Chasing American Ladies

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

Back from those 4 exciting weeks in Israel, Painted Ladies greeted me almost everywhere. They escorted me along trails, and, identical to their American Painted Ladies, brought a comfortable connection to home.  Now, seated a my desk/desktop computer, with a thunderstorm’s bruising winds outside, this American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) assures that north american butterflies are drop dead gorgeous, and await me. Await my travel, and are ready to tease and tantalize my Macro-camera lens.

So many goals were met in 2016, Zebra heliconians, Juniper hairstreaks, Little metalmarks, Bog coppers and Eastern pygmy blues among them. Nancy, John, Virginia, Phil, Sylbie, Mike and Barbara Ann were my enablers, and I continue to extend my gratitude to them.

This 2017, with a grandson born to my daughter just 3 days ago (Aviva and baby boy Werner are now safely home, and well, Thank Y-u!) now sings the siren song to me, to get in the Tundra and maybe even board a plane or two, if the buck$ allow. Trips in the works? Georgia and Ohio. Trips possible?? Maine, Texas, Nevada and Vancouver Island, and ???

What’s that song about Lucky Boy?

Jeff

A Protected Sweetheart of a Butterfly

Anthocharis Damones (Protected), photographed by Jeff Zablow on Qedesh trail, Israel

They fly down trails almost recklessly, seeking suitable mates. I wanted an image of Anthocharis damone. Other visits to this Kedesh trail in the Upper Galilee region of Israel . . . left me frustrated. I saw A. damone, but despite my pleas, they never stopped! This male did, and I shot away, scoring this ‘I’ll take it’ image as this flier made its quick stop to nectar up on this member of the pea family. This was March ’15, and that’s when they fly. A rare, increasingly difficult to find butterfly. Jeff, in the right place and right time! Jeff, eyeing this ‘pat’ of butter on the wing, with a dab of tangerine on each forewing tip.

This by way of sharing. I just received a call from Paul in Silver Spring, Maryland (USA, near D.C). Paul and Aviva just added a son to their family! Mazal Tov!

All in the right time. Thrilled to revisit this exciting image from an earlier trip to the HolyLand and thrilled to shout out that I am once again . . . a grandparent!

Jeff

Flying to the Middle East . . . Me And Gilbert O’Sullivan

Aricia Agestis butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow on Qedesh trail, Israel

My flight on Tuesday, March 28th fast approaches. I have yet to put a single thing in my suitcase. Usually earning B+’s for packing, collecting my field clothing, leisure clothing and Sabbath clothing, along with lenses (Macro- and Wide-angle), and 48 rolls of Fuji film, and toiletries, and shoes, boots and on and on, remains a significant challenge for me. I do have my Israel field guide handy, and hopefully Rachel has my preferred map book there in Israel, waiting for me and my Hertz rental. No GPS for this guy, so set in his . . . .

My first ever Passover in Israel, spent with Rachel and Uri and my 2 grandsons, and extended family. Imagine a table full of folks, with every man there having been in uniform, and most having experienced action in 1 or more wars?

After a year of gently suggesting to butterfly enthusiasts in Israel, wouldn’t you be pleased to join me on your favorite trails and in your favorites butterfly destinations, I must admit that I am alone again, naturally. Know then that when I safely return, and no war has begun  while I am there (that happened to me twice, once in the ’80’s (‘The Lebanon War’) when I arrived with my wife and 4 children, only to find that war broke out while we were in the air!), every butterfly and wildflower I share will be a small miracle, and just years of honing my butterfly strategies.

Rachel learned to cook from her Mom A”H (“OBM”) and Dina, her mother-in-law (now more like a mother) is an excellent cook, so there’s much to be appreciative of.

This Aricia aegistis sweetheart was found on a trail that Dina’s sister Miriam recommended, the Qedesh trail in the norther Galilee, just some 2.5 miles from the Lebanese border, and murderous Hezbollah, with its menacing store of thousands of rockets (why would anyone point thousands of rockets at their neighbor? I never have, have you?).

I’ve struck out trying to urge my many friends to schedule this trip with me, and see the Christian sites that were revered in Sunday school. For some it’$ money, for others it’s the “danger” though there is none, and I shop for fruit in Druze villages! Others have trips planned to other spots. What I would not give to share a trail in the Golan, with . . . . . . . . . . I dare not name names, for I love y’all too much.

So I fly on March 28, and return on April 25, G-d willing, and we will not post any new blogs, I think, until my return to Pittsburgh. Fly there with me in ’18 and win a free . . . . (Hmmmm.)

Jeff

Read all about it! “Eatonton’s butterflies are known all over the world”

Read all about it! "Hidden Treasure: Eatonton's butterflies are known all over the world" with Jeff Zablow in the March 9th Eatonton Messenger

We are happy to share this wonderful 2-page article from the March 9th Eatonton Messenger. The article tells the tale of our increasingly ever-connected worlds of blogging, social media and butterfly field work. Jeff uses his outsider-expertise to tell Messenger readers just how special Eatonton’s Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch habitat really is. Enjoy!

Meredith Made Me Do It

Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Jamestown Audubon Center, NY

Yesterday’s mail was delivered by Autumn, and with it came the new issue of NABA’s Butterfly Gardener. In it was an excellent piece by Meredith Mays, President of the Piedmont (Georgia) chapter of the North American Butterfly Association. Her article is titled, ‘In Search of Baltimore Checkerspot.’

That triggered memories of my own encounters with the scrumptious! looking eastern butterfly. First at Powdermill Reserve, conserved by the Pittsburgh Museum of Natural History, and much later in 2015 and 2016 at the Jamestown Audubon Center in very western New York State. Sharp memories they are, for there are some butterflies you want to see, for they are rare, or curious looking, or on your personal list of what I do want to meet and greet.

Then there are those like you see here, the Baltimore, that ascribe to all of the above, but are also visual treats, knockouts! I fully place Baltimore Checkerspots in the “it’s gorgeous” category. More can be said. They are found in and around wetlands, and wetlands fascinate me. Their hostplant is turtlehead wildflower plants. Now who would chose turtleheads for their #1 diet selection? And sadly, when you find them, you know that that’s about 97.3% because you are standing in a protected reserve, otherwise it seems that on private wetland you find 2 unfortunate phenomena: Baltimores and . . . developers.

I almost posted instead an image of Stanley Lines on that famous ‘faux porch” in the Briar Patch Habitat, but then Meredith’s article arrived, and my thoughts turned to Baltimores.

Jeff