Big Bend Bust-Out

Palamedes Swallowtail on Thistle Flowerhead photographed by Jeff Zablow in Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, Florida's Panhandle

Some hour or so after you leave Georgia, you reach Perry, Florida. This Florida Panhandle city is just 1/2 hour from this Butterfly Bust-Out destination: Big Bend Wildlife Management Area. One visit there is just not enough.

Four days there earned more Wows! and OMG’s! then almost any other destination I’ve touched ( Exceptions: The Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia and just weeks ago, Adams County in very southern Ohio).

At Big Bend, shown here, I didn’t just see one or two of these Palamedes Swallowtail butterflies, I saw dozens of them. These thistles shown too here were tall, robust and singing their rich color. The skippers were new to me, the Georgia Satyrs shyly came out to greet, Monarchs flew, Zebra Swallowtails showed up, all this and more. The zinger was that I had come, and had to go, before the Liatris opened to peak bloom. That article in the NABA magazine, under the new feature: Destinations, teased, sharing that you really, really wanted to be there when those thousands of Gayfeather blooms (Liatris) bugled to butterflies far and wide in that first week of September.

Won’t you agree here, that these BiG Palamedes, flying in squadrons, almost, make quite an airshow?

Early September in Big Bend, not too far into Florida,  yet far enough to savor Florida’s butterfly riches.


Blue Connections in the HolyLand

Polyomattus Icarus butterflies photographed by Jeff Zablow at Ramat Hanadiv, Israel

A good thing to see. Healthy Common Blue butterflies locked together on a trail in the Ramat Hanadiv reserve, just a shout and one-half from the baby blue Mediterranean Sea. It was March 2016, and following a moist enough Middle Eastern winter, these Israeli Polyomattus icarus juno butterflies were fulfilling the life’s mission for a normal Blue butterfly: Find a very suitable mate, and generate a new generation of Healthy Common blues.

He on the left, she on the right. Jeff there too, pleased with another boost to a very Good morning on a very productive trail.

Jeff who has completed his teaching, his real estate saga, and who daily Thanks G-d for enabling him to see the beauty, rich color and everyday meaning of this Amazing World.

2017? Anybody?


Arroyo Wildflowers

Arizona arroyo habitat photographed by Jeff Zablow at White Tank Mountains Regional Park, AZ

Rain fell during the winter months in southcentral Arizona. Media reports forecasting potentially spectacular wildflower phenomena in March and April triggered good memories of stalking butterflies in the cs of White Mountains Regional Park.  The park is just 30 minutes from my family in Sun City West, Arizona, so  I pushed the “Go” button and booked my flight.

What beauty awaited me!. Wildflowers were everywhere, carpeting the hills, mountains and arroyos. Colors were rich, blanketing everything in every direction. This image represents the vivid contrasts presented in those arroyos – the stark, rich hues against rock with dramatic, eye-popping personality.

The butterflies were out and about. Yes, they were flying and drinking nectar with glee! But this time they had to share my attention with the wildflowers and infinite 360 degree panorama.

In southern Arizona, be mindful of the heat.  Get there at 6:30 AM and leave NLT 10:00 AM.


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