Skipper On Buttonbush

Unidentified Skipper Butterfly on Buttonbush photographed by Jeff Zablow at Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, GA

We were searching late in the season Buttonbush, growing at the edge of Pond 2A at Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge in Juliette, Georgia. Buttonbush is a native wetland plant whose blooms are excellent nectar bars for many butterflies. It’s just as wonderful to see it growing in Akeley Swamp in far western New York State as it is to see it 960 miles south in the Georgia Piedmont.

I set it in my natives garden in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania . . . and just 3 days ago purchased some healthy young Buttonbush at Nearly Natives Nursery in Fayetteville, Georgia.

The skipper here? Wouldn’t it be nice if one of you shared a definitive ID?

People Plan . . . and G-d Laughs

Wildflower photographed by Jeff Zablow in Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, Florida's Panhandle

This was a saying the previous generations used to share with one another, and we kids just flicked it off, grandparents! As as many of us now know, we should have afforded them even more gravitas, then we did.

The plan is to leave Pittsburgh in 4 days, and drive to Eatonton, Georgia. During the 2 weeks there, there was a sub-plan. Repeat the 2015 Huge Success!! of a run down to Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, in the Florida Panhandle. That 4-day Victory trip was OOh La La! I would turn and there was a butterfly new to me, then finish shooting it out, turn and OMG! another lifer for me, and just total buzz! excitement.

Timed perfectly this year, this time with the Liatris in Full Bloom, and SLIGHT HITCH has occurred. My PLAN now confronts the news, that tropical storm Hermine hit the Florida Panhandle at, you guessed it, at, at Big Bend. What must this Paradise, of blooms, like this one, look like now?

People Plan . . . and G-d Laughs (at our plans). No?

Jeff

Could 2016 be the Year for Native U.S. Orchids?

Pink Lady's Slipper Orchid, photographed by Jeff Zablow in Chapman State Park, PA

Today was a cool day here, with Pittsburgh highs hovering around 51 degrees Fahrenheit. During the day, I poured through Israeli wildflower field guides, searching for which of their natives orchids will be in bloom next February to March ’16. A friend confirmed that searching and finding Protected Israeli orchids would be . . . you fill in the word. Butterflies and orchids, Oh, I can only dream.

These Pink Lady Slipper blooms graced a tiny clearing in the woods in Chapman State Park, tucked into the Allegheny National Forest in northwestern Pennsylvania, U.S.A. Sweet they were, delicate, shy, awash in color, and just there, like the finest porcelain, for all to share.

I will shovel my way through the snows of 2016, anticipating the search for Showy Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium Reginae) in northwestern New York state, Georgia orchids if a certain expert there can find the time, and, w/o a guide, but with much gusto, Israeli orchids, including Drone Bee-Orchid (Ophrys Holosericea), Carmel Bee-Orchid (Ophrys Umbilicata), Bee Orchid (Ophrys Apifera), Tawny Bee-Orchid (Ophrys Fleischmannii), Anatolian Orchid (Orchis Anatolica), Loose-Flowered Orchid (Orchis Laxiflora), Pink Butterfly Orchid (Orchis Papilionacea) and Toothed Orchid (Orchis Tridentate). Well, there’s actually one more on my bucket list, if you’re still there, Galilee Orchid.

All of these orchids are rare. All are knockout gorgeous. All exist only in sylvan habitat, always with equally beautiful butterflies nearby. Wish me luck, No?

Jeff . . . Orchid amateur.