Palamedes Plus

Palmed Swallowtail Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, Florida

Much of the world has the Corona virus on its mind. Blame them? No, for they fear for their safety, the health of their kids, parents, brothers, sister, friends and neighbors. They fear too for their jobs, incomes and for what their lives will be like in the coming weeks. Months?

Me? My own thinking is personal, though I will remind that I’ve waves bye bye to my 40’s, 50’s and more. I’ve seen much, and survived much.

Butterflies? What a fantastic antidote to your virus fears! Butterflies come to my garden in Eatonton, Georgia. On a sunny day, hundreds visit. Yesterday it was visits from Red-banded Hairstreaks, Cloudless Sulphur and several species of Skipper butterflies.

Most of you can get in your cars and drive less than an hour to a State Park, National Wildlife Refuge, National Monument, private refuge or reserve or National Park . . . or along roadsides full of wildflowers.

This image of a show-stopping Palamedes Swallowtail butterfly, in the Florida Panhandle, rocked my boat, for it struck my as Palamedes Plus, that is, a sight for sore eyes!! Beauty beyond beautiful. All that and in the kind of place listed above: Extreme Social Distancing for tens of millions of Americans . . . and for you in France, Estonia, Hungary, China, Canada, Sri Lanka, Ireland, Japan, India, Pakistan, Gold Coast, Kenya . . .


Little Metalmark Butterfly . . . photo by Phineas T. Bluster

Little Metalmark butterfly on bloom, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Shellman Bluff, GA

Ecstatic! That’s what I was when I arrived in Shellman Bluff, Georgia. Nancy and John could not have been more gracious. Four days on the Georgia coast, with the river just behind, looking out at the panoramic wetland.

Nancy and John are birders, who have more recently begun photographing butterflies. They said that they would do all that they could to find us Little Metalmarks, Eastern Pygmy blues, Great Southern whites, Salt Marsh Skippers and more. Both have eagle-eyes, and both could not have been more gracious, spotting for me, and giving me first dibs.

My first introduction to Little Metalmarks, I had to pause and just amaze at how tiny they were. Tiny and nectaring on tiny yellow blooms. How tiny? Very tiny. Wingspan of less than ¾ of an inch. That buzzed me, for it explained why most of the images of this butterfly that I had ever seen weren’t prize winners.

Why, because they are sooo tiny, and they remain on a bloom for a short time, and to capture what I most wanted, my Macro- lens and I had to get down, down, down to them, and then . . . once down with them, they would leave the flowerhead, and move to another, 8 feet away. So there I am, now down almost to the ground, looking at, a butterfly-less flower.

What was it that I most wanted? I wanted to capture those silvery metallic lines that span their wings, as those metallic lines reflected the sunlight. It was a sunny day, so I shot away, asking my back to be patient and stick with me.

So, I wish I could say that this image was taken by Phineas T. Bluster (of fleeting fame), but alas, this is my image, of a Super day in Shellman Bluff (I love that name), courtesy of Nancy and John, and those precious winged beauties, Little Metalmarks.

Please, no pitching of brickbats! LOL

Jeff . . . humbled in the presence of flying jewels