Showy Ladys Slipper (Ohio)

Showy Ladies Slipper Orchid, II photographed by Jeff Zablow at Cedar Bog Prairie Reserve, Ohio

I had long wanted to see Showy Ladys Slipper Orchids, those magnificent native USA orchids. Angela and Barbara Ann (OBM”) urged me to join them on their visit to several Ohio refuges. Sounded better than Good, for I’d have a very good chance to see Showys and other rare orchids, and at the same time I’d keep my eyes open for . . . butterflies.

That trip? Spectacular! I saw hundreds of butterflies, many I’d never seen before. I am very fond of tiny metalmark butterflies, and finding a fresh flight of Northern Metalmark butterflies, all fresh, energized me. Meeting my first Edwards Hairstreak butterflies? Fantastic, no better than Fantastic!! Seeing my first Coneflowers growing in their native habitat? Eye-opening!!!

Best of all (I think)? Kneeling for the first time before my first Showy Lady Slipper Orchids took my breathe away. How beautiful are they? Kenne? Deepthi? Angela? Leslie? Lisa? Laura? Phil? Caron? Curt?Julie? Elisse? Donna? Joanne? Nishani? Lisa? BJ? Andrea? Vicki? Virginia? Sultana? Nancy? Paula?

Jeff at Cedar Bog Preserve, Ohio. . . . . Gapeing still at G-d’s work

Blue Butterfly at Lynx Prairie

Eastern-Tailed Blue Butterfly II photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie Reserve, Ohio

The big boys at Lynx Prairie Reserve were there, flying in good numbers to Butterflyweed, Coneflower, and other wildflowers. Examining those great Spangled Fritillary butterflies, Edwards Hairstreaks, Monarch butterflies and those other butterflies I saw there.

I was on the lookout for other fresh butterflies. Adams County, Ohio was just what Angela said it could be, a rich land, nurturing rare wildflowers and orchids, as well as big flights of butterflies, moths and other insects.

What and how would I react to say a fine, fresh Eastern Tailed Blue butterfly? Shoot it of course. I did and here it is.


Skipper Flies to Thistle. Perfect.

Skipper Butterfly on Thistle photographed by Jeff Zablow at Clay Pond Preserve, Frewsburg, NY

Adams County, Ohio? A destination for sure. We were there the last week in June 2017. We had varied hopes. Most in our little group were focused on wildflowers and rare orchids. We were seeing wildflowers that were new to me, again and again. I was having too much Fun! Every trail promised. New wildflower. New to me tiny, robust, little orchids, that they told me were Oh so difficult to find. There they were.

Every 20 feet promised the appearance of terrific butterflies. Northern Metalmark! Edwards Hairstreak! Big, fresh Great Spangled Fritillaries. You’ve gotta love them Coral Hairstreaks. Neat Skipper butterflies, that Joe and Dave knew. Truth be told, I may have a Skipper block. Absent a skipper mentor, I find myself flummoxed when having to ID skippers. But! But . . . I still love meeting them, and trying to figure out which is which.

I passed this little patch of thistle-like wildflowers. My inner self told me to go back and photograph them. Moved into position, prepared to click my exposure . . . and then, Eureka!! This very shmeksy skipper flew in and began nectaring.

So here we are, Angela, with a wildflower I am not sure of . . . and Dave K, a skipper I am not sure of. What am I sure of? I’m sure I love sharing this with y’all. This at Prairie Road Fen Reserve, Ohio.


Me? I’m Dreaming . . . of 2017

Allancastria Cerisyi butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow in Hanita, Israel

Here we are in late October of ’16. We here in southwestern Pennsylvania now see an Orange sulphur butterfly here and there. Maybe a worn Mourning cloak butterfly in Frick Park or in Raccoon Creek State Park. Virginia and friends daily share on Facebook, Monarchs, Swallowtails, Gulf Fritillaries and American Ladies. We are checking where we left our snow shovels, Virginia, Stanley, Nancy, Cathy and Marcie are stalking butterflies.

Somehow that got me to thinking of my next trip to my grandsons in Israel. Two hours waiting for my Pittsburgh flight to New York, then some 3-5 hours wait for my El Al flight to Ben Gurion International airport in Tel Aviv. Meet my daughter Rachel at the beautiful airport, then we rent a Hertz car and drive the 1-hour plus to her home, north of Hadera, not too far from mysterious Caeseria.

Three, perhaps 4 weeks as Rachel’s guest, in their bomb shelter equipped 3rd bedroom . . . and at least 2 long drives north, to the Upper Galilee and north Golan regions. Objectives? #1 Butterflies. #2 Wildflowers and especially rare Orchids and Irises.

In the Galilee and Golan, I pass, see, photograph next to Christian sites that would so excite so many of you. Yet, to date, not a single taker, to my suggestion, book when I do, and let’s roam . . . .

Oh, and what the Media scares you with, that Israel is dangerous, is a whole lot of Hooey (whatever Hooey is).

On a recent trip, I set out to find an endangered swallowtail-relative, Allancastria cerisyi. Well here he is. I found them near a small Galilee village. They fly wildly, and then, unexpectedly, stop, and well, pose. 10-15 exposures, and Zoom!! gone. Then I went on to find the next male, and repeated this minuet. The females, well they were mostly hiding, but when I found one, she usually stuck around a bit, as I softly whispered to her. Totally Fun, and very Rewarding that! Funny, quite rare, but if you find them . . . there they are. Amazing I think.



That’s the Mediterranean You See

Rosh Hanikra, sign at shoreline (Mediterranean Sea), photographed by Jeff Zablow in Israel

Hebrew, Arabic and English all warn that this shoreline and surrounding are closed military areas. Folks in the United States never get to see such warnings. Our neighbors, Mexico and Canada are at peace with us. Israel’s neighbors, including Lebanon, the Gaza strip and many thousands of terrorists nearby dream of slipping into this and many other stretches of Meditteranean shore in  Israel to do really horrendous things. Think about the latest that they did in Paris.

I was working the strip along the shore, seeking butterflies to photograph. I found many and relished the experience. In the back of my mind was the irony of this scene. Total beauty, amazing botany and butterflies, blue waters of the Sea, and just several hundred yards from Israel’s northwestern border with Lebanon. Rosh Hanikra, Israel, 24/7 surveillance, watching this very same spot, for dinghies, kayaks, rubber boats, submergibles, frogmen and . . . .

If G-d forbid any of these appeared, this spot would be . . .  And they know it.

Jeff . . . mixing butterflies, rare orchids, and the reality of current affairs.