I Finally Saw this Special Butterfly at Fort Indiantown Gap near Harrisburg Pennsylvania

Full dorsal view of Regal Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Fort Indiantown Gap Military Reservation, PA

Wanted to meet the elegant regal Fritillary Butterfly, and I waited years and year for the opportunity. When I finally first saw this special butterfly, at Ft. Indiantown Gap near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, I was moved, ecstatic and moved. Yes! It was as beautiful and I had anticipated it would be.

This male was happily nectaring on Butterfly Weed, and tolerated my approach. He evoked such rich memories. When I was a kid in Brooklyn, New York, I used to slip away from those street games, and head into the undeveloped ‘lots’ nearby. We lived on the edge of oncoming development, and in those 1940’s lots I found cottontail rabbits, butterflies and black widow spiders.

I learned some years ago that George Washington’s men marched through my very neighborhood, on their way to battle the British. They probably could have seen Regal Fritillaries. I never saw them there, in East Flatbush, for they were extirpated (gone) long before I arrived. Development and new neighbors are great, but when they come, butterflies . . . .

My mind at this moment? The lyrics of ‘When You Wish Upon A Star‘ sing When you wish upon a star, Your dreams come true (Walt Disney Music Co).

Never met most famous folks, but my dream did come true, for I met and photo’d the extraordinary Regal Fritillary Butterflies.

Jeff

Finding Brooklyn’s Cabbage White Butterflies in Raccoon Creek State Park

Cabbage White Butterfly on a Thistle photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PAFemale Cabbage White Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

They were friends when I was a little boy, back in Brooklyn, New York. We lived on the edge of development, our houses next to vast undeveloped ‘lots’ back then, those ‘lots’ today all covered with houses, stores and businesses. Never much for the brick, cement and asphalt that I grew up in, I was the kid who left the punchball, stickball, Johnny On The Pony, Heels, Ring-A-Leeveo games, to head over to the ‘lots’ to enjoy the wildlife that called those tree-less spaces home.

I remember that Cabbage White Butterflies were very abundant back then. Never had a field guide as a kid, but somehow I had learned that they were known as ‘European Cabbage White Butterflies’ and I kind of never developed much affection or love for them. Today? Almost never hear or see them called ‘European’ anymore, for they are here, here to stay. We do see few of them nowadays, although I’ve not read much of why their numbers have declined appreciably.

Males have one spot on their forewings. The image on the left is a male, I hold. Females have 2 spots on their forewings, and the image on the right clearly shows those 2 spots.

Both images were captured in Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania, some 8 plus hours by car from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan, New York, New York.

Jeff