Chasing American Ladies

Painted Lady Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

Back from those 4 exciting weeks in Israel, Painted Ladies greeted me almost everywhere. They escorted me along trails, and, identical to their American Painted Ladies, brought a comfortable connection to home.  Now, seated a my desk/desktop computer, with a thunderstorm’s bruising winds outside, this American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) assures that north american butterflies are drop dead gorgeous, and await me. Await my travel, and are ready to tease and tantalize my Macro-camera lens.

So many goals were met in 2016, Zebra heliconians, Juniper hairstreaks, Little metalmarks, Bog coppers and Eastern pygmy blues among them. Nancy, John, Virginia, Phil, Sylbie, Mike and Barbara Ann were my enablers, and I continue to extend my gratitude to them.

This 2017, with a grandson born to my daughter just 3 days ago (Aviva and baby boy Werner are now safely home, and well, Thank Y-u!) now sings the siren song to me, to get in the Tundra and maybe even board a plane or two, if the buck$ allow. Trips in the works? Georgia and Ohio. Trips possible?? Maine, Texas, Nevada and Vancouver Island, and ???

What’s that song about Lucky Boy?

Jeff

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!

Jeff

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.”

Jeff

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!

 

Year After Year, For Thousands . . . .

Monarch butterfly (female, tagged) ovipositing, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

She was fully focused on depositing her eggs on Asclepias plants, milkweeds. The Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton has hundreds of these plants, leaving her with lots of good leaf surface to choose from. Only the best for your Monarch butterfly eggs, this September 2016.

Those caterpillars that successfully survive will then develop in chrysalises, and then emerge, as adults, female and male. They will feed furiously for a few weeks, and then, having survived all the rigors and dangers of the wild, take wing and ride to warm air currents, to their winter home. The mountains of central Mexico. My drive to Eatonton, Georgia is 693 miles, and Petra and I arrive some 14 hours later.

The flight of this female’s progeny to Mexico just amazes me. Thousand of miles, usually alone or in small group. No GPS, no maps. That tag on her left hindwing promises to provide future understanding, but we’ll have to wait

Year after year, Mexico to Eatonton . . . Eatonton to Mexico. My major? Biology. What do I think as I watch her eclose? I think, Amazing! Who doesn’t?

Jeff