Regal Fritillaries . . . Together

Mating Regal Fritillary Butterflies photographed by Jeff Zablow in Fort Indiantown Gap Military Reservation, PA.

The 128 other guests of Fort Indiantown Gap Military Reservation were spread out over the vast meadow, seeking Regal Fritillary butterflies. I was split off from the rest, with another guest, and a Post naturalist. This was a Wow! day for me, June 10, 2015. The forecast a week before was for rain. The weather that day? Sun!

Yes we saw Speyeria idalia. Most were males, and many of them were older, and worn. I wanted to see Regals, but I also wanted to photograph young, handsome, and fresh individual butterflies. Most were worn to very worn, and some had been struck by birds.

What! Did you see that? A mated pair flew from almost underfoot, into nearby meadow growth. I followed. A mated pair: Holy Cow!  Would they tolerate my macro- approach, would they stay put? They did. I photographed shot after shot and another participant took a few too. We did not have an opportunity to talk, as focused as we were. (pun intended)

Here are female and male, and they are fully engaged. I tried to crop images that convey the reflection of the sun off of those bold white spots.

How exciting! I don’t know how many of you have such an image. Rare, challenged fritillary butterflies, striving to produce next year’s Regals. I love it!

Jeff