The Beauty Of An Eyed Brown

Appalachian Brown Butterfly II photographed by Jeff Zablow at Prairie Fen Reserve, Ohio

We scoured Prairie Road Fen, Angela and Barbara Ann for orchids and wildflowers, with me keeping an eye out for butterflies. Near Dayton, Ohio, I was again and again impressed with the richness of Ohio reserves and parks.

They found their orchids, here at Prairie Fen Reserve and almost everywhere else, they with much experience with orchids and near relentless in their pursuit of them.

Me? I was reintroduced to several butterflies of the northeastern USA that are hard to find. This Eyed Brown butterfly was such, one I rarely see over the years. It’s home? Wet meadows.

Once my Fuji slides were returned from Dwayne’s Photo, I was thrilled by this image. Glassberg’s A Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America cites Eyed Brown’s as “LR-U” at the southern edge of range,” and that made our meeting even more serendipitous. Rare to Uncommon brings a smile, for that 6 hour or so drive west from Pittsburgh, for such moments, made sense, much sense.

Studying the rich play of color on this left hindwing, I think of the subtle beauty it displays, those tiny eyes, shining as little spotlights, the jagged lines that enable us to differentiate this butterfly from the closely related Appalachian Brown butterfly, the rich hues of brown that I’m on record as . . . loving and the good capture of the head, legs and antennae.

The beauty of an eyed brown, a fresh eyed brown.

Jeff

Metalmarks in 2018?

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

Would you? I think I want to, I do. I want to revisit those destinations along the Georgia coastline, that delivered Little Metalmark butterflies, Eastern Pygmy blue butterflies, Great Northern Whites, Cassius Blues and more. I know where they mostly are, and I want to let loose my newish Canon 100mm/2.8 Macro-lens with IS. I $prung for that extra IS (image stabilizer (= with built in gyroscope to correct for lens sway) to score sharper captures of eyes, antennae, feet, wing beauty, etc,, This image of a Little Metalmark was taken with my now defunct Macro- lens.

I think about going back. What I want are finer images of these butterflies, especially ones that boast excellent, scintillating silvery wing bands! For the Eastern Pygmy blues, I want images that I can admire, and know that yes, this is my image.

Pyle, RT Peterson, William Bartram, Virginia C Linch and the fabulous Paynes go back. Why shouldn’t I go back and finish the work?

Thoughts?

Jeff

Why? Asked A Photographer of Butterflies.

Tawny Hackberry butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Fond? Not strong enough. Really like? Not that either. This image evokes stronger for me, Love. I love this Tawny Emperor butterfly image. Comes the question, why? Why too, in a ‘Media library’ of more than 700 images, do a very few of them earn the ‘Love’ sentiment?

Seek/chase/search/scour habitat for butterflies, and you will be skunked (disappointed) much. It may rain when you reach your destination, or it may be too dry, hot, or devoid of critical hostplants or those very same hostplants may be set in a place that butterflies just don’t go to. It may be too windy, or bad weather may be on its way, and I often wonder if butterflies don’t pre-sense that. All this to understand that when we score a unique image, all of these negatives have not deterred.

Tawny emperors are not common, not usually encountered. The closely related Hackberry emperor is common. This particular Tawny was the first I had ever seen, what friends would call a ‘Lifer.’ That on that morning I shot out at least 40 or more exposures, reminds of how much I wanted to leave there with good stuff. Uncommon butterfly, sweet image = another reason that I ‘Love’ this image.

Aspects of the image? Fresh, fresh individual, with good color capture. Eye-friendly background (green leaves, blurred by the work of my Macro- lens (100mm/2.8 Canon). Near universal fine share of wings, body, head, eyes, antennae. To this add that this Tawny was comfortably sitting on the horizontal member of a wooden trail marker at Raccoon Creek State Park in Beaver County, in southwestern Pennsylvania. Butterfly perched at a tantalizing angle with reference to that hardwood platform adds to the eye-fascination I have always had for this look.

Personal affinities? I love browns, and this is a study of browns. I have always thought that those 4 wings look way oversize, as if this flier could barely rise from the board (after it decided that more 40+ captures were enough, it shot away at shocking speed, in a direct path, some 5 feet or so off the ground). The near mystical. Had I arrived minutes before, or minutes later, I would Never have met this comely beauty. To that add that Miriam and others whom I admire have generously praised this photo, and well, that pleases me, alot.

A brief discussion of why? from someone who thinks about this, once again, alot.

Jeff

Red-Banded Delight

Red-Banded Hairstreak butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

You’ve got to keep your eyes peeled for them. I now know where to find them in the Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat. I know when to look for them there, where, and I know that you have to look for them, because at 1″ across, wing to wing, they are ‘t’ as in tiny. A Red-banded hairstreak.

They fly roughly from Pennsylvania down to Florida, and have several broods (generations), raising the likelihood that you’ll see one . . . again, if you look. I am always looking, especially here in central Georgia. Why? Well, the southern Red-bandeds have broader, more prominent red-orange bands across their hindwings. I’m a sucker for those red-bands, truth be told.

This gent was camera ready. That band, bordered in white, those 2 pairs of tiny tails, that light blue patch, adequate eyespots, neat spotted legs and antennae and . . . those perky eyes and palps. The whole package.

You can’t help but perk up! when your eyes set on a fresh Red-banded hairstreak like this guy. A Red-banded delight!

Jeff

 

Buckeyes Tease

Buckeye butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at the Butterflies and Blooms Habitat in Eatonton, GA

Shooting a Buckeye butterfly with a Macro- lens requires that you approach within about 18″. Now how are you going to do that, with such a skittish butterfly? They are especially wary, and your careful approach is usually rewarded by . . . gone! flew! gone!

A fool’s errand is trying to make approach to a Buckeye resting on your trail, or here, at the Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch (Eatonton, Georgia, A 5 **** butterfly destination), catching a breather on one of the paths. You approach robotically, you have a good feeling about your chances, and then nada! zilch! for it’s . . . . gone!

This Buckeye was nectaring on Lantana, that southeastern and southwestern cultivar that releases its sugar juices periodically over the course of the morning.

I made my Technique (see above) approach. Good. So far. Now comes the Buckeye Challenge. Meaning, Bet you can’t get all of those eyes, and Florida orange bands, and golden ring margin borders, and forewing wider bands, and forewing chevrons and forewing margin dots and wing background color, and abdomen, thorax, head, eyes, palps and antennae, together, and all in focus!

So this image is returned from Kansas, and the slide taunts. I love most of the eyes, I love other hindwing color action! but, the head, eyes, palps and more, nope!

Decision time that night. I decided to share this, for I still love those hindwings, and who knows when Virginia will once again dish up such a shmeksy! Buckeye?

Jeff