My Vote? Monarch on Joe Pye

Monarch Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park. Jeff blogs about the art and science of butterflies at http://www.wingedbeauty.com

Tired of the USA election cycle, I prefer much to cast my vote for this All American pair. A male Monarch butterfly nectaring on Joe Pye flowers. An American butterfly on an American wildflower. Both valued in your meadows, fens and trails.

See? This has been a fine, relaxing change for me. For you?

Jeff

A Whole Life of Scanning

Jenny Jean took this photo of me, scanning the bushes, trees and skies. She came highly recommended, a professional photographer charged with capturing images that demo what I do while on those trails, in those meadows and fens . . . how and what I do while on the hunt for butterflies. She’d already shot my greeting cards of Petra and I, the cards I send out each year to friends and associates, Christmas time and when I just want to stay connected with you and with my family. The Petra & Jeff cards are wildly popular, and still hang on I don’t know how many refrigerators and office walls.

This shot here, so sums up what I do these recent years, and what how I’ve managed to survive this long. As a kid in Brooklyn, I had to always be ready, always scan way down the street, scan what’s going on on those Brooklyn corners. In the New York National Guard, I used the scanning techniques they taught us at Ft. Dix, New Jersey, all that preparation for where they said we were headed: Viet Nam. Same went for OCS (Officers Candidate School), scanning the horizon, the trees and tree tops, the sky, the ground for hidden armature. Me, a high school Dean, and a high school Biology teacher in New York City and later in Pittsburgh. My city kids were a handful, and I always scanned, scanned, scanned. When I left teaching for that decade, and managed real estate in NYNYork, life was safer when you scanned those East Village, Chelsea, SoHo, Tribeca, West Village, etc. streets in the late 1970’s and throughout the 1980’s.

An epiphany that. I’ve spent my whole life preparing for this search for butterflies. I’ve been scanning since I was a little kid. To this day, when I hear a helicopter coming toward me, low in the sky, I began scanning it, only minutes later realizing that it’s not a threat to me, and I’m not toting ordinance.

Scanning has led to many successes, had me seeing tiny or well hidden rare butterflies, when others might have missed seeing them. Scanning has me seeing beauty, and many atime, it was prudent that I not be seen noticing such, ‘though I did.

A whole life of scanning, from the New York City transit systems subways, to this trail, named Nichol Road trail in Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania, eight hours west of Times Square, New York, New York.

Scanning is good, good for eye health and good for helping you achieve that goal of goals: survival.

Jeff

Want To See A Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak Butterfly?

Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

Sometimes I have to stop and remind myself, that you cannot see America’s butterflies when you just feel like seeing them. Some fly when snow is still on the ground, others fly in the Spring, late Spring, early Summer, mid-Summer, late Summer, early Fall. Here in Georgia some fly in the late Fall.

Where do they fly? Meadows, Fens, Marshes, Wetlands, Forest, Thick Forest, Salt Marshes, Mountain Slopes, Different Elevations, Rock Falls, Water Seeps . . . and on on.

This Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak butterfly flies in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California, near the border wall with Mexico.

I met it at the National Butterfly Center‘s perennial gardens in Mission, Texas – near the famous border wall.

My eyes immediately go to that large black spot on its hindwing, deliciously surrounded by a sweet orange rind circle. Those cute ‘tails’ and spiffy hindwing black semicircles rimmed with white, also catch my eye.

Jeff

The Joy Of Meeting Lower Rio Grande Valley Butterflies

Fatal Metalmark butterfly (2) photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

What an elixir! My trip to the Lower Rio Grande Valley was a stunning success. In Mission, I met dozens of new species of butterflies at the National Butterfly Center’s perennial gardens, trails and meadows.

Years of Oohing! and Awwing! at shared photos of those butterflies psyched me for that trip. Flew to San Antonio, drove to Alamo, Texas and we spent several days at the National Butterfly Center near the border with Mexico, as well as the “Wall” and Bensten State Park.

That joy that I felt, over and over again, happened when I was introduced to such as this, a Fatal Metalmark butterfly. Little Metalmarks and Northern Metalmarks tantalize me, with their understated elegance and shimmering ‘metallic’ stripes.

Pics like this one stoke my excitement for what this glorious 2020 will possibly produce!

Jeff