Ten (10) Years of TomFoolery

Northern Pearly Eye Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania

Northern Pearly Eye butterfly

 

Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at the Jamestown Audubon Center in Jamestown, NY.

Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly

 

Male Black Swallowtail Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in the Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, GA

Me? I’ve taught high school Biology to thousands of young Americans, in New York City and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I am pleased with the respect and admiration that my students afforded me. I retired in 2006, to become the caregiver for Frieda A”H. I lost that job, when she passed in January 2008.

I’ve been in the bushes as much as possible, for these last 25 years. I search for and photograph butterflies. This wingedbeauty.com that you’re reading here is the product of my love and fascination with butterflies & wildflowers.

I have watched the health and well being of our land become taken over by ‘naturalists’ who claim 1) that they must protect our land for all of us and 2) lecture and alarm us that our pristine habitat will soon be destroyed by “Global Warming.” I have watched as they chastise us for the coming annihilation of our fauna and flora, and for the coming destruction of all that is wild and loved,.

It seems that to be an academic today, you must join the ranks of the alarmists. You must declare that butterflies, birds, wildflowers, dragonflies, wasps, moths and macro- animals are all soon to leave us.

All not so. I spend hundreds/thousands of hours in the bush, seeking and searching for butterflies, and I can Thankfully report that they are well, normal and unchanged, with an excellent future. There is no Global Warming and there will be none in the future. G-d is in control and has been since the beginning of time.

True it is, that if the relations of the loudest Global Warming supporters would stop developing valuable habitat, usually the home of endangered butterflies and living things, if they would stop developing the choicest sites along our oceans, lakes and rivers . . . if they would stop overdeveloping California, Oregon, Colorado, Texas, Washington State, Arizona, Florida, New Mexico and more, our children and grandchildren would so benefit, and species would not continue disappearing.

There is no Global Warming. These 3 American butterflies attest to that.

Jeff

No One Forgets A Bog

Barbara Ann photographed by Jeff Zablow near Allenberg Bog, NY

You have never been in an acid bog. Only 0.03% of us have set foot in these surreal places. Why have so few visited such a sphagnum moss bog? Most of them have been destroyed in the last 200 years. Those that remain are few, far from where we live, and their owners include many organizations that fiercely protect them, by keeping their existence mostly secret, and by not encouraging us to visit them.

Barbara Ann is seen here in Allenberg Bog, a remote sphagnum moss (acid) bog in very western New York. Owned by the Buffalo Audubon Society, it remains very difficult to reach, hidden at the end of an. obscure, poorly marked and challenging trail. Owners of acid bogs own them for good reason: they want to protect them for perpetuity, especially from those who destroy, collect specimens without permission and litter.

Such bogs are heavily acidified over thousands of years, and feature flora and fauna that seek such an extraordinary environment: pitcher plants, cranberry plants, sun dew, Bog Fritillary butterflies and Bog Copper butterflies.

Each step you take in a bog requires that you work, work hard to extricate your boots so you can take the next step, and again sink down 2″ – 4″ in the standing bog water. You usually sink no further, for the ageless sphagnum ‘mat’ just below the surface usually  supports you. One time, at this very same Allenberg Bog, we got a scare, as I crouched to photograph a Bog Copper butterfly, and I began to sink, slowly, but down, down, down!! I will never go to such a bog alone, again, and I will not enter such a bog without a partner and a rope!

Know this, you experience a very calming sensation there, as if you have peacefully reached an interplanetary body, covered with strange plants and strange wildlife. Those thousands of steps you take, each a struggle with the bog’s pull on you, leave your calves exhausted . . . but the butterflies you see there, you’ve never seen before, and likely, will never see them again.

Try to go to an acid bog one day, and really try to get someone like Barbara Ann to go too. Knowledgeable, patient and experienced.

Jeff

Giant on Thistle at Oakey Woods

Giant swallowtail butterfly sipping nectar from thistle, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Wildlife Management Area, Kathleen, GA

A frozen moment in time, caught at Oakey Woods Wildlife Management Area. Mike and I were working the trails, hot, dry trails through Oakey Woods, he focused on flora, I scoping for butterflies.

This patch of thistle showed up, and we paused there, anticipating the traffic you see in this region, at Krogers or Publix. Sure enough butterflies came in and left. This Giant Swallowtail flew in, and, as they do, nectared furiously on the thistle flowerhead. I split my time well, spellbound and again determined to get this compelling scene on film. Appraisal? Like the thistle here, and like the Giant, wings nicely played with translucent sunlight and that left eye.

In Kathleen, Georgia, 738 miles from my Pittsburgh home, with a butterfly that I have seen twice in 27 years. Pleased to be in tow with Mike, a very committed, very serious botanist, who enabled, with great patience, my dilly dallying, each and every time I stopped to see unusual butterflies.

I am enjoying these experiences more and more often this last few years. Making trails with top naturalists, some birders, some orchid enthusiasts, and others botanists. Way too much fun!

Jeff