The Eyes of Texas

Erato heliconian butterfly (Dorsal view) photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

It’ s 42 degrees F here in the Georgia Piedmont region (central Georgia). Linda and Debra and others have been posting exciting images of butterflies they saw in the Lower Rio Grande Valley these last few days. Oh, how that brought back memories of my trip to the National Butterfly Center and the “Butterfly Wall” in late December 2017!

I’ve posted some dozens of those images here, and this one remains a favorite. The very rare, and very exciting! Erato Heliconian butterfly, seen at the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas.

We saw it in a heavily wooded area, and I followed it as it lazily moved from one place to another. Jet black with with screaming! red flashes and the equally loud! yellow stripes. 

I returned some minutes later, and it was still in the same shaded area. I shot away, and then, it flew, along a narrow poorly lit trail.

I was treated to a revelation! As it flew straight ahead on that trail, a straight run of some 200 feet or so, unrushed, those red flashes were constantly in view, not seen and hidden, but the blasting red color never disappeared from view.

The Biology major in me concluded that this Erato heliconian must be toxic to the taste buds of any predator, and that uninterrupted double red surely warns, ‘Stay Away, Or You Will Regret It.’

Texans have much to be Thankful for, butterflies for one, Joanne.

Jeff

Gemmed in the Dark

Gemmed Satyr Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Hard Labor Creek State Park, Georgia

It was wonderful, pinch-me-if-I’m-dreaming fieldwork, guided by Phil in Hard Labor Creek State Park’s many diverse habitats. We were looking for butterflies and botany in Central Georgia. Phil is an excellent point man for seeking and finding wildlife and difficult to locate wildflowers. He knows this particular state park well. His knowledge led us to all the park species we were seeking.

This Gemmed satyr butterfly flew its low, rambling flight near us. Phil saw it and we went after it. The challenge was to photograph in a heavily wooded area, with just dabs of sunlight peeking through, here and there.

To take a shot or not? Knowing that my Fuji slide film was ASA 50, and originally loaded when we had been in a sunnier space. Would taking a chance be worth it?

So here is the result of our attempt, a truly fine, long sought after Gemmed satyr. It is captured as it really looks, in its chosen habitat, the poorly lit lowlands and swamps.

Jeff