Winter Antidote VIII

Monarch Butterfly on Goldenrod Blooms photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania, 9/5/14
August 2014, we all remember, made us all anxious. Internationally, things were bizarre. Here in the U.S., almost no Monarchs were seen. The fear of losing these magnificent winged beauties was saddening. Young kids have their cell phones, Xboxes, and all those other devices that monopolize their attention. Those privileged to not be so addicted, have the blue sky, flower blooms and Monarch butterflies. Monarchs that have seen Mexico and New Orleans, at least.

With ice covering almost everything this morning, we share this exhilarating images of the rest of the story. September 5th, and our heroine breakfasted that morning on the nectar of goldenrod blooms, millions of them from which to choose. We’re in Doak field, Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania. An 8 hour drive west from New York, New York.

She is truly a winged beauty. Her colors and hues fresh, and a winter antidote, for your eyes to savor. Agree?

The reports from Mexico are encouraging. Improved numbers, besting the dismal counts of 2014. Jeff is ecstatic. There will be Monarch butterflies to anticipate in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Kansas and Maine this year, G-d willing.


Winter Antidotes VI

Queen Butterfly at White Tank Mountains, AZ
Need a winter antidote now. The NOAA forecast for Pittsburgh tonight and tomorrow, 4″ to 6″ of snow, may sound fantastic to Petra (my black russian), but it will mean going back again to that snow shovel.

Got an image that radiates heat? This one sure does. A Queen butterfly (Danaus gilippus) nectaring in an arroyo in White Tank Mountains Regional Park, west of Phoenix, Arizona. Backstory? I found the arroyo, but after working through it for several hundred yards, I did not find any plant in flower. Why would a plant produce flowers in this unrelenting oven of an arroyo? Then I spotted this gentle beauty, with . . . flowers. Tiny flowers. Queen and I were both happy to find what we were looking for, so my approach enabled this image.

What did I do? Bird in the hand. I stationed myself there, and with baby blue sky, here is the result. Closely related to the the much discussed Monarch butterfly, the Queen’s host plants are similar to those of all Danaus butterflies, Asclepias plants, milkweeds.

So tomorrow morning, as I psyche myself to go out and shovel, I will first open my iMac and soak in this image, a butterfly nectaring in . . . a veritable oven, and overjoyed for it. No doubt!