Jeff Hits What? A Triple?

Mating Regal Fritillary Butterflies photographed by Jeff Zablow in Fort Indiantown Gap Military Reservation, PA

I was taken with their name, Regal Fritillary Butterfly. They once flew where my childhood house is, in Brooklyn’s East Flatbush neighborhood. The British troops and the Hessian troops saw them, during their march to surround George Washington’s men on the island of Manhattan.

I’d never seen Regals, and I wanted to meet them. A nearly 3-hour drive in June, to Ft. Indiantown Gap, a military post near Harrisburg, New York, made this image possible.

I was put off by the crowd that showed up that morning! Nearly 150 people, if you include the naturalist guides provided by Ft. Indiantown Gap. That well-managed program soon had us broken off into many groups, and mine was just 4 people.

We saw many Regals (Yay!!!) and Monarchs and Coral Hairstreaks and Great Spangled Fritillary butterflies. The sight of my first ever Regal Fritillary? A rush, truth be told.

I spotted this pair of coupled Regals, and to this day, I equate that to pounding a triple against the Yankees in Yankee Stadium itself!

Regals, found in only 2 meadows in the Eastern USA. That, folks, is sadder than dirt.


Great Spangled Fritillary on a Bulging Flowerhead

Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly on Common Milkweed II photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie Reserve, Ohio

For many, this pleasing view will bring memories of meadows, roadsides, home gardens, Botanical gardens and bucolic small USA farms, with Asclepias syriaca plentiful amongst and about rows of healthy corn.

We are ripping to hike those late June, July trails, headed to stands of Common milkweed, Teasel, Butterflyweed and Dogbane. When will we reach those bulging flowerheads, with a fresh Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly, like this one, methodically working the dozens of individual flowers, for sugary nectar, mixed with a cocktail of proteins, dissolved pollen, and numerous other nutrients?

Where was Jeff when he set his eyes on this truly American fritillary. Kamamama Prairie Reserve in Adams County, Ohio. Same old story here. Jeff already has good images of Great Spangleds, but this photograph was so necessary to take!

Necessary? It was Late June, 2017. For all the yelling, screaming, marching, whining– here we were in Real Time. Real Time? Yep. For all the background media noise, here it is, proof positive. Halt the ‘dozers.’ Conserve the Land. Then, those wise enough to make the trip, will be treated to joy, peace, tranquility, connection to H-s beauty.

There was a time in my life when I managed apartment buildings in NYNY. I had hundreds of tenants who desperately needed to spend time such amidst the Great Spangleds and Milkweed. Sadder than dirt, for most of those hundreds of people had no idea that the remedy for their isolation, fear, depression, neurosis was not too very far away. Most of them suffered one depravation or another. Butterflies and Blooms is the best, nearly reachable medicine, in Eatonton Georgia.

Jeff, no need of a License to dispense here.


Silver-Spotted Skipper Butterfly Amidst the Bricks

Gray-spotted skipper butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Raccoon Creek S.P., PA

When I was teaching at South Vo-Tech High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (for our international friends, that is west of the state of New York), we introduced a new Laboratory. My Biology students enjoyed this Lab each Friday. What Lab? I called it ‘Slide lab.’ Some 80% of my students were from low-income city neighborhoods. When I met them each September, they (97% of them) could not name or recognize a single local bird (robin, house sparrow, crow, blue jay) or butterfly. They were children of brick, asphalt and concrete. This struck me as sadder than dirt!

I love to photograph wildlife. They were studying Biology. Thanks to my background (the streets of Brooklyn, National Guard Artillery, OCS and years as a Dean (Discipline) in a NYCity high school) we were getting alot done, and they were enjoying it. Honest. So I invented Slide lab. If you have taught for a living, you will not be surprised to learn that school administrators were not happy about this Slide lab. It didn’t matter that the kids were learning about their own communities. This initiative did not come down from the top. Cut! When June arrived, my students identified many, many local birds, butterflies, insects and wildflowers by name. This made me happy and satisfied.

When my wife Frieda was spending so much time in Shadyside Hospital, I would occasionally encounter some of these students. Almost none of them went on to university, but there they were as custodial, techs and nurse assistants. They would see me: up comes a big smile, and then “Mr. Zablow?” Then, they would proudly rattle off the names of our local fauna & flora. Me? My heart, broken upstairs on that sad, sad 7W stem cell transplant wing, would suddenly Surge with HAPPINESS. Grown now, these men and woman were surely introducing their own children to the now familiar wildlife living right next door to them. City parks and empty lots no longer remained invisible.

Now to this Epargyreus clarus. That silver patch set in a field of dark brown enables all of us to recognize this butterfly immediately. They were ideal for my kids. Ideal. They saw them in their neighborhoods, They saw them in their playgrounds and they saw them as they walked home from the bus stop each afternoon. They averted their eyes from the many disappointing sights that summed up their surroundings. But they looked for and saw Silver-spotted skippers, and Cabbage whites and Orange sulphurs and searched, searched those empty lots for the elusive Monarch or Red Admiral.

Slide Lab? What happened to Slide Lab?