American Icons?

Great Spangle Fritillary Butterfly on Coneflower photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie Reserve, Ohio

I think so. When I first visited Adams County, Ohio, Lynx Prairie Reserve treated me to my first wild Coneflower. To that point, a rich lifetime, I had presumed that coneflowers were non-native cultivars. How thrilled I was that morning, to learn that they are 100% American!

Perched on this coneflower, this Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly is another American icon. Glassberg’s Swift Guide to Butterflies has them present in almost all continental US states, except for Arizona, Texas, Mississippi and Florida. This big butterfly is born & bred USA.

This then is an American iconic view, Great Spangled Fritillary perched on Coneflower. I must add that Ohio, where these were seen, has been the most welcoming, giving, sharing of the 48 U.S. states, for I’ve enjoyed more self-less butterfliers and orchid seeking and wildflower lovers there than in any other state I’ve visited. Thanks Angela, Deb, Dave, Flower, Joe and others.

Jeff

The Non-Nursery Coneflower

Coneflower photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie, Ohio

Like most of you, I’ve planted Coneflower in my garden for what?, decades. If I ever gave this incredible perennial a thought, it was a fleeting one, as in I wonder where this beautiful wildflower comes from? Mexico? Peru? Cuba? Costa Rica? Tanganyika?

You just don’t stop learning . . . never. Imagine shock (not surprise, shock!) when Angela & Barbara Ann & Dave & Joe led me into Lynx Prairie Preserve in Adams County, Ohio?

When I saw this Coneflower there, I wondered. Did someone introduce Chinese Coneflower to the southernmost tip of Ohio, a handful of miles from the Kentucky border?

They patiently told me that Coneflower is a native. It took me days to grasp the irony. I spent decades presuming that Coneflower was introduced from Asia or Europe or South or Central America.

Nope, Virginia, it’s an American native. Not a local Nursery cultivar, native.

Jeff

Blackwater Pinks

Pink Lady's Slipper wildflower, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, MD

I was seeking butterflies, she was more interested in revisiting a spot that annually yielded Pink Lady Slipper Orchids. It was a mostly cloudy morning there, at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, near Madison, Maryland.

Yes, I did once visit the Great Synagogue in Jerusalem and I visited the Vatican and its breathtaking Sistine Chapel.

Standing there, gaping at these native (American) orchids, evokes the same kind of Awe,

Three bunched Pink Lady Slipper Orchids, elegance, delicate beauty and improbable pluck, in the shady recesses of a wild, Wildlife Refuge. Speaking in whispers, for G-d is close by.

Jeff

On Pigeon Mountain

Pink Wildflowers photographed by Jeff Zablow at Pigeon Mountain, GA

Last year’s trip to the north Georgia mountains led us to David, a native of that beautiful region. David led us to Pigeon mountain, and its pair of pristine meadows.

The #1 goal was to find and shoot Diana Fritillary butterflies. All was seemingly perfect: A mountain meadow, full of nectaring blooms, sunny, windless weather, and all the hikers that we saw stayed below those meadows, leaving us to ourselves and our search.

Dianas? Nope. I’ve still not seen my first. Giants? Huge Giant Swallowtails, usually seen in groups of 3 or 4. Memories? Wonderful ones, on a mountain in north Georgia.

Still to be done? Need to get an ID on these nice wildflowers, growing in those Pigeon mountain meadows, along the perimeter tree line.

Ellen? Virginia? Rose? Barbara Ann? Angela? Jeff?

Jeff

“Zebra Swallowtail!”

Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly and Edwards Hairstreak on Butterflyweed photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie Reserve, Ohio

You’re out seeking butterflies, and one of you shouts, “Zebra Swallowtail!” All stop what they were doing and respond, “Where?” Comes the question, Why? Why do seasoned butterfly seekers and those new to the search, become so excited when a Zebra is spotted?

They are scarce, rarely seen butterflies. They fly in with grace and beauty and they are surely coming to flowers that are pumping nectar. During this 2019 a typical day might score 2 Monarchs, 3 Pearl Crescents, 1 Pipevine Swallowtail, several Duskywings, an Eastern Comma, 4 Tiger Swallowtails and 1 Red-Spotted Purple. Zebra Swallowtail on that ‘typical day?’ No, not a one.

Rewarded with a look at such a beaut as this one, resplendent in its whites, black, red and blue, you feel special, fortunate to see what few see, a magnificent American butterfly, one of our most eye-pleasing.

This one was shot in Lynx Prairie Reserve, Adams County, Ohio. It’s on Butterflyweed, a milkweed, native to the USA. Also enjoying the milkweed nectar there is an Edwards Hairstreak butterfly, it too is a reason to feel good. Seeing both of these uncommon butterflies, reason enough to travel to Lynx Prairie in late June.

Jeff