Finding Brooklyn’s Cabbage White Butterflies in Raccoon Creek State Park

Cabbage White Butterfly on a Thistle photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PAFemale Cabbage White Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

They were friends when I was a little boy, back in Brooklyn, New York. We lived on the edge of development, our houses next to vast undeveloped ‘lots’ back then, those ‘lots’ today all covered with houses, stores and businesses. Never much for the brick, cement and asphalt that I grew up in, I was the kid who left the punchball, stickball, Johnny On The Pony, Heels, Ring-A-Leeveo games, to head over to the ‘lots’ to enjoy the wildlife that called those tree-less spaces home.

I remember that Cabbage White Butterflies were very abundant back then. Never had a field guide as a kid, but somehow I had learned that they were known as ‘European Cabbage White Butterflies’ and I kind of never developed much affection or love for them. Today? Almost never hear or see them called ‘European’ anymore, for they are here, here to stay. We do see few of them nowadays, although I’ve not read much of why their numbers have declined appreciably.

Males have one spot on their forewings. The image on the left is a male, I hold. Females have 2 spots on their forewings, and the image on the right clearly shows those 2 spots.

Both images were captured in Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania, some 8 plus hours by car from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan, New York, New York.

Jeff

Mouth Open Staring At An Edwards Hairstreak

Edwards Hairstreak photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie Reserve, Ohio

Saw a Coneflower growing just inside the entrance to Lynx Prairie. Angela had promised that Lynx Prairie preserve, Adams County, Ohio would be a June bonanza, and those Coneflowers were among the first Wowsas! I’d met that week. I grown Coneflower in my gardens in my houses going back to what, 1980? I never, never  knew that Coneflower, purple Coneflower is a native. A Native American perennial!

Some minutes later, when I got separated from the 5 others, I too quickly thought that Brooklyn boy had been . . . ditched. Used to working alone (naturally), I headed out on my lonesome, and shortly, still alone, entered a large meadow. That’s where I smiled from ear to ear, for that’s where I met dozens of very fresh Northern Metalmarks, our first meeting ever. That’s where I met lots of also very fresh Edwards Hairstreak butterflies, they were so colorful that they surely must have eclosed the day. before, or that morning.

My mouth must have been gawking (kind of open and part of a silly grin) at those Edwards Hairstreaks, Northern Metalmarks, Coral Hairstreaks, Monarchs, Great Spangled Fritillaries & Mystery Fritillary (no pics) that I saw that morning.

OMG! times, just a handful of miles from the Kentucky border with Ohio.

Jeff

Georgia: What Each of Us See

Georgia Satyr Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, Florida's Panhandle

August 2015. My first trip to photograph butterflies in . . . Florida. My destination? Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, in Florida’s Panhandle. My hotel accommodations in nearby Perry, Florda were OK. 20 minutes from there to Big Bend’s Spring Creek Unit was good, just right.

I had objectives. Butterflies I had never thought I’d get to meet. When I got there that first morning, a greeting party of Palamedes swallowtails (see yesterday’s post) met me at the parking lot (4 vehicles big). Fresh, Big! and hysterically nectaring on lush thistle, they launched my enthusiasm meter instantaneously!

Georgia was the Big Golden Ring (as in Coney Island, Brooklyn’s celebrated carousel). With no one to guide me, and a vast Big Bend WMA, would I find this elusive, rare beauty? Love browns, love satyrs, and love the challenge of finding rare, brown, satyrs.

Those 4 mornings I spotted 4 Georgias. Four! The Georgia satyr ( Neonympha areolata ) and I met on hot, sunny, mornings. The air? Super saturated. This image here will not earn your Oohs! & Ahhs! Why should it? What you see belies the Elixir that this experience was for me. The Brooklyn boy, from concrete/asphalt gets down on his belly, in the Florida Panhandle, sans guide, and with the sweat running down over his Dicks headband, shoots away at Georgia. All the challenges, all the triumphs, those setbacks, the paucity of support . . . face to face with Georgia.

Know that in a few weeks I will return to Georgia. Heading my ‘Bucket list?’ Capture images of Georgia that please . . . me, that do justice to this beauty.

Always on my mind= What do you see when I post? What do I see when I post, and  . . . how will you know the backstory??

Jeff