Petra & Jeff

Jeff Zablow and his dog, Petra, photographed by Jenny Jean Photography.

Jenny Jean shot dozens of images of us. This is the the other image that stood out as the 2 best. The companion picture was posted a week ago. Many of you have been with us for nearly the entire 2 years that has been posting.

After decades without the company of a dog, our Black Russian, Petra has been a treat and a handful. When I was a kid in Brooklyn, the attached houses surrounding us suffered too many break-ins, people coming in through windows at night. My family had a succession of 4 boxers back then, all stout, broad chested males. Thankfully, no one ever stuck their nose in our nighttime windows during our boxer era. Petra, acquired during a trip to breeders in  eastern Mississippi, is a terrific dog. At 3 years, she’s a big pup by temperament by day, and a serious shepherd of our well-being at night. Good.

I’m just at the end of Robert Michael Pyle’s Walking the High Ridge (Milkweed Editions, 2000). An important read for me. Clear examination of who, why, what and where for him and for me. Few reads bring me there.

Thanks to all for a good year. Especially, Miriam, Jim, Coralie, Chuck, Paula, Luise, Lonnie, Jock, Laurence, Michelle, Rachel and all of you. I love this blog and deeply appreciate your kindness and your visits. Thanks too for your patience with my offering of images. I have family in Israel, photograph butterflies while there, and offer them along with my U.S. Leps. For some of you, that may be novel, and I recognize that.

wingedbeauty is always a reminder for me of the almost indescribable beauty of all butterflies and the struggle that timeless jewelry artisans have faced when they attempted to copy G-d’s work.

Happy Holidays to all.

Great Spangled Fritillary

Great spangled fritillary butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

June 23 at Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania. Hmm. Sitting here in mid-November, would I so like to hop into my Tundra tomorrow morning and drive to see this female Speyeria cybele as she purposefully moves from one Common milkweed or Asclepias syriaca flower to the next. There are many bloggers and Facebook contributors urging us to plant Asclepias in our gardens and lots. This is an excellent initiative. Milkweeds support so, so many butterfly populations. After much time in the field, you are always watchful when you approach a stand of Common milkweed. Why? Because they are a beacon that draws all types of butterflies . . . you never know when a tortoiseshell or a hairstreak or who knows what will fly into those sweetly aromatic blossoms.

Great spangleds are such inspirational  butterflies. You encounter them on trails at the forest edge, in the morning fleeing from the trail edge when you approach. That adrenaline rush, yours!, is a good wake me up! when you reach your photo opp destination. Weeks later you see some of them again, worn, tattered with significant wing damage, but . . . still flying, with their mission apparently still unsettled . . .

Now on the subject of seeking objectives yet unaccomplished, today I completed my second read of Robert Michael Pyle’s Mariposa Road. I enjoyed it as much as I did the first read. No kidding. Pyle’s Big year effort reignited my thinking and I may well shoot for the stars in 2014. Travel. Travel to photograph butterflies that are eye tantalizing and found in very reduced habitat. Of course I don’t merit the large following that Pyle does, but I do have a Big wind to my back . . . the almost overwhelming joy I experience when I find and photograph new butterflies. Then, when I score good to excellent images . . . Kappow!

Tomorrow I open a 1955 book noted several times by Pyle, Roger Tory Peterson and James Fisher’s Wild America (Houghton Mifflin, 1955). OMG! What must it have been like, going to undeveloped, unscrewed-up wilderness in the U.S. in the 1950’s. I occasionally find myself trying to imagine Pennsylvania in the early, mid- and late 1800’s. Cougar in the county in which I live. No way!

A little more than 7 months until Great spangled frits fly again in my county, Allegheny. Regals? Diana’s? Yum yum yum yum! as they say . . .