People Plan . . . and G-d Laughs

Wildflower photographed by Jeff Zablow in Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, Florida's Panhandle

This was a saying the previous generations used to share with one another, and we kids just flicked it off, grandparents! As as many of us now know, we should have afforded them even more gravitas, then we did.

The plan is to leave Pittsburgh in 4 days, and drive to Eatonton, Georgia. During the 2 weeks there, there was a sub-plan. Repeat the 2015 Huge Success!! of a run down to Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, in the Florida Panhandle. That 4-day Victory trip was OOh La La! I would turn and there was a butterfly new to me, then finish shooting it out, turn and OMG! another lifer for me, and just total buzz! excitement.

Timed perfectly this year, this time with the Liatris in Full Bloom, and SLIGHT HITCH has occurred. My PLAN now confronts the news, that tropical storm Hermine hit the Florida Panhandle at, you guessed it, at, at Big Bend. What must this Paradise, of blooms, like this one, look like now?

People Plan . . . and G-d Laughs (at our plans). No?


Two Very Busy Florida Blossoms

Wildflower photographed by Jeff Zablow in Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, Florida's Panhandle

As I watched, skipper butterflies came and went, each spending considerable amount of time sipping nectar. There were just 2 blossoms left on this plant. That did not matter to their skipper butterfly visitors. It was mid-morning on the Old Grade Trail at Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, in the Florida Panhandle. Northern Florida, very, very close to the Gulf of Mexico.

More and more I notice the botany of my destinations. Flowers become more beautiful to me. Flowers new to me are wondrous: How could I have lived so long without having met you, Seashore mallow?

Morning sun lighting them, a tiny skipper perched in the lower flower. There are no other human within miles, sun, no wind, no rush, no concerns, except . . . Gee! I’ll soon have to leave this OMG! place, maybe never to see it again.


A Monarda Few Have Ever Seen

Rare Monarda Wildflower Plants photographed by Jeff Zablow in Hard Labor Creek State Park, GA

2015, fast slipping away from us, could be remembered as the year of the Milkweeds. Hundreds of thousands of us sought to learn more about milkweeds, asked advice about milkweeds, searched for them online, at nurseries and quizzed their friends: Do you have milkweeds that you are willing to share? This army of Monarch lovers planted milkweeds in their gardens and in promising other locations, by the millions. Did all this bring dividends? Sure looks like it played a role in the good numbers of Monarchs that took off and headed down from the East and Midwest, down to Mexico.

Milkweeds, in many US households, are now synonymous with Mom, Apple Pie and Santa Claus. They bring joy, fulfillment and a sense that America is working to fix itself.

Here’s another member of a worthy family of wildflowers. I know Monarda and I know Bergamot. Phil brought me to this exotic member of the same family that Bee Balm belongs to, here in Hard Labor Creek State Park, in central Georgia. Spotted Bee Balm (Monarda punctata) I can say that I spent many minutes captivated by this Monarda, it looking almost otherworldly. A new one for me, and for almost all of you.

Monarda’s blooms nourish ruby throateds, fritillaries, swallowtailsskippers and a host of other butterflies. These Georgia blooms stuck out as different, and refreshingly so.

Thanks Phil and Thanks to the beautiful Georgia State Parks.


Small Pheasant’s Eye Wildflower

Adonis Palaestina wildflower with bee, photographed by Jeff Zablow in Hanita, Israel

The trails in Hanita Forest (the northeastern border of Israel) were festooned with wildflowers. It was good that Israel had a wet winter 2015. Dry winters are followed by scarce blooms. A winter like the one that they enjoyed in 2015 produce blooms like this Small Pheasants’s Eye.

No PhotoShop here, this was the rich lipstick red that pleased the esthete’s eye.

Which of you noticed the tiny bee in this bloom? Beauty and utility out of the same flower. A real player, this Adonis Macrocarpa.

(Final note: None of winged beauty’s images are enhanced. Yes, I took the classes, no I prefer what the eye sees).


Excuse me?

Darner-type fly, photographed by Jeff Zablow in White Tank Mts. Regional Park, AZ

I was back in that wonderful arroyo, in White Tank Mountains Regional Park. Like thousands of us, I have a senior relative living near Phoenix, in Sun City West, and periodic trips there enable me to do some fieldwork.

The arroyo was its usual, dry as a bone, hot (hot at 7 A.M.), boulders everywhere, plus it had few plants, and very few of those were in flower.

Turns out that was sort of good for me. There were so few flowers about, that any and all fliers could be expected to be at those flowers, sooner or later. They almost had to.

This fly, I think it’s a fly, showed up. It must have been famished, for this wild creature allowed me to do my macro- approach, and I looked, liked, and shot away.

Not a butterfly, but an exotic winged beauty, no doubt. I examined it again, and surely the greatest aeronautical minds of MIT, Harvard, Cal Tech, Carnegie Mellon, Stanford and Georgia Tech must have designed this one. No?