Rare To Locally Common Gems

Gemmed Satyr Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Hard Labor creek State Park, Georgia

Glassberg’s Glossary explains that the “R-LC” assignment for these Gemmed Satyrs means that these reclusive butterflies are Rare to Locally Common.

I wanted, for decades, to find and shoot Gemmed Satyrs. This southern USA butterfly’s name triggered me, the name did.

Problem was, when a butterfly is designated Rare-Locally Common, it is near impossible to locate. Sure, A Swift Guide to Butterflies writes that their habitat is “grassy moist woods.” Which southern USA state doesn’t have grassy moist woods? They all do.

I learned my lessons the hard way. At one time, I’d set out to find Rare butterflies, driving hours to prospective habitat destinations. Most of the time I got skunked.

Lesson learned. Now, as here, I urge knowledgeable people to help me, and even to meet me at good butterfly target destinations. Proven destinations. That’s how I met this beautiful Gemmed Satyr. Phil met me at Hard Labor Creek Sate Park (Georgia) and he guided me to this shady moderately treed spot. Gemmeds!

Thank you Phil.

Jeff

Announcing A New Feature: Butterfly Destinations

Northern Pearly Eye Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania

That personal wind to my sails drives me to seek native butterflies, farther and farther afield. Absent a cadre of field-savvy compadres to guide me to find butterfly caches, we’ve found many. The names and places have become familiar to many of you, and the time is here to highlight them, for they are special, and they produce. They produce rich, exciting interaction with extraordinary butterfly habitat. G-d willing, in this year just beginning, I will visit all of them again, and even add new places to hike and amaze.

These Butterfly Destinations include:  Raccoon Creek State Park, PA, USA (Where I met this Northern Pearly-eye butterfly), Butterflies & Blooms In the Briar Patch Habitat, Eatonton, Georgia, USA, Audubon Community Nature Center, Jamestown, NY, USA, Rock Hawk Effigy & Trails, Eatonton, Georgia, USA and last but not least, the SPNI Nature Centers, Israel.

Select (click) this new feature in our expanding menu, and add to your list of siren song destinations. All will deliver new butterfly and travel treats.

Jeff

Reflecting On A Wow! Year: 2015

Allancastria Cerisyis butterfly (Protected), photographed by Jeff Zablow in Hanita, Israel

No guide, no tips from experts, just field guide and maps, and in March 2015 I found these Protected Parnassian butterflies in Israel, minutes by foot from the border with Lebanon.

With the guidance of a local expert, I savored Lady Slipper orchids in the southwestern tip of New York State. No Brooklyn this! Then Clay Pond, and Ackeley Swamp in Pennsylvania. On to the Jamestown Audubon Center, where the Welcome! door is swung wide open! And, JAC’s reserve has . . . butterflies!

Accepted an invite to visit the Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia, and was rewarded with an ongoing mob of gorgeous southern butterflies. Met new friends, and soon was swamping with Rose and Jerry in Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, chasing rare Satyrs in the swamp. Phil, a Ranger at Hard Labor Creek State Park introduced me to cane wetlands and other extraordinary habitat. Georgia, a butterfly destination.

Back on my own, I resourced an article in NABA’s magazine, and drove down from Eatonton to Perry, Florida. Big Bend Wildlife Management Area was some seven miles from my Hampton Inn, and  love at first sight.

Then it was walking with a local expert who introduced me to Kelso swamp, 18 miles from my home, created by beavers some time ago, and looks to me that if it is not conserved by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, it will one day, not too far away . . . be developed. Then no herons, no beavers, no frogs, no snakes, and . . . no butterflies.

Those of you who visit regularly will taste some more than 120 images, soon to be posted, one by one.

2016? G-d willing will be . . . !

Jeff