Chrysalis Inquiry . . . Virginia?

Chrysalis, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

They schooled us at Ft Dix, New Jersey. The cadre kept up a constant drumbeat, ‘You’re going to ‘Nam!’ Though I had my BS degree safely in the vault, I at the time, never heard of this Viet Nam? Where was it, and why was I going there? So, when they instructed us in the best ways to look for the ‘enemy’ in the bush, I paid close attention, for they were also saying that in this ‘Nam, they were making chopped meat out of our troops. (Went from Dix to Ft Sill in Oklahoma for my 105 mm artillery training, and then at that last formation when they called out the Orders, it was him ‘Nam, him Germany, him ‘Nam, him Germany (which meant ‘Nam but after a short time) . . . and “Zablow, Return to Home Unit (155 mm towed).” The crazy 287 arty was never called up. It was filled with 1/2 crazy NYC cops & fully crazy NYC sanitation guys . . . and me . . . maybe the VCong pleaded with us to not send us, is a possibility).

So here I am in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat (Eatonton, Georgia), and its Summer ’16 and I am using those same techniques to not look for enemy, but for cooping butterflies in this very early morning light. Found some swell sleeping butterflies, especially those Eastern Black Swallowtails, featured in the panel at the top of your screen, ‘Jeff’s Earrings.’

Jackpot! too, when I locked onto this magnificent chrysalis. Now, this just makes me stare, and summons up my Biology degree background, and makes me think, Nice Job  Virginia C Linch! I mean, how do you wrap your understanding around such a miracle of life/engineering/survival/sculpture/design/ingenuity? And I get real religious when I find such as this. My former snarky New York City/NY Metropolitan area friends, many of whom believed that their huge $uccess was due solely to their own worthiness, are perhaps too early dismissive of the wonder of such as this chrysalis.

Now at this time I’m supposed to share my ID of this butterfly species. Truth be told, I am no authority as to chrysalis identification. So, out goes the call to Virginia?


Singing the Blues in Just a Few Weeks?

Polymattus Icasus Z. butterfly, (dorsal view) photographed by Jeff Zablow in Neve Ativ,  Israel

Reminiscing of the memorable blues (Sinatra, Paul Newman, that girl from the Bronx . . . ), the morning of chasing tiny blue butterflies in the land surrounding Neve Ativ wasn’t delivering good blue butterfly images. I was in the northeastern tip of Israel, on the foothills leading to Mt. Hermon, in the fabled, and very green Golan. Syria was about 4 miles away, with its ISIL, Hezbollah, Russian, Iranian Republican Guard, Assad-loyal gangsters. No sign of war here, what with the hidden, but very formidable presence of Israel forces. There was also that small military plane, flying back and forth over nearby valleys, searching for possible border breeches.

I fly there again on March 28th, to spend my first Passover in the HolyLand, ever. My hosts? Well, my own daughter Rachel and her family, especially Hillel and Boaz. No hotels for me, family will not hear of it. I love sitting with the men, 100% of whom have served, most having seen battle, some like Moshe and Misha, in multiple wars. Some who have gone on missions never reported, never discussed, all to defend and protect. Americans mostly don’t know what that is like, and for that we are Blessed.

As can happen, after more than 2 hours afield, this macho! male flew in, and choose a yellow bloom, and began to nectar. Bluer than blue, me whispering, ‘Don’t leave, stay put.’ He did, and know that none of my shares are re-worked, all are as they were real-time. Frank, Paul, that girl from the Bronx . . . don’t know why, but these tiny blues evoke memories of eyes, extraordinary eyes. Polymattus icarus in a meadow just northeast of Neve Ativ.

Shall I look for you on my El Al flight?


Maniola Beckons

Maniola Telmessia (female) photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mt. Meron, Israel

Funny that. Many of us harbor favorites. Be they favorite cars, quarterbacks, Netflix series, coffee cups . . . and favorite butterflies. We are now in the early planning for a new Feature here, might be titled Jeff’s Favorite Butterflies.

Eight or ten of my image captures would be there for you, and every quarter years or so we would rotate in a new group, or at least wean out some to be replaced with others. Just weeks ago I shared a favorite, a delicate shot of an American copper. Our southern friends, caught me off guard, for they had never seen these pixies in Georgia, Alabama or Tennessee.

Well I fly in 4 weeks, to see Hillel and Boaz, my grandsons in Israel. I am now strategizing, what do I want to seek, and where and when can I do so?

Here’s an all time favorite of mine, Maniola telmessia. She’s nectaring on a wildflower on Mt. Meron in the very north of Israel’s Galilee. I love her colors, especially that Sunkist orange of an orange, how it is set amidst a mellow brown and that with a bullseye white spot, itself surrounded in a yellow border. It took several years for me to meet her, preceded by much frustration and disappointment.

But when  I spotted this one, it almost seemed like she beckoned to me, and I did not hesitate, and as she continued her nectaring, I shot away, with this nice result.

Jeff, headed to the HolyLand, with zero likelihood of bumping into you in Jerusalem or Netanya, Tel Aviv, the Sea of Galilee or Capernum. What do I have to do to . . . (OK, Jeff, don’t badger)?


Reminiscing With The Milkweed Butterflies

Plain Tiger butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mishmarot, Israel

Plain Tiger butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mishmarot, Israel

The Danaids, or Milkweed butterflies are best known to Americans as the Monarch, the Queen and the Soldier. Right now, Monarchs are especially on the forefront of butterfly fret, knowing that recent reports have their numbers seriously down. That ‘fret?’ Will they return to us in Pennsylvania, Georgia, New Jersey, New York, Vermont and Ontario, in good number?

Examine these danaids. Have you seen them in your own South Carolina, Michigan, Maine or West Virginia? Well, no. This is the Plain Tiger butterfly, and it flies in Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Syria (if that carnage has left any survivors). Cech and Tudor, in my favorite field guide, Butterflies of the East Coast (Princeton University Press) tantalizes with this: “The Plain Tiger (Danaus chrysippus) was “described” as early as 3500 B.C., in a painting on an Egyptian tomb wall.”

I’m liking my photo here much, as I slowly begin my preparation for my flight in late March to Israel, for a reunion with Plain Tigers, a menu of Middle Eastern butterflies, and my daughter, grandsons and extended family. Once again, I pledge to travel throughout the north, and will not leave my bootprint on the hot borders that demarcate where Lebanon (Hezbollah) and Syria (Russia, ISIL, Al Queda, the Rebels, Hezbollah, Iran, and other despicables) begin.

Reminiscing wth the Danaids, whose flight is “elegant and gliding” (Cech and Tudor), whether at the Butterflies & Blooms Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia or within a short hike of Mishmarot, Israel.


Your Monarch Prediction?

Monarch butterfly (male), photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

Six years into, and we have seen burgeoning interest in Monarch butterflies. More and more us of fret over why we find fewer of them in the east most one-third of the United States.

We read most recently that the populations of Monarch butterflies in those central Mexico conifer forests are seriously down again. I hope that those reports are incorrect, but find myself concerned that another summer and fall will produce fewer Monarch sightings here in western Pennsylvania.

In 2016 I spotted very few in and around Pittsburgh. Happily, I photographed this male in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia. There were many Monarchs flying there when I visited in August and again when I returned there in September., Virginia Linch verified that central Georgia enjoyed good Monarch numbers last year.

With 2017 upon us . . . What do you Predict? How numerous do you expect Monarchs to be in your state, your county, and in your own garden?