Love Me Tender in the Briar Patch

Frigid Outside? How We Long For Such Discoveries!

Winged Beauty Butterflies

Gulf Fritillary butterflies flirting, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

Dozens. I’d seen dozens of Gulf Fritillary butterflies in the Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat, in 2016. Maybe more than dozens. Maybe hundreds. If the sun shone, as it is almost always, there Gulf frits are flying and nectaring and males scouring, scouring all corners for likely females.

I’ve seen males approach females, too many times to count. I don’t recall ever seeing one of those males ever receiving the time of day from a female. I would wonder about that. Gulf frits are very numerous in the Eatonton, Georgia oasis for butterflies, so there was no concern for the future, Gulf frits would fly, but how, when, why and where did they consummate their mission: to produce progeny?

This answered many of my theories. I noticed these 2, in an area of mixed perennials and native grasses and plants. They were almost motionless, facing one another…

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Singing the Blues in Israel

Incoming . . . Blue!

Winged Beauty Butterflies

Polymattus Icasus Z. butterfly, (dorsal view) photographed by Jeff Zablow in Neve Ativ,  Israel

They would be coming down the trail or crossing the small meadows that lined this Qadesh Trail Valley. They would not heed my requests to stop, and allow me a better view, and the opportunity to capture a few precious images. Israel in March 2015, following a wet winter = good, very good.

As the tiny blue butterflies shot from here to there, I buzzed with expectation. Most would be commonly seen here, but every once and awhile, one of them would be lots more than that, uncommon to highly threatened species, and very, very photo worthy.

This male blue was good to me, pausing to very methodically nectar at these little yellow blooms. Alone there in this lush valley, my ID is Polymmatus Icarus Zelleri, the Common Blue. I’m not certain though, and I note those yellowish tips on the antennae. So, is it possible that . …

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The Butterfly of the Shadows

Northern Pearly Eye Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania

Along favorites trails we keep our eyes alert for butterflies that fly the forest edge. When the weather forecast fails, and clouds that shouldn’t, do appear, its drats! Butterflies almost universally prefer sunny to dappled sunny locales. Bring dark clouds, and butterflies disappear, as quick as that.

When it’s cloudy, or dark or slightly drizzly, there’s a strong temptation to no longer remain alert for random butterfly flight. Years of working trails has taught that when you are moving through moist wooded habitat, or habitat with active streams or moderate wetland, it’s important to not succumb to dropping your attentive radar, for  with wet conditions flanking your trail, chances are good that you will note these beauties, Northern Pearly-Eye butterflies.

Northern Pearly-Eyes are difficult to make approach to. They flee approach, not with jet-like speed, but just as effectively, as they fly their low, looping flight, and just about vanish from sight.

This magnificent Pearly-Eye was seen on Nichol Road trail in Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania. It was to my right on the trail, and the forest that began at trail edge was poorly lit, and humid.

I kept asking the Ab-ve to allow me to get my Macro- lens close to this one. It looked handsomely fresh. I approached, robotically. It held the leaf. Closer again, it remained. Slowly lowered my left knee onto my Tommy knee pad, it was still there.

I love this image, now one of my favorites. A butterfly that when seen looks bland, now revealed to be very shmeksy! when you close the distance from Pearly-eye to Macro- lens.

When I occasionally revisit this image, Oh, how I  appreciate the many features that it shares, so easily.

Jeff

Coral Hairstreaks Seen in Adams County

Coral HairstreakButterfly at Raccoon Creek State Park

Met this sweetheart of a Coral Hairstreak butterfly several years ago in Raccoon Creek State Park. Just 3 paces away was its favorite sugary nectar source, Butterflyweed, a milkweed. I cannot recall ever seeing Corals two years in a row. They seem to skip certain years, especially those that suffer a lack of butterflyweed. How they skip years, well that’s a fine doctoral pursuit for that bright young cousin of yours.

Today I dropped off 152 slides with Katie at Rewind Memories ( Pittsburgh ). They were shot in Israel, Georgia, Ohio and very western New York State. I cannot wait to share them with you, in the coming weeks, for they include some very nice butterflies and wildflowers, including orchids.

Among those 152 are images of . . . Corals seen in Kamama Prairie in Adams County, Ohio. Just a short drive to the Kentucky border, this county was everything Angela Carter said it would be.

The butterflyweed was peak, lush and gorgeous that day, about 2-3 weeks ago. Great Spangled Fritillaries were flying to and fro around the butterflyweed flowerheads. I waded into the prairie, hoping to find the elusive Coral hairstreak. Did I? You bet I did. A couple of them were patiently working the butterflyweed flowers. They seriously cooperate when you find them, for they allow a very close approach, and they move ever so slowly from bloom to bloom.

I have a fondness for Corals, their coral spots evoke those spectacular coral stones used in the making of the finest jewelry, the kind that Chinese buyers bid for premiums at Sotheby’s and Christie’s in New York and London.

A good year this, for Jeff found his corals. What do you think Patti would design with such coral gems, over there in Golden?

Jeff