Tory Peterson and James Fisher Instruct Jeffrey Zablow

Teasel Wildflowers at Raccoon Creek State Park

I’m now in my 3rd read of Wild America by Roger Tory Peterson and James Fisher (Houghton Mifflin, 1955) and on page 53, they slightly unnerved me. Peterson, the great birder who is so revered by many I know, is touring the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. with James Fischer, this Fisher’s first visit to North America.

Peterson notes that “Hundreds of species-no one knows exactly how many, because new ones are constantly being noticed-are now part of the American flora. The list is long . . .dandelion, black mustard, spearmint, peppermint, forget-me-not, mullein, field daisy . . . yarrow, teasel, tansy, and many, many others.” Teasel? My beloved teasel, that so enabled me back in Pennsylvania when I visited Raccoon Creek State Park as many as 200 times? Enabled me because when it was in bloom, as it is here in this image, it attracted butterflies, moths and Ruby-throateds, and they loved its nectar so much, that I was able to score many, many pleasing images.

So teasel is here to stay, but, it ranks as an alien species. No Leps use it as a host plant. What would Doug Tallamy say of that?

Jeff

Indian Paintbrush In Our Middle Georgia Garden?

Indian Paintbrush Wildflower photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie Reserve, Ohio

When I entered that Lynx Prairie Reserve meadow, there it was! Indian Paintbrush. I’ve always wanted to meet this native wildflower. Seeing it in bloom, robust, was a Wow! for me. Incredible Adams County, at Ohio’s border with Kentucky.

We moved 2 months ago, and we’ve already added much to our garden, many to bring in butterflies, they being hostplants for butterflies and moths: Hackberry trees, Alabama croton, Butterfly weed, Asters. (several), Black cherry trees, Sassafras (5!), Bear Oak, Buttonbush, Linden trees (2), Coneflower, Cocosmia, Passionflower, Hercules Club, Liatris, Atlantic White Cedars (3), Hibiscuses, Shasta Daisy, Pignut Hickory, Sweet Leaf (one of the most difficult Georgia natives to get – that thanks to a friend)), Post Oak, Schlumberger Oak, Devil’s Walking Stick and some more.

The COVID-19 Ongoing has produced large numbers of visitors and happily (for the nurseries) emptied them of things we wanted, for now: Dogwoods, American Plum and additional Black Cherry trees.

Most of these natives are in their infancy. Next year? Truth be told, we really look forward to fine, active butterfly and moth traffic here at 800.

Now, comes the question? Indian Paintbrush set in in Georgia’s Piedmont, north of Macon? What think you? Ellen, Phil, Virginia, Leslie, Roxanne, Laura, Angela, Dave Kuene, Robert Michael Pyle, one and Jerry Payne?

Jeff

 

 

 

Ask The People Skipper

Skipper butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow in White Tank Mts., Regional Park,  AZ

We met in a dry Arroyo in White Tank Mountains Regional Park, west of Phoenix. I reflect back to that day, and first I remember how risky this was, for signs warn to not enter dry Arroyos, dry stream beds.

This Skipper butterfly found these flowers, among the few in bloom in this super dry habitat. I did see butterflies, actually quite a few, in that Arroyo. Problem was I knew much about eastern USA butterflies, and little about these Western ones. The good news, during those 4 or 5 trips to White Tank Mountains, while visiting my mother-in-law, I lucked out, sometimes seeing rare butterflies, as the Arizona Powdered-Skipper.

So I ask y’all, can you help in once and for all identifying this Arizona skipper, seen in this dry Arroyo? No other images taken, in that 94F hot place.

Jeff

Who’s Seen A Regal Fritillary?

Regal Fritillary Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Fort Indiantown Gap Military Reservation, PA

There surely were 30,000,000 or more Regal Fritillary Butterflies when George Washington was President of the United States. That’d be 30 million Regals flying east of the Mississippi River. I have no doubt that they flew in my old neighborhood, East Flatbush in Brooklyn, New York in 1770.

Today, they fly only on 2 military reservations from the Mississippi to the Atlantic Ocean. The first is in central Pennsylvania and the other, is in the State of Virginia. In those places, expansive pristine meadows grow, protected and nurtured by the U.S. military.

I can’t even guess how many Americans have ever seen this handsome butterfly, once found in the tens of millions, and now rare, with perhaps 2,000. eclosed each year.

I’d been determined to see Regals, and when I finally saw them at Ft. Indiantown Gap, near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, they were even more beautiful than I expected. Really.

Why now? This Butterflyweed, a milkweed, is now in bloom just about everywhere, and this is the week that Regals Fritillaries make their appearance.

Jeff

Never Seen A Cranberry Bog?

Dorsal View of Bog Copper Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Allenberg Bog in New York

I’m day dreaming. In my daydream I ask people walking in midtown Manhattan (NYNY) . . . “Have you ever been to a cranberry bog?” Positive responses? 1 (one). Negative responses? 999. Next and final question, “Have you ever seen a Bog Copper butterfly?” Positive responses? Zero (0). Negative responses? 1,000.

Happy I am to share that I have seen these tiny fliers, and marveled at their cloistered, unique lives. They are only found in cranberry bogs, and cranberry bogs are vanishing as we speak. They fly when the cranberry flowers are in bloom, and are then absent the entire rest of the year!

By my math, then, I am perhaps the 0.008009 of Americans who have seen the accompanying butterfly image. What do I do with that knowledge? Well I am me, so I want to return to Allenberg Bog, in very western New York State (some 9 hours or so west of NYNY), to cop new, better? images of Bog Coppers . . . if I get there when the cranberry flowers are a popping!

Jeff