The Official Memorial Day Butterfly . . . My Vote?


Today is Memorial (Decoration) Day 2016. Many of the interactions I’m seeing are very touching and some are tinged with downright sadness. Many have lost loved ones, who fought with their own blood and life to keep us free. They taught us that in PS 244 in Brooklyn. It stuck. My Dad served in WWII. I served in a 155mm artillery unit in the NYARNG.

As my thoughts circle the gravity of this Day, I remember something I often concentrate on when I’m shooting in the field. I remember several times a year that I want to get a better shot of the underside (ventral) of the wings of Red Admiral butterflies. Opps have been elusive, but I am wired to be on the lookout for more and better.

Why? Because that Red, White and Blue that you see here reminds me of our American flag, which I have alway admired. Red Admirals are fast and wary, and I keep seeking to best this image, which must do . . . for now.


NB, This one was nectaring with 100% concentration on Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). This year I have about 40 of those Monarch hostplants in my own garden. It’s easy, and it’s so giving, to butterflies, moths, flies, bees . . . and more.

How Was Your Georgia Trip?

Georgia Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch habitat friend, Jeff Zablow and his happy sidekick, Petra taking a moment to enjoy the day. (photo by Virginia C. Linch)

Georgia Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch habitat friend, Jeff Zablow and his happy sidekick, Petra taking a moment to enjoy the day. (photo by Virginia C. Linch)

We’re back from our 9 days in Spring 2016, in Georgia! Petra came along on this one. She loves long drives, and finds each and every rest station stop equally, exciting! That’s 685 or so miles to Eatonton and 685 miles home again to Pittsburgh. She travels well.

We found the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch electrifying, with thousands of butterfly attracting plants pushing up from the soil everywhere. Milkweeds, Paw Paw, Hercules Club, Wafer Ash, Passion Flowers, Fennels, Parsleys, Plantains . . . . all very serious, striving to get ready for the butterflies that they will beckon forward, sometimes from many miles away.

Petra watched appreciatively as volunteers from Ritz Carlton pitched in to to erect a handsome canopy for the April 23rd Earth Day events. From what I hear, it was a Big success.

I slipped away a few days before, to met Phil and his family at Panola Mountain State Park. Panola Mountain is just east of Atlanta. We set out to find Juniper Hairstreaks on rocky granite outcrops, and we did! A lifer for me, these tiny winged beauties are Oh! so pleasing to the eye. Add to that, a rare Lichen grasshopper, and a spider so rare that it lacks a name!

Images will (we hope) follow. Israel, Georgia, and planned trips to Maryland and New York. Virginia’s western mountains? Possibly. The Keys? A man (and his Black Russian pup) can/do dream . . .


This Gal Looks Very Familiar . . .

Cow photographed by Jeff Zablow on Northern Golan Trail, Israel, on 3/20/12

Cow photographed by Jeff Zablow on Northern Golan Trail, Israel, on 3/20/12

I’m just back from Israel. I’ve logged many miles of rock strewn trails in the Upper Galilee and in the Golan Heights, where nearly all trails are heavily sprinkled with rocks. Where these trillions of good-sized rocks came from remained a mystery, but there they were, to be avoided or stepped upon.

I think I also saw this cow. I met many on those trails. It seems that if there is no barbed wire, they roam freely. Their horns (they all have 2 foot-long horns) continue to get my attention. In my childhood past, in Brooklyn, you kept your eyes open for long, and the sharps. My readers have sought to Comment in the past, and assuage my apprehension. One friend wrote “pay no attention, for all they want to do is. . . eat.” Believe me when I share that one of these gals, on Mt. Belvoir, slowly began to head toward me, and I just as slowly, backpedalled. Don’t want you-all to learn that one conflicted cow clocked poor Jeffrey.

Butterflies? Yes, yes. The slides are being developed!


Darner in the Florida Panhandle

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

Butterflies, yes there were quite a few! I was there to meet and photograph butterflies. My eyes and brain sometimes stray, and here they locked in on an eye-pleasing darner. Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, apparently national headquarter for Palamedes Swallowtail Butterflies, judging from the squadrons that could be seen 360 degrees around. The air space here offered room enough for bees, flies, beetles, wasps, darners, and enough winged beauty to keep me occupied for those 4 days.

To the moment I don’t know the name of this dragonfly/darner, nor do I know if it is confined to Florida, the Southeast, the East Coast or all east of the Mississippi.

I do know that it was beautiful, it tolerated some approach, and it was just one more tantalizer for Jeff in a world of wonder, sans admission fee.


Success by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Jeff Zablow's Perennial Beds Pittsburgh, PA, 7/10/07

I have read this often, and attempt to emulate it in my own life, whether gardening to attract winged beauties, or with family and friends, in my spiritual life, and in the field, as I attempt to capture ever more beautiful images of butterflies, darners, wildflowers, whatever . . . .


To laugh often and to love much . . .
To win the respect of intelligent persons
and the affections of children . . . To earn
the approbation of honest critics and to
endure the betrayal of false friends , , ,
To appreciate beauty; to give of one’s self . . .
To leave the world a bit better whether by
a healthy child, a garden patch, or
a redeemed social condition . . .
To laugh and play with enthusiasm and to sing with
exultation and to know that one life
has breathed easier because you have lived –
. . . That is to succeed . . .

–Ralph Waldo Emerson


This perennial garden that I loved brought butterflies from great distances, nurtured scores of butterflies, bees, moths and ruby-throateds, the latter coming every hour on the hour. It brought joy to family, though concealed from the world, as it grew behind the house, and remained unknown to most.