USA cousins to the above cited Emperors. They were my 3rd Emperor butterfly, and I was pleased to meet them, very. They can be seen in New Mexico, Arizona and western Texas.

We will not be posting on wingedbeauity.com for a week or two, because I am moving to a new home in Macon, Georgia. Moving, as some of you know, is a bear, and near totally time consuming.

Stay well,

Jeff

One Of The Cousins (Arizona)

Empress Leila Butterfly photographed in White Tank Mountains Regional Park, Arizona

There are three (3) closely related Emperor butterflies in the United States, the Asterocampa butterflies.

The most commonly seen Emperor is the Hackberry Emperor, Asterocampa celtis. It found in 40 states or more, mostly absent from the northwestern USA. Had one, a fresh one, in my yard, yesterday.

Less common is the Tawny Emperor, Asterocampa clyton, usually seen east of the Mississippi River, ands in 4 states west of the River.

Less common again is the Empress Leilia, Asterocampa leilia, known in 3 states bordering Mexico.

This one seen here is an Empress Leila. One of the amazing butterflies that I saw in that certain arroyo (boulder strewn dry creek bed). We played tag for quite a while until it finally relented, and agreed to allow me a handful of camera clicks. The Leilias I saw on those several trips to the arroyo never opened their wings for me, preventing me from sharing whether or not they were male or females.

Spending any time in an arroyo is not a good idea. A flash storm miles away can send a wall of water crashing towards you, and . . . Now that I quietly reflect on that, I kinda feel like . . .

White Tank Mountains Regional Park, Arizona.

Jeff