A Protected Sweetheart of a Butterfly

Anthocharis Damones (Protected), photographed by Jeff Zablow on Qedesh trail, Israel

They fly down trails almost recklessly, seeking suitable mates. I wanted an image of Anthocharis damone. Other visits to this Kedesh trail in the Upper Galilee region of Israel . . . left me frustrated. I saw A. damone, but despite my pleas, they never stopped! This male did, and I shot away, scoring this ‘I’ll take it’ image as this flier made its quick stop to nectar up on this member of the pea family. This was March ’15, and that’s when they fly. A rare, increasingly difficult to find butterfly. Jeff, in the right place and right time! Jeff, eyeing this ‘pat’ of butter on the wing, with a dab of tangerine on each forewing tip.

This by way of sharing. I just received a call from Paul in Silver Spring, Maryland (USA, near D.C). Paul and Aviva just added a son to their family! Mazal Tov!

All in the right time. Thrilled to revisit this exciting image from an earlier trip to the HolyLand and thrilled to shout out that I am once again . . . a grandparent!


Who Loves the Red-Spotted Purple?

Red-Spotted Purple Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park

Red-Spotted Purple Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park

America’s most beloved bird? It’s got to be the bald eagle. With tens of millions of birders, the bald eagle enjoys oceans of love. The Telegraph just reported that 20-somethings are increasingly taking up their ‘binis’ and looking for birds.

America’s most beloved butterfly? Easy again, the Monarch butterfly. Thousands of Americans are rearing them, visiting the central Mexico mountains where they overwinter, and planting milkweeds in their home gardens. Other beloved Americans butterflies? Eastern black swallowtails, Giant swallowtails and Pipevine swallowtails.

Why do blogs, NABA, Xerces and many state’s departments of conservation/environmental protection work most vigorously to protect monarchs and many swallowtails? I expect that we generally agree that they are large butterflies, very colorful butterflies, visit home gardens regularly and enjoy c that lend themselves to home development.

Chew on this? Why are butterflies that are found on moist trails, and rarely nectar on flowerheads, little loved? Here, a fine Red-spotted purple. Often seen on trails from New England to Florida and across the south to New Mexico, few hesitate to shower love and admiration for Red-spotteds.

Will tastes change, and the time come that sees the Red-spotted purple butterfly becomes the Golden retriever of the butterfly diversity? Or will Red-spotteds forever be “a butterfly.”


Read all about it! “Eatonton’s butterflies are known all over the world”

Read all about it! "Hidden Treasure: Eatonton's butterflies are known all over the world" with Jeff Zablow in the March 9th Eatonton Messenger

We are happy to share this wonderful 2-page article from the March 9th Eatonton Messenger. The article tells the tale of our increasingly ever-connected worlds of blogging, social media and butterfly field work. Jeff uses his outsider-expertise to tell Messenger readers just how special Eatonton’s Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch habitat really is. Enjoy!


Reminiscing With The Milkweed Butterflies

Plain Tiger butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mishmarot, Israel

Plain Tiger butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mishmarot, Israel

The Danaids, or Milkweed butterflies are best known to Americans as the Monarch, the Queen and the Soldier. Right now, Monarchs are especially on the forefront of butterfly fret, knowing that recent reports have their numbers seriously down. That ‘fret?’ Will they return to us in Pennsylvania, Georgia, New Jersey, New York, Vermont and Ontario, in good number?

Examine these danaids. Have you seen them in your own South Carolina, Michigan, Maine or West Virginia? Well, no. This is the Plain Tiger butterfly, and it flies in Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Syria (if that carnage has left any survivors). Cech and Tudor, in my favorite field guide, Butterflies of the East Coast (Princeton University Press) tantalizes with this: “The Plain Tiger (Danaus chrysippus) was “described” as early as 3500 B.C., in a painting on an Egyptian tomb wall.”

I’m liking my photo here much, as I slowly begin my preparation for my flight in late March to Israel, for a reunion with Plain Tigers, a menu of Middle Eastern butterflies, and my daughter, grandsons and extended family. Once again, I pledge to travel throughout the north, and will not leave my bootprint on the hot borders that demarcate where Lebanon (Hezbollah) and Syria (Russia, ISIL, Al Queda, the Rebels, Hezbollah, Iran, and other despicables) begin.

Reminiscing wth the Danaids, whose flight is “elegant and gliding” (Cech and Tudor), whether at the Butterflies & Blooms Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia or within a short hike of Mishmarot, Israel.


Zealous For Zebras


Zebra Heliconian butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Wildlife Management Area, Kathleen, GA













Virginia repeated her offer, call Mike in Kathleen, if you really want to see Zebras. Yep, I’d met Zebra Swallowtail butterflies before, in Virginia and in Maryland. Just as little Jeff back in Brooklyn watched nature shows on TV of the zebras on the African veldt, the zebra swallowtails were exciting! to see. They were gentle, acrobatic fliers, and they exuded a very royal, very indulged air about them. African zebras, Virginian zebras were all easily remembered. Very beautiful, very amazing to watch, and very puzzling, what with their unique striping, so out of the box!

So I hitched up my trusty Toyota Tundra and drove south from Eatonton, through Conie Mac’s Macon to Kathleen. My copy of Butterflies of the East Coast by Cech and Tudor reminding me that though Zebra heliconian butterflies might be found as far north as Kathleen, their range extended no farther than southern Georgia. But Virginia recommended this drive, and Virginia C Linch is not one to be doubted.

Got lost twice on the drive, had trouble finding Mike’s driveway. Met Mike, and well, Mike knows his botany, and he had a perennial garden that was fascinating, extensive, and that he knew, hands down. We hiked about 10 minutes from his home. I’m thinking, look at me, Brooklyn-born, Pittsburgh now, pursuing butterflies in rural Georgia, with a retired pharmacist, on an unlikely mission, to find a spectacular butterfly that should not even be within 120 miles of here . . . all to fill the Zebra triad. A zealot I have become. Zealous for zebras.

Virginia and Mike delivered, big time. Here is Heliconius charitonius right where Mike said they’d be, in a thicket of wild passionflowers. I’ll tell you, you just stare, stare at these zebras with their zebra stripes, seeming almost out of place in that green to greener thicket. You raise up your trusty Canon camera, with its Macro-lens, and then there’s that pause, Hey to get images of them, I must close the space gap, and be ideally 18″ inches away from them.

18 inches? This is a natural habitat, and the trail leaves me some 8′ to 10 feet from this zebra. Uh oh! to approach I have to wade into 3′ to 4 foot high growth . . . . Snakes? Unknowns? Sure we didn’t hesitate a moment when we were kids, but I’m no longer such. That’s why my exposures of these Zebras appear to be a tad distant from the butterflies.

Don’t want to be the man of many excuses, but yes, I charged in, kind of a . . . zealot. Was my zealotry unfounded . . . ? . . . . Know that my left leg suffered fire ant bites, and Thank G-d we don’t have those Rocky Balboas up north.