The Excitement Of A Fresh Flight

Edwards Hairstreak Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie, OH

I’m struggling to count the number of times it has happened to me. How many times have I come up a finite area of habitat . . . with a fresh flight of butterflies aloft? That’s, how many times have I arrived at a destination, to find alot of butterflies, all of the same species, and all very recently eclosed ( exited from their chrysalises )?

Magical Adams County, Ohio treated me with a double-header in June 2016. I waded into Lynx Prairie to gape at this Edward’s Hairstreak, spectacular in its reds, blues, gray, white and black as well as dozens of others, perhaps 40 Edward’s about. They were some resting as this one, while others were mobbing Butterflyweed and other wildflowers. I wanted a capture like this one, of the beauty of their Edward’s’ ventral hindwings. I am satisfied that this one accomplishes that.

I somehow managed to get separated from my friends that day. That is not the first time that has happened to me. I’ve quit joining tours in the field, for tour leaders well, hate me, for when I see something that fascinates me, in habitat or in a museum, I get lost in my enthusiasm, and kind of put the tour off schedule, as in “Where’s that guy, Jeff?”

So, very separated from the others in the sizable Lynx Prairie Reserve, I came upon yet another prairie, and OMG!! I found a lifer for me (!!!) a Northern Metalmark butterfly. Then a 2nd one, a 3rd one and soon had seen more than 40 Edward’s Hairstreaks, all fresh and yummy to the eyes.

Lynx Prairie, just miles from the Ohio/Kentucky border drove me nuts! that day, late in June. Two new butterflies for me, and large flights of so so fresh ones at that.

It was a very rewarding Thank You G-d day for me. A very nourishing day for my eyes and a fine adrenaline wash for Jeff. Such days remain long remembered.

Jeff

Sweet HolyLand Copper

Lycaena Phlaes Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Neve Ativ, Israel

Almost 4 hours on that wonderful meadow in the full Israeli sun. It was me and lots of blues and copper butterflies, within sight of Mt. Hermon, just at the perimeter of the little village of Neve Ativ. We’re on the slope of the mighty mountain. Many battles were fought here, and now peace reigns, and there are so many Lycaenidae butterflies at hand, that I am careful picking and choosing which to expend film for.

This tiny copper butterfly, Lycaena phlaeas timeus charmed me, and I returned the favor, shooting away, and scoring this sweet capture. Among the bounty I shot that day, reward for sure for driving up the steep, narrow, winding road to get to Neve Aviv. I remember thinking, what would happen if I round the next sharp curve, and suddenly an 18-wheeler is coming the other way! Yes Ma’am that’s exactly what happened next. Don’t like such, and there I was, thankfully on the inside lane, nearly scraping the mountain outcrop to my right!!

The only thing missing that morning, or the other mornings, was Y-O-U.

Jeff

The State of Awe

 

Black Swallowtail butterfly and chrysalis, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch, Eatonton, GA

When I review the many hundreds of images stored in our Media Library, I often stop scrolling down at this one. This photo of an Eastern Black Swallowtail? An affirmative one for me.

It buoys me up in so many ways. This is why I get up at 4:30 A.M. and struggle to get out of the house on time, to drive to the morning’s destination, Oh! so hoping that I can cop a winner of an image or two.

This shot reminds me that each and every foray in the bush may bring me face to face with unequaled beauty and wonder.

Then too it tempers my never diminished excitement, ongoing and burning, so many years (decades) into the pursuit of butterflies common and OMG! rare.

I’m brought to a smile, as I consider how the very same fascination I felt when I was a boy, in those disappearing empty ‘lots’ of Brooklyn, New York waxes true now, decades later.

Those hundreds of sceptical looks, after being asked “What do you do [now]?” The resigned looks from family, unable to tell their friends that I now own NYNY real estate, much, as I once did and now photograph not horses, nor grizzlies, nor whales, nor tigers, but  . . . butterflies.

The thrill of the looooong drive to another state, actually finding the habitat sought, and now maybe, maybe meeting a butterfly as shmeksy! as this one here and G-d willing, capturing an image of it, and a good one at that . . . and having Jeffrey, Phyllis, Lauren, Leslie, Cathy, Rose, Jim, Virginia, Barbara Ann, Laurence, Linda, Angela, Melanie, Deepthi, Nancy, Joanne, Marcie, Phil, the Mikes, Jeffrey and Mr. Pyle Comment nicely.

All that and me knowing that G-d has shared with me a bit of the Great Beauty about us.

I smile, for I understand, that more often then some, I am fortunate to be in the State of Awe.

Jeff

Butterfly Peril #1 ?

Argiope with sulphur prey photographed by Jeff Zablow at the Butterflies and Blooms Habitat in Eatonton, GA

At night in bushes, perennials and trees? I’m not sure I can count all of the perils that butterflies face: ants, beetles, lizards, spiders, birds, snakes, assassin bugs . . . . During the day this same list balloons, with legions of additional predators that prey on butterflies.

When you run wingedbeauty.com, and are at the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat here in Eatonton, Georgia so many of these predators are met in real-time. Now, you know that images of a predator preying on a beautiful butterfly immobilized, make many cringe, darken their mood instantly.

I have long thought about the urgency of helping interested people learn about butterflies. Habitat disappears by the minute, pesticides and their ilk kill, and long ago I thought about how the USA”s millions of pristine, grass covered gardens deter butterfly survival. We discussed this back in John Adams High School in South Ozone Park, New York, in the 1970’s, on a much simpler level. With Doug Tallaway’s book, I personally understood. wingedbeauty.com is a platform to share, see and understand.

So, when I stood there, and saw this Cloudless Sulphur butterfly in the web of this Black and Yellow Argiope spider, maybe 4 seconds after the Cloudless took a sad turn in flight . . . I first wondered if y’all had the stomach for this very natural scene and I knew I’d have own debate some time later, post it or not post it?

Me? I’m glad I’m not a butterfly. The dangers are many. I fought each and every one I had to in Brooklyn, back then. This Cloudless not only has no defense against attack, but choose turning left instead of right, and you’re ‘chopped liver.’

Jeff

Scoring The Tinies

Coupled Copper Butterflies II photographed by Jeff Zablow at Neve Ativ, Israel

Two hours had gone by. I’d worked and reworked that meadow at the edge of the little moshav (village) on the slope of mighty Mt. Hermon. Mostly I was seeing blue butterflies and copper butterflies. Most were common and found throughout the northern half of Israel. A few were rare, protected butterflies, they much appreciated and good for pumping the waning adrenaline.

The coppers were a fresh flight. That brought me to thinking that it would be neat if that 2017 morning I might find a mater pair of coppers. Its way uncanny, that there have been times, especially in the HolyLand, when I asked G-d to roll out this or that butterfly for me . . . and I guess, my plea is heard, for sure enough, out it comes. Honest.

Think as you will, just minutes later, this exquisite pair of Copper butterflies, right there, coupled tighter on this tiny, Golan bloom. They seemed indifferent to my Macro- approach. Two lovers, each smaller than my pinkie finger nail, locked together, purposefully. He on the left, she to your right. They were still there a bit later, not having moved much.

I shot dozens of exposures. I wanted alot. What think you? What does this image stoke in your mind?

Jeff