Adios Arizona!

Arizona arroyo habitat photographed by Jeff Zablow at White Tank Mountains Regional Park, AZ

Where? Well you already know we’re in Arizona. Just an hour and a half west of Phoenix, in that arroyo (dry creek bed) that I visited a couple of times, and almost lost it all to heat exhaustion (didn’t use my cell when I realized I was going down, that male stupidity ( Guilty! ), not wanting to inconvenience 911, when I thought that Brooklyn here had been through deadlier scraps . . . .).

I loved that arroyo, in White Tank Mountains Regional Park. The good sign warned to stay away, do not enter, for among the reasons, flash floods apparently rage through, when it rains. I never ever saw anyone else in that rock-strewn arroyo bed. Hope the Statue of Limitations is now up?

Well, mother-in-law moved back to Brooklyn about 6 months ago, from Sun City West, and that was why I went there in the first place. I for years wanted to also visit Portal, Arizona as Vladimir Nabokov did in his pursuit of blue butterflies, in the southeastern Arizona mountain system that included the Chirichaua mountains,  sp?). Never got that off my list, for not ever finding anyone to join/guide me to good destinations in those huge mountains.

So I reminisce, seeing this sweet, sweet memory from that gorgeous/deadly arroyo, and think, . . . Adios Arizona!

Jeff

Your Monarch Prediction?

Monarch butterfly (male), photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

Six years into wingedbeauty.com, and we have seen burgeoning interest in Monarch butterflies. More and more us of fret over why we find fewer of them in the east most one-third of the United States.

We read most recently that the populations of Monarch butterflies in those central Mexico conifer forests are seriously down again. I hope that those reports are incorrect, but find myself concerned that another summer and fall will produce fewer Monarch sightings here in western Pennsylvania.

In 2016 I spotted very few in and around Pittsburgh. Happily, I photographed this male in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia. There were many Monarchs flying there when I visited in August and again when I returned there in September., Virginia Linch verified that central Georgia enjoyed good Monarch numbers last year.

With 2017 upon us . . . What do you Predict? How numerous do you expect Monarchs to be in your state, your county, and in your own garden?

Jeff

Giant on Thistle at Oakey Woods

Giant swallowtail butterfly sipping nectar from thistle, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Wildlife Management Area, Kathleen, GA

A frozen moment in time, caught at Oakey Woods Wildlife Management Area. Mike and I were working the trails, hot, dry trails through Oakey Woods, he focused on flora, I scoping for butterflies.

This patch of thistle showed up, and we paused there, anticipating the traffic you see in this region, at Krogers or Publix. Sure enough butterflies came in and left. This Giant Swallowtail flew in, and, as they do, nectared furiously on the thistle flowerhead. I split my time well, spellbound and again determined to get this compelling scene on film. Appraisal? Like the thistle here, and like the Giant, wings nicely played with translucent sunlight and that left eye.

In Kathleen, Georgia, 738 miles from my Pittsburgh home, with a butterfly that I have seen twice in 27 years. Pleased to be in tow with Mike, a very committed, very serious botanist, who enabled, with great patience, my dilly dallying, each and every time I stopped to see unusual butterflies.

I am enjoying these experiences more and more often this last few years. Making trails with top naturalists, some birders, some orchid enthusiasts, and others botanists. Way too much fun!

Jeff

Chasing Those Silvery Metallic Lines

Little Metalmark butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Shellman Bluff, GA

Facebook has taught me a new word, “Arrgh!.” Just the perfect word for someone who is in Shellman Bluff, Georgia, chasing Little Metalmark butterflies, from tiny bloom to tiny bloom.

We’ve chronicled earlier that this butterfly is one of the tiniest in North America, and it prefers these tiny yellow blooms, which rise just 3″ from the ground. These little Tinkerbells of butterflies do not linger long on a bloom, nectar -up quickly, and they they are off to the next flower top, 4 feet away. Me, I’ve just scrunched down, Canon camera equipped with Macro-lens, and just when I am ready to capture that image . . . my ‘subject’ has flown, and me, I’m alone down there, ‘naturally. You must sober up then, remember how seriously you want a good image, how long you’ve travelled to get it, and how much you want to share . . . with . . . You.

My major objective? Those silvery metallic lines on forewings and hindwings. How do I want them? There lies the challenge. I want them as they reflect the bright coastal Georgia sunlight. I want to catch the “solder lines” effect.

Well, I seem to have achieved that here, in part. What does that mean for me? It means that I’m aching to get back to that little wildflower bed, and ‘cross the red zone’ and ‘score!’ an ever better look (Tonight is the Super Bowl).

Place your bets!

Jeff