992,117.693 Or 4,227,483,097 Phoebis Sennae?

Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly on Pickerel Weed, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, GA

Glassberg’s Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America cites our large, bright yellow Cloudless Sulphur as the “most common Phoebis.” I think that Jeffrey is right. At this moment, September 18th, we have as many as 15 of them flying in our 303 Garden (20 of them?).

They’re a joy to see, flying in shade or 98F sun, moving from our native flowers to our Tithonia (Mexican Sunflower) or Giant Zinnias. They are mostly kind, tolerating the presence of camera lens.

We notice that aren’t much shared here and on Facebook and other sites. That’s not the way it ought to be, for they are numerous, polite and pretty.

This male was seen on Pickerelweed blooms in a pond at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, near the Georgia (USA) coast. Our boots came from there soaked, but no alligators bothered us. Don’t know who the much smaller butterfly was at the bottom left of the pickerelweed flowerstalk?

Jeff

Butterfly Battle Stations!

Milbert's Tortoiseshell Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park
I’m asked many interesting questions with my work photographing butterflies. This one was bulls-eye to the reason for what I do. The Question? Which of your butterfly photos do you remember as being the most exciting?

Good question. it goes right to the heart of why do I do what I do? Almost no one, and no one I know, does what I do nowadays. This July 25th image kept catching my eye, as I searched among more than 400 images for the answer to this query.

Burma? No. Mexico? No. Salvador? No. Provence? No? Mongolia? No. Raccoon Creek State Park, here in southwestern Pennsylvania. A bright sunny morning, and I was there well before 9 A.M.. The usual customers came to the nectar bar, that day offering the following treats: Milkweed nectar, Teasel nectar (featured here), Black-eyed susan nectar and many, many others.

What an extraordinary place to be, for this lucky boy from Brooklyn! Then . . . Holy Cow! What’s that? It just swooped in, and descended on this teasel flowerhead. My first-ever Milbert’s Tortoiseshell!! (Exclamation marks required, because i was beyond ecstatic). Could I approach? I did, and it didn’t panic. Closer (dare I try?)? Yes. Raised my camera lens. Still there, Whew!

It opened its wings, wide. I was stunned. Why? The wings were parallel to the bright sun and, . . . Flames danced across the orangish-reddish bands. Flames! I had never seen anything like it. Ever. I tried to keep my mind clear, and I just kept shooting, as it offered good looks to me. I was yes, praying that 1 or more of my exposures would satisfy.

That’s why this post is entitled ‘Butterfly Battle Stations!’ A rush of adrenaline, ecstasy, and appreciation, as G-d shared a bejeweled treat with . . . me.

Jeff

Gray Hairstreak Butterfly

Gray Hairstreak Butterfly at Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh

It’s early in the morning and our Gray Hairstreak is resting and warming herself in the morning sun. Her hindwing spots are a dazzling red.

This dorsal image of Strymon melinus features stunning rich-red spots at the trailing ends of her hindwings. Just as striking is the red spot on her head.

Found perched on shrubs and other plants of moderate height, gray hairstreaks are solitary butterflies, rarely seen with other grays.

Often seen nectaring, they are among the most cooperative butterflies, preening for the camera lens and found along trail edges.

No confusion here, the gray hairstreak is gray on both dorsal and ventral wing surfaces.

Soon, very soon.

Jeffrey