Embattled Butterflies Seen?

Regal Fritillary Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Fort Indiantown Gap Military Reservation, PA

Searching my Media Library of images, I stopped here. A butterfly so endangered, that used to be found from Maine to Florida, and now exists solely in a broad meadow in a Pennsylvania military base. The Regal Fritillary. A Super Rare butterfly.

Just back from a long walk with Petra, I find myself reminiscing. What other superarbutterflies have I met these last two year in the U.S.?

Georgia satyr (Georgia & Florida). Bog Copper (New York State). Creole Pearly-eye (Georgia). Salt Marsh Skipper (Georgia). Little Metalmark (Georgia). Eastern Pygmy Blue (Georgia). Zebra Heliconian (Georgia). Juniper Hairstreak (Georgia). Cassius Blue (Georgia).

Folks ask why I spend so much time traveling to Georgia? The answer to that lies above. Trail savvy Georgians have generously invited me to join them and seek hard to find butterflies, and have gone out of their way to insure that our efforts are successful.

All this whets my appetite for 2017! How much do I look forward to continuing my hunt for embattled butterflies? Spread your hands as far apart as you can. That much! Any tentative objectives? Yep. Georgia. New York. Maine. Ohio & Vancouver Island, Canada.

Missing from my list? North Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia, Florida & New Jersey. Folks in these states may just be too busy to find the time . . . . No matter, ’17 may well be a bust-out year!

Jeff

Reflecting On A Wow! Year: 2015

Allancastria Cerisyis butterfly (Protected), photographed by Jeff Zablow in Hanita, Israel

No guide, no tips from experts, just field guide and maps, and in March 2015 I found these Protected Parnassian butterflies in Israel, minutes by foot from the border with Lebanon.

With the guidance of a local expert, I savored Lady Slipper orchids in the southwestern tip of New York State. No Brooklyn this! Then Clay Pond, and Ackeley Swamp in Pennsylvania. On to the Jamestown Audubon Center, where the Welcome! door is swung wide open! And, JAC’s reserve has . . . butterflies!

Accepted an invite to visit the Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia, and was rewarded with an ongoing mob of gorgeous southern butterflies. Met new friends, and soon was swamping with Rose and Jerry in Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, chasing rare Satyrs in the swamp. Phil, a Ranger at Hard Labor Creek State Park introduced me to cane wetlands and other extraordinary habitat. Georgia, a butterfly destination.

Back on my own, I resourced an article in NABA’s magazine, and drove down from Eatonton to Perry, Florida. Big Bend Wildlife Management Area was some seven miles from my Hampton Inn, and  love at first sight.

Then it was walking with a local expert who introduced me to Kelso swamp, 18 miles from my home, created by beavers some time ago, and looks to me that if it is not conserved by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, it will one day, not too far away . . . be developed. Then no herons, no beavers, no frogs, no snakes, and . . . no butterflies.

Those of you who visit regularly will taste some more than 120 images, soon to be posted, one by one.

2016? G-d willing will be . . . !

Jeff