Spicebush & Vegas

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

What’ve I seen? Well, I’ve seen perhaps some 50 or so Spicebush Swallowtail butterflies, these 24 years of earnestly hunting for butterflies. That makes them a Will of the Wisp butterfly for me, one that you see on say, day 3 of a 4 or 5 day field trip. They fly in silently, elegantly, and by the time you register ‘Spicebush!!,’ he or she has already begun to fly away.

When I saw those 2 of them, here in my New! Georgia Piedmont natives garden, months apart, I mentally bookmarked, ‘Get their hostplants: Spicebush and Sassafras. Glassberg in his field guide Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America shares that they are “U-A.” That is, that finding them can be uncommon or abundant depending on where you are. So mark me down in the “U” end of the spectrum, for I almost never see them.

My sizable natives garden, here in Eatonton, now sports both hostplants, Sassafras and Spicebush, though we are now entering only year 2 for each of them. I did find a lone Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar in October 2018, brought it in to my new ‘cube,’ and it now rests as a chrysalis in the cube on the back porch.

This buster accommodated me at the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat right here in Eatonton. What say you of him?

If I queried Las Vegas on the odds of my attracting Spicebush adult butterflies this 2019, I haven’t a hunch as to what they’d come back with.

I so want these winged beauties to visit, and stay a while. Vegas?

Jeff

The Excitement Of A Fresh Flight

Edwards Hairstreak Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie, OH

I’m struggling to count the number of times it has happened to me. How many times have I come up a finite area of habitat . . . with a fresh flight of butterflies aloft? That’s, how many times have I arrived at a destination, to find alot of butterflies, all of the same species, and all very recently eclosed (exited from their chrysalises)?

Magical Adams County, Ohio treated me with a double-header in June 2016. I waded into Lynx Prairie to gape at this Edward’s Hairstreak, spectacular in its reds, blues, gray, white and black as well as dozens of others, perhaps 40 Edward’s about. They were some resting as this one, while others were mobbing Butterflyweed and other wildflowers. I wanted a capture like this one, of the beauty of their Edward’s’ ventral hindwings. I am satisfied that this one accomplishes that.

I somehow managed to get separated from my friends that day. That is not the first time that has happened to me. I’ve quit joining tours in the field, for tour leaders well, hate me, for when I see something that fascinates me, in habitat or in a museum, I get lost in my enthusiasm, and kind of put the tour off schedule, as in “Where’s that guy, Jeff?”

So, very separated from the others in the sizable Lynx Prairie Reserve, I came upon yet another prairie, and OMG!! I found a lifer for me (!!!) a Northern Metalmark butterfly. Then a 2nd one, a 3rd one and soon had seen more than 40 Edward’s Hairstreaks, all fresh and yummy to the eyes.

Lynx Prairie, just miles from the Ohio/Kentucky border drove me nuts! that day, late in June. Two new butterflies for me, and large flights of so so fresh ones at that.

It was a very rewarding Thank You G-d day for me. A very nourishing day for my eyes and a fine adrenaline wash for Jeff. Such days remain long remembered.

Jeff

Caron 3

Melitaea Phoebe butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mishmarot, Israel

Late to the party? Caron, on being asked to share her 5 favorite images, did, quickly. She just as quickly asked me to share my 5 favorite images. Beware what you ask for!

Now that I’ve shared Jeff’s Earrings and that Northern Pearly-Eye butterfly, I’m ready Caron, with this, my 3rd inclusion in the Caron series of favorites. I’ve begun to see that my favs are heavily influenced by beauty, and by the fortuitous circumstance at the time.

This shot was not taken in Wisconsin, or Pennsylvania or Georgia or Nevada. It was taken about 1 hour north of Tel Aviv, in the meadow that separates Mishmarot from its orange, mango, grapefruit and lemon groves. Israel.

My daughter and her 2 little boys live there. She ended up preferring village life over her Ernest & Young job (Tel Aviv) or her Washington, DC job (SEC CPA). I was visiting, and that morning got up very early, to make sure that I got out to those meadows early, very early.

I love getting to habitat early, to maybe, possibly find butterflies that have just left their night perches, and are on low hanging leaves, warming up in the morning sun. There, many skittish butterflies will tolerate a close approach, as they enjoy the warmth of the Wisconsin or Middle East sun’s ray.

I saw this Melitaea Phoebe telona enjoying his sun bath, and well, he was handsome, very. I made a very low, slow robotic approach. He did not move. You know the rest, I shot, shot, shot, shot . . . I don’t manipulate my images, and I have liked this from the first.

Jeff

Black Swallowtail Evokes?

 

Black Swallowtail butterfly and chrysalis, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch, Eatonton, GA

Black Swallowtail butterfly and chrysalis

There’s no doubt that this Eastern Black Swallowtail butterfly eclosed (exited its chrysalis case) just hours before. When I noticed it in the Low growth at the Butterflies & Blooms In The Briar Patch Habitat I (Eatonton, Georgia), I slowly approached ( see How Does Jeff Do It click-on above ). Yikes! It was  . . . spectacular. Spectacular.

I sit here, examining this work of High Art, and remain transfixed, by the many, many wondrous features of this sylvan winged beauty.

I almost know why it hits me so hard, so bullseye to my personal psyche. It all goes to living the beginning of my life in concrete, brick and asphalt. Working six days a week, and living in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island, with 0.006% proximity to such as you see here, and less time to seek it. To teaching high school Biology students, and no time to explore of what I teach. To Huge personal loss, of the woman who applauded my early, focused butterfly field work products. To a circle of friends and acquaintances who questioned my sanity, asking “Are you taking pictures of bugs?”

To Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania, where I was just 2 days ago! Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, Lynx Prairie Reserve in Adams County, the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas and to Virginia’s Masterpiece, the Butterflies and Blooms Briar Patch Habitat . . . and Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge. Stop.

Tell me, what does this photo, and the nearby chrysalis evoke in you?

Please.

Jeff

Love Me Tender in the Briar Patch

Frigid Outside? How We Long For Such Discoveries!

Winged Beauty Butterflies

Gulf Fritillary butterflies flirting, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

Dozens. I’d seen dozens of Gulf Fritillary butterflies in the Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat, in 2016. Maybe more than dozens. Maybe hundreds. If the sun shone, as it is almost always, there Gulf frits are flying and nectaring and males scouring, scouring all corners for likely females.

I’ve seen males approach females, too many times to count. I don’t recall ever seeing one of those males ever receiving the time of day from a female. I would wonder about that. Gulf frits are very numerous in the Eatonton, Georgia oasis for butterflies, so there was no concern for the future, Gulf frits would fly, but how, when, why and where did they consummate their mission: to produce progeny?

This answered many of my theories. I noticed these 2, in an area of mixed perennials and native grasses and plants. They were almost motionless, facing one another…

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