The ‘Betty’ Butterfly?

Cloudless sulphur butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

When you’re out in the field as much as some of us are, it’s can I find this one, will my search for that one reward? The Lower Rio Grande Valley was just that, every step, each turned corner, frought with excitement. Reminds of the time when poor as dirt Jeff worked as a messenger in NYNY (to pay to eat while in college) and was given a package to deliver to the Radio City Music Hall dressing room, to one of the  . . . . Rockettes. So I’m 19 years old, and when I get to the dressing room with the package, the guy watching the door tells me to just take it right in, and I look at him and think (((WHAT!!!)). So I go in with the package, and TBTold, I could barely breathe what with the . . . . . . .  . . . .  . . .  . . . .  . . . .  . . . . . . Given a choice, I’d still choose the RCMHall dressing room over the National Butterfly Center, but Oh! how similar they were to me.

With all this seeking/searching/scoping and scanning habitat for butterflies, rare, protected, short of flight butterflies, it often strikes me that we sure overlook lots of ‘common’ species. Photographing in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat I ( Eatonton, Georgia ), the extensive beds of Senna produced squadrons of these Cloudless Sulphur butterflies.

Each day from June to October, these gorgeous, big yellow butterflies surround you almost, and soon, you ignore their presence. When I searched the Media Library of wingedbeauty.com, I stopped here, for it struck me, made this think how we rush past these beauts, with their large white as milk spots, and almost never choose them to share with you. Why hesitate to share? For fear that you, our audience will recoil, thinking Oh yeah, and discount them on sight, as though she’s the Betty, the girl in the Archie comic book series, living next door to Archie, but might as well be invisible to the catchable red headed hero.

Jeff

Evermore Milkweeds

Rare Asclepias photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie Reserve, Ohio

This one was spotted in Lynx Prairie Reserve in Adams County, Ohio. Angela and Joe served up its name, but I can’t now recall it. It’s a milkweed (“Whirled?”), though after decades of seeing Common Milkweed, this one defies and disrupts my formula for recognizing a milkweed. Butterflyweed, OK. Swamp milkweed, Sure. Just weeks ago I met my first White milkweed, and after minutes of ogling it, and got used to the reality of it.

This one though remains an enigma to me, as if G-d sought a milkweed to fill the role of ‘Clown’ of the North American milkweeds, and this one was summoned to center stage, and that was that, assignment filled, the Clown of the milkweeds . . . .

Jeff

Another You’ll Never Ever See?

Rare Skipper, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Brunswick, GA

Flipping the pages of my copy of Jeffrey Glassberg’s Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America ( Princeton University Press, 2nd Edition ), I stopped often, to acknowledge how fortunate I’ve been these years. I stopped on page 392, at this little under-appreciated, the Salt Marsh Skipper. Glassberg notes they are “U-A.” Uncommon to Abundant.

They fly from Rhode Island all the way along the coast to Texas. That sounds like a great swath of the United States. Yet, no. They’re only found in salt marshes that line the coasts of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. That’s just say from Rhode Island all the way to Texas, but, that Big but, just in the Saltgrass, perhaps no farther than 50 feet or less from the waters’ edge.

So those in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi Louisiana and Texas can only see a Salt Marsh Skipper if the search for it within some 50 feet of the shoreline, in Saltgrass.

Sort of hidden in plain view, no? John and Nancy led me to this one, in Brunswick, Georgia. Another one you’ll likely never see?

Jeff

The Largest Monarchs?

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

We were in the perennial beds of the National Butterfly Center. It was seriously hot. Two miles from the Mexican border hot, there in Mission, Texas

The female Monarch butterfly flew in to Asclepias (milkweed). She was the largest Monarch I’ve ever seen. Make that the largest of what, 8,000 monarchs? Before I could make my patented approach, Whamo! this brute of a male Monarch landed on that same Asclepias. They communicated briefly, and then as fast as you can say ‘Howdy Doody’ they were coupled together in this embrace.

He is closest to you, she can be seen below her. Both were very, very large Monarchs. The Land of the Monarch giants!!

Jeff