The Excitement Of A Fresh Flight

Edwards Hairstreak Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie, OH

I’m struggling to count the number of times it has happened to me. How many times have I come up a finite area of habitat . . . with a fresh flight of butterflies aloft? That’s, how many times have I arrived at a destination, to find alot of butterflies, all of the same species, and all very recently eclosed (exited from their chrysalises)?

Magical Adams County, Ohio treated me with a double-header in June 2016. I waded into Lynx Prairie to gape at this Edward’s Hairstreak, spectacular in its reds, blues, gray, white and black as well as dozens of others, perhaps 40 Edward’s about. They were some resting as this one, while others were mobbing Butterflyweed and other wildflowers. I wanted a capture like this one, of the beauty of their Edward’s’ ventral hindwings. I am satisfied that this one accomplishes that.

I somehow managed to get separated from my friends that day. That is not the first time that has happened to me. I’ve quit joining tours in the field, for tour leaders well, hate me, for when I see something that fascinates me, in habitat or in a museum, I get lost in my enthusiasm, and kind of put the tour off schedule, as in “Where’s that guy, Jeff?”

So, very separated from the others in the sizable Lynx Prairie Reserve, I came upon yet another prairie, and OMG!! I found a lifer for me (!!!) a Northern Metalmark butterfly. Then a 2nd one, a 3rd one and soon had seen more than 40 Edward’s Hairstreaks, all fresh and yummy to the eyes.

Lynx Prairie, just miles from the Ohio/Kentucky border drove me nuts! that day, late in June. Two new butterflies for me, and large flights of so so fresh ones at that.

It was a very rewarding Thank You G-d day for me. A very nourishing day for my eyes and a fine adrenaline wash for Jeff. Such days remain long remembered.

Jeff

Capturing A Lady’s Color

American Lady butterfly (ventral) photographed by Jeff Zablow at the Butterflies and Blooms Habitat in Eatonton, GA

Friends have posted their images of American Ladies recently on Facebook. One of those posts ( was it Kelly Sandefur’s?  or Nancy Witthuhn’s? ) struck me, and I still remember that exceptional capture of the details of the Lady’s eye. I too enjoy the challenge of shooting out Ladies. They fly in at breakneck speed, nectar fiercely, and just as quickly as they arrived, are gone to a flowerhead not far away. You follow, they leave, and so on.

We’re here at the Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch, this my 2nd of 3 trips there this 2016. Painted Ladies ( Vanessa cardui ) were flying in good numbers, but this cousin of theirs, an American Lady ( Vanessa virginiensis ) was there also. I like the coincidence of this, Virginia pioneered this butterfly destination (irregardless of her modest protestations) and here we have this V. virginiensis reaping sugaries as a result.

Balanced on a Butterfly bush flowerhead, there was the challenge: Capture the busy colors of the ventral (lower) wing surfaces with the baby blue sky framing it all. I am mostly pleased with this, mostly. You?

Jeff

Southern Dreamers: Miss P and Me

 

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)

Petra and Jeff, happily enjoying the wonder that is the Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat, right in the center of Eatonton, Georgia. April 2016, watching the volunteer crew from the nearby Ritz Carlton installing new features to this amazing butterfly destination, smack in the middle of this welcoming Georgia town. Just 1.25 hours east of Atlanta, Eatonton is the home of the writer of the Br’er Rabbit childrens’ books, that my mother read to me when I was a tyke, sitting on her lap in faraway Brooklyn, New York.

We are all smiles because this is our 2nd year, visiting the Briar Patch Habitat. We know that Eatonton and nearby Lake Oconee are for real, welcoming, friendly, genuine, law-abiding and aiming to please. Sounds a bit stuffed with feathers? Sorry, this boy and his dog have been around the block so to speak, and the Putnam County locale is all of the above.

Virginia and her volunteers created this butterfly destination from an abandoned, hardscrabble brownfield. It is now extensive beds of native wildflowers, chosen because they do it! They are 1) butterfly hostplants, nourishing fast-developing caterpillars 2) flowering plants that serve as nectar pumps for hungry butterflies, juicing them up with the requisite sugars & proteins that they need to thrive, fly and look shmeksy! to meet and greet new partners and 3) small and tall trees that offer blooms, shade, escape from predators and night roosts. On a sunny morning, hundreds, yes hundreds! of butterflies arrive . . . and that continues off and on through the day.

Petra (Miss P sometimes) my black Russian, loves this place, and did well (very well) on the 692 mile drive down and back. Truth be told, she loves Georgia.

Want to learn more about this unique destination? Virginia will be very happy to hear from you at Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch on Facebook.

Jeff