On The Lookout For That ‘KISS’ Thingee

I saw one in my garden in April. She was almost fresh, and she was determined. Fortunately, we now have what? 6 Hercules Club young shrubs. Days later, we found 3 tiny Giant Swallowtail caterpillars. It didn’t turn out well, for by some 9 or so days later, they were gone. Predators (birds, lizards, wasps, etc.).

These last years, that I’ve met and enjoyed these graceful, BIG swallowtail butterflies, I’ve been teased by a challenging thought. Their dorsal pattern of bright yellow cells reminds me of something. What?

Opened this image, taken at Virginia’s Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat, right here in Eatonton, Georgia, and I got it!

Know I’m a Rock ‘N Roller, so I’m not too conversant with KISS, but is this not like close to looking like their logo? KISS wrought Big?

Me? I expect Giants to reappear by the middle of this very July 2019.

Jeff

I Photograph Butterflies

Gray Hairstreak photographed by Jeff Zablow at Fort Federica, Saint Simons Island, GA

It’s frustrating to watch sylvan habitat lost to development. I’ve been bemoaning the loss since as far as I can recall. That must have begun when I was some 12 years old, and fine ‘bay-side’ land was invaded by bulldozers in the Arverne Section of Rockaway Beach, in New York City’s Queens. I roamed those acres before the ‘dozers came, and their loss, even for a wide awake 12-year old, was forever irreversible.

We didn’t travel at all, and I had no idea how vast the United States were. Pre-teen me thought that soon there’d  be nothing left between Brooklyn and Los Angeles (where many of my friends ended up moving to).

It sure may well be that I still retain that apprehension that butterflies and orchids (didn’t know about natives back then) and bumblebees and darners and such will disappear, on my ‘watch.’ It’s true that back in about the 4th grade, in Public School 244 in Brooklyn, my teacher told us that bald eagles, beavers, and mountain lions would all be gone, during our lifetimes. I’ll never forget that, for it was clear that I’d never even get a chance to see them, except for those sad, forlorn captives in the Prospect Park Zoo in Brooklyn.

So there I was celebrating the losses sure to come, of so much, including plants and animals that were then unknown to me: wildflowers, trees, snakes, lizards, birds (I still hate knowing that the Ivory Billed Woodpecker is lost), bison, the Eastern Timber Wolf, the Regal Fritillary Butterfly that flew where my East 58th Street, Brooklyn house stood, when the British and Hessians marched through there, as they prepared to make their pincer attack on New York, New York.

I am thrilled to go into the bush to find and photograph butterflies. They are still flying, and often in good enough numbers to dissuade me from believing my 4th grade teacher.

There are way too few of us, who seek and shoot butterflies, but that’s what we are doing, and will seek to continue to do. My move, 2 years ago to central Georgia’s Piedmont region pleased me, for there I’ve seen so many new butterflies, some of them in my own yard, it, now busy with hostplants whose siren aromatic signals draw butterflies that we greet with Oohs! and Aahs!

I photograph butterflies, as for example this spiffy Gray Hairstreak.

Jeff

Butterfly Peril #1 ?

Argiope with sulphur prey photographed by Jeff Zablow at the Butterflies and Blooms Habitat in Eatonton, GA

At night in bushes, perennials and trees? I’m not sure I can count all of the perils that butterflies face: ants, beetles, lizards, spiders, birds, snakes, assassin bugs . . . . During the day this same list balloons, with legions of additional predators that prey on butterflies.

When you run wingedbeauty.com, and are at the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat here in Eatonton, Georgia so many of these predators are met in real-time. Now, you know that images of a predator preying on a beautiful butterfly immobilized, make many cringe, darken their mood instantly.

I have long thought about the urgency of helping interested people learn about butterflies. Habitat disappears by the minute, pesticides and their ilk kill, and long ago I thought about how the USA”s millions of pristine, grass covered gardens deter butterfly survival. We discussed this back in John Adams High School in South Ozone Park, New York, in the 1970’s, on a much simpler level. With Doug Tallaway’s book, I personally understood. wingedbeauty.com is a platform to share, see and understand.

So, when I stood there, and saw this Cloudless Sulphur butterfly in the web of this Black and Yellow Argiope spider, maybe 4 seconds after the Cloudless took a sad turn in flight . . . I first wondered if y’all had the stomach for this very natural scene and I knew I’d have own debate some time later, post it or not post it?

Me? I’m glad I’m not a butterfly. The dangers are many. I fought each and every one I had to in Brooklyn, back then. This Cloudless not only has no defense against attack, but choose turning left instead of right, and you’re ‘chopped liver.’

Jeff

Green Lynx Spider and Alphabetland

Green Spider on Tithonia photographed by Jeff Zablow at 303 Garden, GA

Never saw such in Pittsburgh. Not in Long Island or Brooklyn. The first one I saw here in Georgia was in my own natives garden. I’ve seen many of those little crab spiders hiding in blooms when out on my butterfly searches, but never had I seen this larger spider.

This Green Lynx Spider so reminds me of growing up, hard and on the streets of Brooklyn. You had to know where you were all the time, and be aware, always aware. I remember when I began seeking little multifamily properties in NYNY. Savvy people, back in the very late 1970’s and early ’80’s urged me to have a good, long look at the East Village in NYNY. Back then it was rough, very rough, with the hint of violence very, very near. Those same people also carefully warned, “Don’t cross Avenue A!” Why? Because beyond that side of ‘A,’ you had better be prepared for . . . anything. I heeded their advice, but did get involved, of course, on the more pacified side of ‘A.’ Today? Alphabetland, as they now call it, became a “HOT” address, and condos there go for $1,000,000 or more. Did I ever see the dark side of that area? Yes, 2 or 3 times, but ‘though in suit and tie, I did enjoy some level of comfort, with long steel in my pants pocket. Realities.

For butterflies, there are uncountable perils, beyond getting whomped on your car’s front grille or your windshield. Blue Jays, Mockingbirds, darners, lizards, snakes, beetles at night and . . . this strikingly beautiful Green Lynx spider, patiently waiting for a butterfly or bee, its attractive green color giving it extra invisibility.

I had one of these lay her eggs in my Mountain Mint, and not long after had a nest of perhaps 50 Green lynx spiderlets (?). I let it be, this is H-s plan.

Jeff

Silver Spotted Skipper on Liatris

Silver Spotted Skipper Butterfly on Liatris, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Cloudland Canyon State Park, GA

“Wrought” is the word that popped into my mind. This evokes the work of Caron and Phyllis and Peggy and Sherrie and Yaron and Kenne and Marcie and Melanie and Kelly and the rest of you who go out and work to capture the beauty that can be found if you know where to look, what to look for and how?? to get it.

This moment in time, of a Silver Spotted Skipper on Liatris in rich bloom, was enjoyed at Cloudland Canyon State Park, Georgia. When I want to compare a slew of exposures taken in machine gun staccato, I sit there with my light box and loupe, and examine for positives, what are the positive captures in each image.

This one scored well. I was pleased with the translucent yellow cells of that left forewing, the right eye which seems to be keeping an ‘eye’ on me, the good look at the head and antennas, those right legs, the good position of the butterfly (not at center but a bit right of center), the absolutely yummy! color of fresh, happy Liatris and that comely green wash that serves as background  (I’m shooting Macro- and depth of field helps sometimes). What did I miss?

August 2018 in a very sylvan National Wildlife Refuge, looking beyond the wood storks, egrets, rails, herons, lizards and alligators.

All reminds me of the wonders that H- has wrought.

Jeff