My, What Big Eyes You Have

Little wood satyr butterfly photographed at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Miss this one too. It’s been some time since I’ve seen a Little Wood Satyr. Now relocated to the southeast, what I see are dozens and dozens of Carolina Satyr butterflies. With all respect to the Carolina satyrs, they cannot boast the oversized ‘eyes’ that this one sports. Little Wood Satyrs also give pause for a smile, as the bound about the forest edge with their near ridiculous flight, bouncing, bobbing and weaving.

They mean no harm, seem to be purposeful and give those of us who frequent those trails from Maine to Florida, North Dakota to Texas, sweet thoughts and quizzical looks. How the heck do they roam about the forest perimeter, carefree, when there are so many predators and predicaments just waiting for them?

I love Little Wood Satyrs and their Big ‘eyes’ and chocolate stripes. We are overdue, we are.

Jeff

Boom What You Do To Me!

Tiger swallowtail butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania

It’s that moment when you’re working the trail at the forest edge. Like here, in Raccoon Creek State Park (Beaver County, Pennsylvania 8 hours west from Manhattan). You hustled to get there early, and when you arrive, the sun is beginning its ascent, and butterflies leave the forest canopy, and find flat leaves, like this one. The average time spent warming in that sweet sunshine is some 15 minutes.

I’m working the wooded edges of the trail, and I see what you see. She is motionless, in a state of pure relaxation. And . . . she is Gorgeous! I’ve spent more than 23 years seeking such moments. Unexpectedly coming upon a Spectacular Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly, resplendent with the huge washes of blue, flawless wing edges, stark yellows and blacks. Body? Svelte will do for a description.

Once upon a time there was a singer, Perry Como, and he sang it so sensuously, Hot Diggity, Dog Diggity, Boom What You Do To Me, It’s So New To Me, What You Do To Me . . . From The Moment You’re Mine.

She remained in place, I shot away, what 20 or so exposures (Fuji Velvia Slide Film, ASA 50). I will always remember those what, 2 handfuls of times when I got such a rush when photographing butterflies: That Mourning Cloak, Mestra just last December in Texas, Fritillary in the fallow field near Mishmarot, Israel, Baltimore at the Jamestown Audubon Center, Parnassians on the peak of Mt. Hermon, Zebra Heliconians in Kathleen, Georgia, Eastern Pygmy Blues in Shellman Bluff, Georgia, Coral Hairstreak in Lynx Reserve in Adams County, Ohio . . .

I’m thinking that when Virginia, Cathy, Barbara Ann, Peggy, Joanne, Aileen, Deepthi, Curt, Erica, Leslie, Stuart, Jill, Elisse, Julie (from E. 58th Street), Sherry, and you read this you will so connect with these magical Moments!

What A Wonderful Feelin’ To Feel That-A-Way.

Jeff