That Rare Visit by an Erato

Red-Rim Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

The 4 or 5 folks who were really excited about  the discovery of an Erato Heliconian butterfly were all very familiar with the National Butterfly Center. It was December 2017, Christmas week, and I was there for the first time. I knew the appearance of a Very fresh Erato was very special, it had to be with the excitement that was riveting the air there. An overcast day, with few visitors besides the handful of us there.

A fresh Erato! My Canon film camera’s built-in light meter had been giving me fits, that entire time in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. I shot away at this Erato, nevertheless. Here is an underlit view of the left ventral wing surfaces. Despite the obvious absence of light, the orange forewing band shows color true, as does the whitish-yellow hindwing strip. That they appear vivid against the black background is right for this butterfly.

Booked again to return in late November 2019. That is good, Very Good.

Jeff

WingedBeauty Marks Three of Twenty-five Species of Metalmarks!

Little Metalmark butterfly on bloom, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Shellman Bluff, GA

New Year’s Eve, December 31st, 2015 came and went, and I still hadn’t seen a Metalmark. Come 2016, and see here; I fixed that. Here we are with a rather fine looking right forewing and hindwing, of a Little Metalmark, in Shellman Bluff, Georgia. Meeting up with this Oh So Tiny flying winged beauty? Good, very good.

Angela and Barbara Ann invited me to join them in very south-central Ohio, and there I found as many as 50 Northern Metalmarks. How Happy I was that morning! Seems that I just love Metalmarks. I strive to capture the reflection of sunlight off of those scintillating ribbons of silvery strips. Here, I just about did, sort of almost.

Just weeks ago, I was in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, and at the National Butterfly Center, I saw Fatal Metalmarks. I will soon share these images.

Now I’m an owner of A Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America (Glassberg, 2017), and my education continues. There are 25 species of Metalmarks that fly in the United States. Some are residents here, others are uncommon migrants.

25 Species! What does one do, when one has seen 3 of 25, and just loves meeting new Metalmarks? What?

Jeff

Ever Seen an Arizona Powdered Skipper?

Arizona Powdered Skipper Butterfly at White Tank Mountains, AZ

That River Grand Valley trip, a week at the National Butterfly Center, Bensten State Park and the nearby ‘Wall,’ dished up dozens of butterfly species new to me. A constant rush-rush-rush of butterflies I had never seen before. I mean, as I work to recall what we saw, and without instantaneous digital feedback, I am now and then gifted with a recollection, like the one I had yesterday, that a mental vignette: Not only did I want to see the uncommon Mexican Fritillary, but my luck cashed in, when I saw and shot away at a fresh pair of mated Mexican fritillaries!

So now I spend good time recalling so many of the butterflies of the USA that I have been fortunate to have seen, and shot.

High on the list of what Jeff’s seen is this one, a fresh Arizona Powdered Skipper, met just where it should have been, some years ago, in a bone dry arroyo, in White Mountain Regional Park, west of Phoenix, Arizona. I found this one, on a boiling hot day in the desert, in these low mountains, and if you can keep a secret, in the bed of the arroyo (where I actually should not have been).

I count myself among the 0.0014% of Americans who have ever had the pleasure of a meet-up with the Arizona Powdered Skipper. Am I a Lucky Boy, or what!

Jeff

Blue-Spotted Arab

Blue-Spotted Arab Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow

Our second post to-date of Colotis Phisadia in Wadi David at Ein Gedi, Israel. He has spent a good deal of time scouring his tight territorial perimeter for suitable female mates, and he’s now taking a brief rest.

Followers of wingedbeauty.com will now understand that Blue-Spotted Arabs are loathe to be approached. Are they skittish? Yes. So with 3 mornings of photography fieldwork, this is the dorsal (upper) exposure that I will share with you.

Is he flying in an oasis? Sounds like a dreamy existence. Don’t we often view television and video commercials teasing us with the vices of oasis life: drink, sun, and sensuality? Our boy butterfly doesn’t quite seem to have it that good. Nevertheless, he looks pretty handsome, well nourished, and content that he doesn’t have to spend a $$$ ransom to travel to his Wadi from the U.S. or Brazil or the U.K. or Tokyo or Sydney.

They sure gave them  a name, didn’t they?

For our followers, 2013 will be a fine year. I am looking forward to photographing butterflies from the National Butterfly Center near the Texas/Mexican border, and if the military situation doesn’t change, from Israel’s northern-most part of Golan– plus a surprise or two.

Good.

Jeff