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