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.


Giants Evoke

Giant butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Pigeon Mountain, GA

I booked a cabin in Trenton, Georgia, up there in the northwestern corner of the state. Early July 2018. Diana Fritillary butterflies are often seen in the Georgia mountains, and I really wanted to see my first Diana (“Oh stay be me, Diana”). The cabin owners were very helpful, and when they heard that I was there to find and photograph butterflies, they shared that they had a friend who is a local backwoods expert.

David grew up in that corner of Georgia, and knows it well. He led me to Pigeon Mountain, assuring me that the trail up opened to 2 promising meadows. Dianas look to spend their time in meadows on mid-sized mountains.

The upper meadow was just perfect, with an abundance of wildlfowers in bloom. The possibility of seeing a Diana was so real.

Well, the possibility was real, but I never saw a Diana. I did see lots of butterflies, and especially alot of very large, very fresh Giant Swallowtail butterflies.

Giant swallowtails fly gracefully, their almost lazy wing beats just mesmerize. Seeing 4 or 5 beauties together, at the edge of the treeline, was just nearly unforgettable.

This big stunner took a break on a large leaf, and I shot away. It’s rich black, yellow and tease of red and blue sing to your eyes. Giants evoke a menu of thoughts, mostly of how Good is really there for us to see, and to confirm the Meaning of our existence. It also helps to recall our strong connection to the A-mighty.