Trail Partners (RSPB)

Red-Spotted Purple butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek Park, PA, 8/24/07

Working trails alone? I prefer it, for when folks appear on a trail you’re scouring, they almost always appear when you are poised to capture good images of a difficult to find, fresh butterfly. Way too many times I put on a forced smile, a modified greeting for those who have spooked my butterfly find, and caused it to flee.

True too, that after hours of not seeing anyone, there are moments when you wish someone would come along your way, so you can communicate, with a “Good Morning! How are you both today?”

There are butterflies that happily fill those occasional voids, and this is one of them. Red-spotted Purple Butterflies like to ‘claim’ trail quadrants, and when I find one, like this sweet one, truth be told, I sometimes, relieved to be able to interact with something, talk to it. Insanity? No. Losing marbles? No. Just a chance to relieve a touch of loneliness, upon spotting a fine looking, robust trail partner.

Raccoon Creek State Park, Hookstown, Pennsylvania . . . some 43 or so minutes west of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


How Many Are So Blessed?

Zebra heliconian caterpillars, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Kathleen, GA

The News each day now is riveting. As crucial as it is that we Americans enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness . . . the journey to that Oasis is often long, and tenuous. So, this very morning as I decide which images to share with you in Golden, Ontario, Madison, Mishmarot, Sao Paolo, this sweet one jumped, yep, jumped out at me.

That’s Mike’s righthand, raising and holding this Passionflower vine. We are a hike from his home in Kathleen, Georgia (Oh that name!), and we were right at the home base of a small squadron of Zebra Heliconian butterflies. Southern butterflies that just thrill! as they fly effortlessly, it seems, amongst thickly vined passionflowers. Just a short time ago, in another blog, we noted that this unlikely brood of Zebra heliconians flies several hours north of their general range. That knowledge made this day sweeter yet! Of course the now legendary Virginia C Linch arranged this day for me, and she is just about the Ryan/Brady equivalent of a Georgia butterfly booster.

Then, what are these little bits of slow-moving jewelry? Zebra heliconian caterpillars. Forgive my repeating myself, but Kudos to the D-signer.

How many are so blessed?