The Regals Hold Court in June

FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa - Visitors of all ages participated in a rare regal fritillary butterfly guided tour on Fort Indiantown Gap. (Department of Military and Veterans Affairs photo by Tom Cherry/Released)

Visitors of all ages participated in a rare regal fritillary butterfly guided tour on Fort Indiantown Gap in Pennsylvania (Department of Military and Veterans Affairs photo by Tom Cherry/Released)

You say you’ve seen a Goatweed Leafwing Butterfly, Great Purple Hairstreaks, Marine Blues, Diana Fritillaries and Eastern Pygmy Blues. Good for you.

Your chance to see a butterfly that once flew in my Brooklyn, and just about every state east of the Mississippi River, and today can only be seen in one limited meadow in mid-central Pennsylvania is just weeks away.

Each year the U.S. military conducts guided tours of that 100-acre meadow, it’s not too far from the state capitol of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. There you will see your first Regal Fritillary Butterfly. I saw perhaps 20 to 25. They are magnificent, and they fly amidst Monarchs, Coral Hairstreaks and Great Spangled Fritillaries.

The guided tours take place in early June, and you must contact the Ft. Indiantown Gap Military Reserve to register. Staff naturalists accompany the guests. 130 folks showed up for my tour, but we soon broke up into small groups, and that Friday was unforgettable. It was.


Downy Yellow Violet

Downy Yellow Violet photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

A Spring rarity, seen in Raccoon Creek State Park.’s Media Library now houses more than 800 images. Each image survived the culling out of dozens of images, this one disposed because it is out of focus, that one because of depth of field dilemmas, and the next because the butterflies eyes are seriously out of focus, and yet another because who wants to see a butterfly from its posterior end?

Of the many images of wildflowers, I have always favored this look at Downy Yellow Violets. For so many reasons, I have always like it. So delicate these blooms, so vulnerable. Delicate as they appear, they suffer the cold Spring nights, for several days running, and face the next, partly sunny day, proud and independent, almost alone, solitary.

I have found this image to be very soothing, relaxing and calming. Communicating; stop, pause, and then frenetically dashing from chore to chore Jeff, and sit and savor. Do you get that too?


Success by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson And . . . The Garden I Said Goodbye To In ’12

Winged Beauty Butterflies

Jeff Zablow's Perennial Beds Pittsburgh, PA, 7/10/07

I have read this often, and attempt to emulate it in my own life, whether gardening to attract winged beauties, or with family and friends, in my spiritual life, and in the field, as I attempt to capture ever more beautiful images of butterflies, darners, wildflowers, whatever . . . .


To laugh often and to love much . . .
To win the respect of intelligent persons
and the affections of children . . . To earn
the approbation of honest critics and to
endure the betrayal of false friends , , ,
To appreciate beauty; to give of one’s self . . .
To leave the world a bit better whether by
a healthy child, a garden patch, or
a redeemed social condition . . .
To laugh and play with enthusiasm and to sing with
exultation and to know that one life
has breathed easier because…

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Long Dash Skipper– a Polites mystic

Skipper Butterfly II photographed by Jeff Zablow at Clay Pond Preserve, Frewsburg, NY

It’s Skipper time. Here we were, at Clay Pond Reserve in western New York State. My eyes are peeled for Satyrs, Viceroys, Monarchs, Wood Nymphs, Angle wings. Rare and/or beautiful wildflowers are also appreciated.

The grass is thigh high, and the going is slow, for though the pond is only 50 feet away, this is a very wet read very wet meadow.

You see what I saw. A very beautiful skipper on a lush, colorful bloom. Arrgh! I try to make believe that I don’t see handsome skipper butterflies, because there are so many species of them about and I never did develop a working ID program in my head, to tell one from another skipper species.

That moment though, I thought, Hey! this is one of the more interesting Skipper species, it is totally occupied as it nectars the full flower head, and it’d make a fine image, if I can capture what I see and share it well.

June 2017, and I make this as a Long Dash skipper, nicely adorned, eyes good and proboscis well extended. And Barbara Ann, he is sipping at this (what kind do you think this is?) bloom.