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

I’ve been to Tiffany’s 5th and 57th Street store multiple times. We’d pass David Webb’s showcase store on E. 57th Street many times, always stopping to chat about his very different jewelry. I’ve been to W. 47th Street too, and we’d seek out family friends who owned booths and more. Stared as they swept up the gold fragments from the floor of Mr. Gold’s workshop, as expert workers fabricate good earrings and necklaces at their workstations. Frieda A”H liked jewelry. I liked meeting her in town, having lunch and then a not too very long visit to those swanky fine jewelry emporiums.

I’d seen Gemmed Satyrs in field guides for years. They are tiny little brown satyrs, with a type of bejeweled patch of “gems” on the underside of their hindwings. I really, really wanted to see those ‘gems’ for my very own eyes.

Virginia introduced me to Phil, and Phil spotted this Gemmed satyr in Hard Labor Creek State Park that day in 2016. Jeffrey Glassberg in A Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America describes their habitat as “grassy moist woods,” The Gemmed would flit to a blade of grass in the shade, and soon to another leaf, also in shade. It was very small. When it flew a short distance to this leaf in dappled sunlight, I went down, down, down onto my tummy, and this butterfly stayed put. I shot away, and here is my best Gemmed Satyr image so far.

I like the contrast a lot, the ‘gems’ set against the rich chocolate browns. It also evokes such wonderful memories, of days gone by, love lost.

Gemmed satyrs and Georgia satyrs, me looking forward to 2018 reunions.


Regal Fritillary – My Proprietary Image

Regal Fritillary Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Fort Indiantown Gap Military Reservation, PA

Every quality butterfly field guide for the United States includes images of Speyeria idalia, the Regal fritillary butterfly. Some guides used their own images. Some sought permission from photographers and then credited photos. Years passed by, and Jeffrey wanted to meet this rare of rare butterflies, and capture good images of them, males and females.

I learned that their site would be open for 4 days in June 2015. I immediately made a reservation, and weeks later there I was at Fort Indiantown Gap military reservation in Lebanon county, Pennsylvania. If you’re planning on driving, it’s just east of our state capitol in Harrisburg.

And I am tickled pink that I did! Hundreds of years ago they flew within ½ miles of my East Flatbush street in Brooklyn. Not anymore, though. Regal Frits are gone from New York, gone from Massachusetts , gone from Virginia, and gone from West Virginia! Why? you ask? I do not know the answer to that.

The day I went rain was predicted, and instead I got a full day of sun. It was a day that I met, and approached the Regals. They allowed approach when they were sipping nectar on Butterfly weed. Sometimes they permitted me to come within 24 inches of their royal presence. I even followed a mated pair off  the trail. You can see that photograph in an earlier post.

My proprietary image is one of the others that I have posted here. It was sunny with no wind. The butterflies were poised and many were fresh. I was thankful to be there,  savoring those moments. That was good, very good. That was in 2015. What will we see this year, 2016?


Georgia Satyr Butterfly . . . Hold the Trumpets

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

I’m finally there. 150 miles down from Eatonton, Georgia (home of the Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch), and add to that the 700 miles drive from Pittsburgh. My first ever trip to meet Florida’s butterflies. I’m in the Florida Panhandle, in Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, thanks to NABA’s very pin-point article, under the heading, Destinations.

Now I own quite a few butterfly field guides, and my love affair with U.S. Satyrs has simmered for some time now. If I could score what my goals for this trip were, the top 3 would include: capture images of southern Satyrs that are as good as or more satisfying than those in my field guides. I think I might have been a little cocky, on that score, truth be told.

Well, it was very hot, and very humid. I was acutely sensitive to this strange habitat that was new to me, the Florida swamp. It was not Brooklyn. There might be an alligator, or endangered crocodile. I had been warned (since my work has me stepping into the unknown alot) of snakes new and familiar, and some kinds of ants that are impolite, and chiggers and mosquitoes with OMG! micronaughties. Why not feral dogs and hogs? Well yes, it sort of was my old Brooklyn in the sense that you should always know who is around you, and keep your eyes open.

I met several Georgia Satyrs on the “Old Grade” trail. They flew low, hugged the trail edge.  Whenever I made my macro- approach, they twitched and signaled that any millisecond, if I move even a teensy 1/100 inch, they would flee. In the meantime, the sweat on my head was threatening to flow over the top of my Dick’s headband, and further fog my glasses. I just laughed, because it was so ridiculous.

I was anxious to achieve high quality images of a butterfly I had Never seen before, the Georgia Satyr (Neonympha areolata). I was on my stomach (ticks? ants?), threatened by sweat, with my glasses fogged. There I was, thinking about You and wanting to share really fine images with my readers.

Here we see one of those Georgia Satyrs, a very shy butterfly.  They appear to be loaded with inertia until the moment they decide it’s time to rocket away into the swamp. And I Loved It! Thank You G-d, from a Florida swamp. No drums. No trumpets blaring anew, and never so beautiful an image of a Georgia butterfly.


Clouded Skipper Butterfly

Skipper Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Savannah, GA Butterfly Garden

In the Savannah Garden Club’s beautiful acreage, it was a bed of zinnias  that attracted this Clouded Sulphur Butterfly (Lerema accius). As with many of the little skipper (Hesperiinae) relatives, it took some time for me to review our field guides and comfortably determine which skipper it is. Until we learn otherwise, we’re going to call this butterfly a Clouded Skipper.

We don’t see them in Western Pennsylvania. This southeastern U.S. species does work  its way up the Atlantic coastline, reportedly as far north as Connecticut. The butterfly is not believed to be winter hardy, and for most, it’s a one-way flight north. Rich Cech and Guy Tudor suggest that some may in fact winter over, but these may be of very limited number.

They are  Grass Skippers, so their caterpillars build leaf shelters and then consume the exposed leaf within. Pretty neat stuff.

All of this reminds me of how little we still know about the butterflies in the U.S.. Let’s ask our international followers, “How much is known about your country’s gossamer wing residents?”