Monkey Pea and Me?

Monkey Pea wildflower photographed by Jeff Zablow at Harris Neck State Park, GA

I’ve seen Monkey Pea plants occasionally these 5 years I’ve scoured Georgia for butterflies. This plant here introduced itself to me in Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge on the Georgia coast. I set out to find butterflies, but when a wildflower glows, I often stop and shoot it.

We’re now 5 full months in our home in North Macon, Georgia, squarely located in the Georgia Piedmont. As plants appear in our sizable backyard, we are charmed by some, puzzled by others, and displeased when alien plants show up. Just days ago, a newbie chose to flourish. It looked promising, so I photographed it, and sent an image along to my fav authority, Ellen. After staking one up, and tieing it to the stake, back came the response, our possible new star of the garden was not what we wanted at all, the non-native Chamberbitter!

Our good news (??) is we now have Monkey Pea, and we throw out to y’all, are we in luck? Is Monkey Pea a boon or a bust. Does it boost butterfly traffic, and does it behave itself? Is it native?

Jeff

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

Armed Thistle (HolyLand)

Severe Thistle With Flower Buds photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mishmarot, Israel

This thistle so reminds me of my youth. Then, there were guys in Brooklyn who you knew were rough guys. We called them “rocks.” I never messed with them, they wearing black leather jackets, adorned with sizable metal studs, their hair was heavily greased, and they always hung in groups. To this day, I don’t know how tough they were, but then, it made no sense testing out that unanswered question.

In Israel, this HolyLand Thistle plant totally reminds me of those ‘Fonzy’ characters back in Canarsie, Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst and Flatbush Brooklyn. This 6 foot to 7 foot tall Thistle was covered with severe, saber sharp thorns. No creature I can think of would want to brush up against it. When you first come upon this plant, you stop and wonder, you foolishly hope that this Thistle cannot pick itself up and charge toward you. At least you are thankful that it is anchored in place.

I wondered too why a HolyLand wild flowering plant was so armed with near-deadly knife-like thorns. Why?

It was not in bloom then, and I regretted that I did not see it in flower.

Jeff

License To Kill?

Fly on Jewelweed photographed by Jeff Zablow at Frick Park, Pittsburgh, PA

When we see them, don’t we stop and gaze? Robber flies look so confident, so fierce. I often puzzle over the competing thoughts upon seeing a robber fly. On the one hand we view them as formidable killers, and yet at the same time we don’t speed away from them, instead we approach them. Some of us have shared sidewalks with killers, and we knew to keep a good distance from them, as we heeded the warnings of our parents to stay away from New York City cops, then.

I’ve never seen a Robber Fly capture a butterfly, although I suppose they do. Have you ever seen a Robber fly with butterfly prey? The sight of a Robber Fly with a Monarch butterfly or a Zebra Heliconian butterfly would sadden us all, no?

The insects of our gardens, parks and wild habitat live as they do, with no obvious concern about the possible appearance of a Robber Fly. I think of that often, again reminiscing back to the streets of my childhood home, and the Connected guys who shared them with us.

This Robber Fly was dining on an insect, while comfortably perched on a large leaf in Frick Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Worried, it? No, no, no.

Jeff

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