Will We See Another Texan Crescent Butterfly in 2021?

Texan crescent butterfly (male) photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

What a thrill to meet a Texan Crescent Butterfly at the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas! She so brought to mind the hundreds (thousands?) of Pearl Crescents seen these decades, the 2 or 3 Northern Crescents too and the 8 or 9 Phaon Crescents sporting their cream-colored forewing bands.

Delicious were those red markings and the rows of white spots on the hindwing. Respectful was she, unlike my trail partners back East, the Pearl Crescents, who accompany you along trails, but become so difficult when you attempt to approach for a photograph.

2020 produced limited opportunity to get into the field, to travel to find butterflies. 2021? and beyond, OH! how I want to find and meet new! Canada, Georgia, Florida, southeast Arizona, my missed northwestern Pennsylvania, Texas (Oh! Texas) . . . I’ve read and reread Wild America and The Travels of William Bartram and they have only increased my desire to get out there, very there, and score images you will want to see.

Jeff

Tiny Mating Butterflies Continuing their Species

Mating Azure Butterflies photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Infrequent it is that you happen upon such a scene. Sure you’re out in the field, searching for butterflies. You’re expecting to find individual butterflies, and 99.99% of the time that’s what you find, single butterflies. Rarely do you find a pair of butterflies, coupled together, mating.

When I do happen upon a pair of joined butterflies, my first reaction is one of ‘Oops, didn’t mean to interrupt or bother you.’ They are engaged in something very important, the continuance of their species. Most of their sisters and brothers, born of the same egg laying mother, were taken by predators. their persistence and mating is critical, each year and the next. That acknowledged, I usually stop to score images of them, for you to see.

This pair of tiny Spring Azure butterflies were along Nichol Road trail in Raccoon Creek State Park, some 8 hours west, bye car, of the George Washington Bridge spanning New York and New Jersey, USA.

Jeff

What Do You Most Want Too See?

Malachite butterfly (4) photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

This was the last week of 2018. We flew to San Antonio and drove the rental car to McAllen, Texas. Why? We went to find and photograph rare butterflies of the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Texas. Butterflies that you would never see in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, Oregon, Montana, Ohio or Virginia.

This was at the National Butterfly Center, in Mission Texas near the border wall. Bingo! This Malachite butterfly, that Erato Heliconian (!!!), the Red Rim butterfly, Mexican Bluewing, Tropical Leafwing, the list of new and rare to Very Rare was long, and exciting. So much new, so little same old, same old.

We recently raised the question, do you think that we should travel long and far, or should we avoid those airport terminals, crowds, TSA looking at me (I served) as if I was a potential I don’t know what? The rental car that I treat better than my own (you let me use your car, I treat it like gold) and those many drives through places unfamiliar.

Comes now this question. What would you rather see, hard to score images of butterflies you’ve never seen before, even if those images are sometimes less than ideal OR photos of butterflies that you may have seen before, those well east of the Mississippi River, but photos that capture very fresh, very beautiful individuals?

Than comes the followup questions? Are you happy to see images of butterflies in the HolyLand? I’ve gone to Israel almost every year since 2008. Sometimes I’ve posted an image of a HolyLand butterfly that is really hard to get, only to find tepid feedback from y’all.

I sure hope you read this, and hope that you share.

Jeff

2017’s Closing Weeks for Leps

Little wood satyr butterfly photographed at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

The 2nd week of October 2017, here in the USA (our audience has grown across several continents). Butterflies continue to be met, but we all are counting the days, until 1) they fly south (Monarchs, Painted Ladies) 2) Their caterpillar chrysalises move into the leaf litter and endure the winter there (fritillaries and skippers) 3) Search for and find crevices in tree trunks and suitable spaces under your wooden back deck (Mourning cloaks).

2017 has been a fine year for butterflies. Monarchs showed up, Zebra heliconians delighted us as they pushed their northern boundary northward and Goatweed leafwings made more appearances than usual.

Me? I’m very, very much looking forward to 2018. The Briar Patch Butterflies and Blooms Habitat comes alive in its new, larger site in Eatonton, Georgia. Israel? The peak of Mt. Hermon in Israel, would be a return for me to those super rare Middle Eastern Holyland butterflies. Texas? Vancouver Island? My return to Angela’s Adams County, Ohio summer wonderland of butterflies, wildflowers and orchids? Ontario?

I’m blessed to be able to continue heading up mountains, into mucky swamp, through rich prairies and into that amazing Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat. Then too will I finally meet Kathryn, Lois, Peggy, Marcie, Joanne, Roger, Holly and Katarzyna? Dare I dream of rendezvous with new friends in Australia, the Netherlands, Poland and India?

2018? Oh, please reward us, me and all those who go out to score images of sheer beauty!

Jeff