With a Zabulon butterfly, the Coincidence of my Name, Zablow, Fascinates and Kind of Tickles Me

Skipper Butterfly on a Thistle Flowerhead photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

I look for them alot. Their males do challenge me, for ID’ing Skipper butterflies is somewhat difficult for me, to this day. When I come upon a female Zabulon Skpper, I’m doubly happy. No, make that triply happy.

I find the female Zabulons to be very beautiful, and this one is a good example. She has much to admire. Those purplish-blue spots on the trailing edges of her wings delight, the white spots and white border streak, all seen here, are handsome, the likable brown of her wings is a fav color of mine, and her right eye seen here bordered by white markings, that too is pretty.

Know too that when I meet a Zabulon butterfly, the coincidence of my name, Zablow, and Zabulon fascinates and kind of tickles me, it does.

She was busy nectaring on this sizable Thistle flowerhead in Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania, some 8 plus hours from the famous Brooklyn Bridge that spans Brooklyn and New York, New York (Manhattan).

Jeff

White Spotted Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly Sipping Thistle Nectar

Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly on a Thistle Flowerhead photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

The privilege of standing there, and enjoying this is very satisfying. This Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly is fully engaged in sipping the rich nectar of this Thistle flowerhead. Some years ago, I asked a professor emeritus of the sugars that might be present in this nectar. I don’t recall that his answer included the names of those sugars. Sugars, proteins and the occasional tiny insect that are taken up with the nectar must provide a fine nutritional mix here, for this Spicebush Swallowtail is resplendent, with its jet black, handsome coral spots, blue blazes, white spots on head, thorax and abdomen and that very healthy looking right complex eye.

Raccoon Creek State Park’s Doak Meadow, southwestern Pennsylvania. Just an 8-hour drive from New York, New York.

Jeff

An April Butterfly in Big Bend Florida

Palamedes Swallowtail on Thistle Flowerhead photographed by Jeff Zablow in Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, Florida's Panhandle

I returned last night, driving those 248 miles home from St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in Florida’s Panhandle. One week in a sweet VRBO rental home on the scrumptious Aucilla River. Gifted with mostly sunny weather, this 2nd visit to Big Bend Wildlife Management Area was a joy. Even before you leave Mandalay Road to drive to Big Bend, those early morning walks dish up deer, boar, osprey, and snake. You are in a high state of expectation, for you might see others that abound in St. Marks NWRefuge: bobcat, alligator, bear, manatee, gar, bald eagle, coyote . . .

The devastation from that last hurricane, months ago, was moderate. These same thistle were in rich bloom. The Palamedes Swallowtail butterflies, like this beaut, were everywhere. That 2016 visit was during the last week of August. This early April 2019 trip so convinced me that a Big Bend redo was a very, very good idea.

Why did I go back? Sitting here, working that question in my mind, I again and again remind that I fell in love with the Georgia Satyrs that I saw at Old Grade tram back in ’16, and regretted that my few images of them were Eh! We shared then that late August that time was Hot! Humid! and a plague of biting insects made each and every exposure an eye irritating (salt running down over my Dick’s headband onto my eyes) experience, me on my belly, saying aloud that what I was doing was an incredibly uncomfortable time, and yet I sooo wanted a stunning Georgia Satyr image.

Last week I saw some 15 Georgias.

My skirmishes with No-See-Ums were mostly horrible, the one day they waited for me to exit my vehicle, then, as I began to set out my folding stool to change to my Merrells, they kamakazied me. I quickly sprayed on my Off! 40%, way too late, for I am now a mass of small welts, 97.61% of them itchy!

My exposed slide film now is overnighted to Kansas, with Appalachian Brown, Spicebush Swallowtail, Little Wood Satyr, huge Tiger Swallowtail, Palamedes Swallowtail and Viceroy capture.

Jeff

Pipevine with Thankgiving Turkey

Pipeline Swallowtail Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Fort Indiantown Gap Military Reservation, PA

This night before Thanksgiving is a great time to share this I-like-it image of a Pipeline Swallowtail butterfly. Tomorrow most of us will sit down and give Thanks for all that we are blessed with. Once we are sated with scrumptious turkey and stuffings, some of us will head to the TV to enjoy football, others will find their way to their/his/her computer and check out their usual websites and blogs.

I was reveling with my first meet-up with regal fritillary butterflies. It was June 10, 2015, and I was at their only refuge in the entire eastern United States: Fort Indiantown Gap Military Reservation in central Pennsylvania. During those hours, this delightful shmeksy, Battus Philenor flew onto the thistle flowerhead. I was pleased and impressed. This is one of those butterflies whose arrival nearly demands Hail to the Chief

No photoshop or equivalent. This one was a beaut, and Cech and Tudor, in their field guide Butterflies of the East Coast, note that these “dazzling” colors are no happenstance. They warn the usual suspects (predators) Uh Uh, I’m over the top toxic!

Soon we’ll post an image of Regals mating. Timing, timing, timing.

Jeff