It Took Years, Years

Angela Carter and Joe Bens photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie, OH

The years went by. I was beginning. Beginning to know the butterflies of the U.S. northeast. I was never satisfied with what I could recognize, there were too many that I’d not yet found, seen.

It kept getting better. I went to Raccoon Creek State Park (southwestern Pennsylvania) as many as 50 mornings a summer. Fifty! Maybe more. I saw OMG! butterflies, often without an image to give sightings gravitas. I once saw a Goatweed leafwing butterfly there (startled me, no image) and I saw Harvester butterflies (Images scored) and . . . I once saw an Orange-barred Sulphur butterfly (again, I startled it, it startled me, and it flew up at a 82 degree angle, near as fast as an US Airforce F-15). Coral hairstreaks were seen, often going unseen for the next several years.

It took years and years to build my rep (seriously) and connect with folks who had serious trail experience. Years and years (as in lots of years). The national organization expressed zilch interest, and do not ask me how many times I traveled a good distance to find butterflies, alone, only to get ‘skunked [not find any hard to find butterflies].’ I’d post those I did shoot, sometimes reaping ‘Oh, too bad, you were just a few hundred feet from their prime habitat.’

It took years and years, ’til now, with 2017 I have new friends, who Love doing what I Love doing, and I’m sharing new stuff, from new places. Happy Boy, I am.

Angela and Joe here were with me in very southern Ohio, Adams County. She is encyclopedic with a working knowledge of Ohio trails, botany, butterflies and especially orchids. Joe too knows, knows so much, butterflies particularly. There we were. It took years and years. Good. Very good.


Southern Pearly-eye Butterfly with Cane

Southern Pearly-eye Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia

Rose and Jerry were spotting for me, in this dimly-lit Piedmont National Wildlife Swamp. It was difficult going, with each step either sinking in the soft terrain, or almost sending you, slipping and sliding.  Time and time again, it was an almost Plop! Onto your back. So many of the Southerns, Northerns, Creole Pearly-eyes, Gemmed Satyrs and Carolina Satyrs fled before I could respond to Rose’s or Jerry’s “Come look at this!”

This Southern Pearly-eye cooperated. Resplendent in its gentle colors, it was a treat to see it, among the canes and river oats.

August 2015, with the locally respected Paynes. Jeffrey, with the Satyrs. I was indeed a Happy Boy with extraordinary folks and exemplary butterflies in Georgia.