Backwoods Beauty

Appalachian Brown Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, GA

Most of our favorite butterflies visit us, in our gardens, parks, roadside botany and fields. Those are the butterflies we know and enjoy. They accept our invite to come and nectar, on our coneflower, zinnias, fruit trees, buddleia and Mexican sunflower.

Show your neighbor/friend a photo you took of a less well known butterfly, and don’t they usually say, “I didn’t know we had these in _____________________ ( pick your state ).”

This is one of those “We have these in Georgia?” butterflies. The Appalachian Brown butterfly. They don’t know or care that you have a spectacular garden full of natives and nectar pumping plants.

This is none of the above, rather it is a Backwood beauty, found in swamps and wet meadows. This immediate one was seen in Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge in middle Georgia.

I’m long on record that I love subtle browns, Love those ‘eyes’ and being kind of a march to your own drummer guy, appreciate such stand alone self-confidence.

Jeff

He Stood, Awestruck!

Coneflower photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie, Ohio

Nurseries? I love visiting new nurseries. Always I enter a new one, hoping that it’s a good as nurseries visited in the past (one, in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, for instance, that I will never forget). I’m the kid in the candy shop in nurseries, as in good hardware stores, and in benched dog shows.

These last several years have changed me. I now look, search for native plants, those not heavily hybridized. In the nurseries of Pennsylvania (Sylvania Natives the exception), I always, always expect that just about every plant I see is from some far away place, as in tropical (a not much used word nowadays) Central or South America, or at least the Great Plains of the USA or the habitat of the very southwest, say New Mexico.

Walks with Petra in next door Frick Park were a combination of pleasure and sadness. The sadness was the realization that, by my reconnaissance, maybe 70% of the greenery there was alien.

When Angela and her friends led me to Lynx Prairie Reserve, a private wildlife reserve in Adams County, very, very southern Ohio, I entered, and shortly stood there, Awestruck! There, right there were several Coneflowers!! Native, resident and luxuriant!!! Purple coneflower, I  would guess. Not found only many many state lines to the west, but right there in this rare, closely watched Ohio prairie habitat.

Great Spangled Fritillaries came and went, constantly, as did other butterflies. Busy times at the nectar Bar.

Angela may remember how they had to patiently pause, while Boy Blue Eyes stood there, enraptured!

They were strong, deeply hued and magnificent. Doesn’t take much to ignite me, Huh?

Jeff

The Smile Of A Lifetime

Earring Series - Jeff Zablow with Black Swallowtail 'Earrings' - on Arm, at

Sylbie shoots away, and the pair move to my upper arm.

I scan the images in wingedbeauty’s ‘Media Library‘ when I prepare to post anew, and truth be told, I always pause when I see this series of images, shot last year, 2016 in the Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia.

Pause, to reflect on how happy I was. How thankful I was. How emotional those 10 or 15 minutes were, when Sylbie Yon arrived unexpectedly, and that pair of Eastern Black Swallowtails, coupled tightly together, flew onto me.

Since Frieda Z”L passed, butterflies have brought me to tears, several times. They so evoke Her Memory, and so flummox me when that rush is triggered. The initial moment of loss/despair . . . vanishes quickly, and it’s replaced by how much Love there was, and support there was for this well, different (to most) passion of mine. And, how such floods of beauty are extraordinary, yet so very real.

in the beginning of this odyssey, family and friends struggled to understand. Photographing butterflies? Won’t make you rich? Sends you into swamps (mosquitoes), meadows (ticks), fens (travel to see a meadow ?). Came the time when those family and friends became resigned to what I do, and on the rare occasions that I showed up in an image, noted, more often than not, The Smile of a Lifetime. A fine Rx, No?

Jeff

NB, Have you seen the “Jeff’s Earring“series, with the click-on button at the top of your screen?

Love the Blues, I Do

Common Blue Butterfly at Mt. Hermon, Israel

Common Blue Butterfly at Mt. Hermon, Israel photographed by Jeffrey Zablow ©2010, http://www.wingedbeauty.com

Tell me how many problems you have with the ‘common’ species name that they gave this butterfly, on the slopes of majestic Mt. Hermon, in Israel? The name? Common Blue Butterfly.

A blue that Frank Sinatra, Ole Blue Eyes, would’ve loved. The kind of blue that you drown in when you look into the eyes of anyone lucky enough to sport same. The class of blue on the finest china services of the very spoiled.

Here is my basis for continuing to shoot Fuji film. Love rich blues, browns, reds and more.

A ‘Common’ blue male, resting peacefully in the northernmost tip of Israel, in the Holyland, as surprised to see me as I was pleased to drink-in its privileged blue with my color thirst eyes.

Jeff

Danaus Plexippus Stopped By

Look! Look! There she was in our very own ‘peanut garden’ this afternoon. What a rush it was to watch her, superbly fresh and lush, working this 2017  benchmark garden. I kept going to the our large window, again and again to see if she was still there. She was still there, and she worked these native perennials for more than an hour. Our very own garden, now in its 5th year, and full, verdant with nectar here there and everywhere.

She was chased off several times by an equally pretty Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly. Royal as she is, our monarch patiently allowed the frenzied fritillary to do its thing, and each time she floated back in. What kept her highness in the peanut garden for more than an hour?

The peanut garden is in our side yard, and our side yard abuts Frick Park, a heavily wooded Pittsburgh (city) park of many hundreds of acres. The natives and others in the peanut garden:  Common milkweed; Swamp milkweed; Butterflyweed; Monkeyflower; Celery (in flower), Bergamot, Balloon flower; Buttonbush, Shrubby St.John’s wort, Green headed coneflower, Rue and Chocolate mint. All 3 of the milkweeds (Asclepias spp) are in height of bloom, and buff! very buff.

The instant monarch butterfly shown here was not the flier today. This photo is of another female, who flew in Raccoon Creek State Park, in southwestern Pennsylvania. Today’s monarch’s colors were deeper, richer. She was . . . gorgeous.

How much do I hope that she rewards us with her eggs?

Jeff