Searching Akeley For Butterflies . . . Finding Jewels!

Canada Lilies photographed by Jeff Zablow at Akeleyi Swamp, NY

She led me again to this incredible swamp in far western New York State (Farm-to-table far away from the New York City mayhem happening now). Two years before, we’d gone to Akelely Swamp, a refuge recreated from a once railroad right-of-way that cut through this far as the eye could see swamp.

Once again Barbara Ann (OBM”) spent 99% of her time seeking wildflowers & orchids, and me? Butterflies! I found many butterflies, but I also was way ahead of her on the trail, and I found . . . Canada Lilys in their pre-peak excellence.

I went back to tell Barbara Ann of my discovery, and she high-tailed it to them. She loved them. Loved seeing them. Her smile that first moment was from ear to ear. This was a nearby group of them, close to that first seen one.

I did find that Hickory Hairstreak, that news was a ripple in the swamp compared to her exhilaration upon finding these Jewels of Akelely Swamp!

Great memories of a gifted orchid lover and gifted naturalist.

Barbara Ann’s husband Sig passed just some weeks ago. Missed, they are.

Jeff

Tale Of A 7 Foot Tall Thistle (True)

Hover Fly on Thistle photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, Pennsylvania

That year grew Pennsylvania natives tall and robust. Working the meadows, forests and trails of Raccoon Creek State Park, 40 minutes west of the city of Pittsburgh, produced many cherished images.

This group of Thistle plants were all that, tall, strong and healthy. I chose this plant, a 7 foot tall giant, and hatched a plan.

I would stand under this flowerhead, and wait until a Swallowtail or a Ruby-throated Hummingbird came along. Still as a statue, maybe, just maybe, I could score a shot of a lifetime!

Life taught me to grow patience, and after about 38 minutes of waiting, waiting, waiting, I was reminded of those police shows on TV, with the New York City cops sitting in a police car, ‘staking’ out a house, awaiting the arrival of a criminal (now called a “perp”).

Hey, What This? Not a Tiger Swallowtail or a Great Spangle Fritillary of a Monarch . . . a little Hoverfly . . . . I didn’t hesitate. I shot away. Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop!

A Hoverfly hovering over this Thistle flowerhead, it loaded with tiny (?) insects.

This remains one of my all-time favorite images. True that!

I left shortly after, with my Hoverfly images, and no Hummer did come . . . .

Jeff

See Jeff Photograph [Butterflies]

Jeff photographing Georgia's Butterflies and glooms in the Eatonton Briar Patch

Jeff has often written about his life from his childhood to the present. Y’all know that Jeff does not golf, nor play tennis nor is he the 5th man in a regular card game. You know, and some of you recall that Jeff had a hardscrabble life, a kid on the streets, who fought more than you know, and often had long, hard steel accompanying him. Jeff served, completed OCS (Officers Candidate School) and truth be told, was once a Riot Control Platoon Leader. Jeff was a high school Dean (for Discipline) for years in Ozone Park, Queens, meaning guns, knives and pipes, and Jeff is the Dad of 4, he at one time a quite successful property owner in NYNY (that ended with the treachery that targeted him).

Raised in Brooklyn, New York, amidst brick, asphalt and concrete, it was Jeff who more times than not entered the then undeveloped ‘lots’ and sought fauna (animals) and flora (plants). Jeff did own 35 acres in the swell Berkshires, acreage with a Noah’s Ark of wildlife and New England flora, but that was lost after the above noted treachery of his New York ‘partners.’

Many of you have been visiting wingedbeauty.com for years now, some of you for months and some for weeks.

Why does Jeff search for butterflies? What motivates him to set out alone, amidst sometimes ticks, mosquitoes, chiggers, snakes, feral dogs, feral pigs, fire ants, cougar, bear . . . with once again cold steel and more on his person?

Jeff

Angela’s Answer? A Rare Asclepias (Milkweed)

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

We were methodically working a trail in Lynx Prairie Reserve in Adams County, Ohio.  So many butterflies and plants that I’d never seen before. Lynx Prairie was just a handful of miles from Kentucky, and knowing that I was seeing the best of both Ohio and Kentucky? Exciting. Very exciting.

When we came to this one, Angela ID’ed it as an Asclepias, one of the many species of Milkweed that Monarch butterflies deposit their egg on. I stopped and stared, and stared, as the others continued ahead on the trail. Most of them were accomplished botany enthusiasts. Me, well I’ve got lots to learn. An Asclepias?

For those who are complacent, thinking they know ‘it all,’ come into the field, and Zap! That epiphany, that there is so much you don’t know, and so much that you can know. Me? G-d sure created a whole lot!!!

Jeff

Indian Paintbrush In Our Middle Georgia Garden?

Indian Paintbrush Wildflower photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie Reserve, Ohio

When I entered that Lynx Prairie Reserve meadow, there it was! Indian Paintbrush. I’ve always wanted to meet this native wildflower. Seeing it in bloom, robust, was a Wow! for me. Incredible Adams County, at Ohio’s border with Kentucky.

We moved 2 months ago, and we’ve already added much to our garden, many to bring in butterflies, they being hostplants for butterflies and moths: Hackberry trees, Alabama croton, Butterfly weed, Asters. (several), Black cherry trees, Sassafras (5!), Bear Oak, Buttonbush, Linden trees (2), Coneflower, Cocosmia, Passionflower, Hercules Club, Liatris, Atlantic White Cedars (3), Hibiscuses, Shasta Daisy, Pignut Hickory, Sweet Leaf (one of the most difficult Georgia natives to get – that thanks to a friend)), Post Oak, Schlumberger Oak, Devil’s Walking Stick and some more.

The COVID-19 Ongoing has produced large numbers of visitors and happily (for the nurseries) emptied them of things we wanted, for now: Dogwoods, American Plum and additional Black Cherry trees.

Most of these natives are in their infancy. Next year? Truth be told, we really look forward to fine, active butterfly and moth traffic here at 800.

Now, comes the question? Indian Paintbrush set in in Georgia’s Piedmont, north of Macon? What think you? Ellen, Phil, Virginia, Leslie, Roxanne, Laura, Angela, Dave Kuene, Robert Michael Pyle, one and Jerry Payne?

Jeff