Unsolved Mysteries at White Tank Mountains Park

Darner-type fly, photographed by Jeff Zablow in White Tank Mts. Regional Park, AZ

You and I don’t like unsolved mysteries. For me, field work in distant habitat often ends with questions that go long unanswered. Some, perhaps you, often make friends with far-flung butterfly, moth, bird, snake, orchid, wildflower, big cat or others whose knowledge and breadth of field work ranks them as regional or national or international experts.

I’ve been blessed to have met some, but maybe I’ve not met as many as I’d like to have met. Phil, Rose & Jerry, Mike, Barbara Ann A”H (OBM”), Nancy & John, Angela, Dave, Jerry and Virginia shared and impressed. 2021 beckons, and several new possibilities beckon. For that, I am, even at this point in my life’s journey, very excited.

I met this insect in that forbidden (signs said do not enter at your own risk (risk of flash flooding)) arroyo west of Phoenix, Arizona. I was in my search for butterflies, there just a very limited number of plants in flower, that summer, with the temperature reaching the upper ’90’s, around 10 A.M.. It flew in, was not a butterfly but, was beautiful and of course, I shot away. It fed on nectar, allowed me to shoot it, and soon left.

I expect that I will never know the species name and common name of this animal. I’m uncomfortable ‘researching it online’ for I’m never sure that I’ve correctly determined the species. I do want to have those who are deep in knowledge of such species to help, but I don’t know who they are, it is Arizona, thousands of miles away from the desk in Macon, and . . . .


Northeastern U.S. Orchids

Pink Lady's Slipper (hooded), photographed by Jeff Zablow in Chapman State Park,  PA

Yes, there are American orchids. Are they the same orchids that are now sold in all large supermarkets? No.

U.S. orchids tend to be very habitat sensitive. They generally will not survive in a pot on your kitchen windowsill. Like most of our magnificent blooms and wildlife, their habitat requirements are real and special.

This Pink Lady’s Slipper Orchid blossom was seen in a wooded grove in Chapman State Park, within the giant Allegheny National Forest. Some 7.5 hours drive east from New York City (for our international friends). It prefers moist ground, in spots where there is a break in the canopy of densely wooded habitat.

I remember when I came upon my first one, at Bear Run Reserve, in the Laurel Highlands of Southwestern Pennsylvania. You may have been just a few hundred feet away from that spot, if you have ever visited Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright‘s architectural phenomenon. Bear Run is just across the road. I saw them, and fell forever in Love.