The Southern Pearly-Eye Butterfly and 99.987% of Americans

Southern Pearly Eye Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, GA

It’s a fact, research shares that 99.987% of Americans, including those in Pennsylvania, know nothing of Southern Pearly-Eye butterflies. I’d be among them, save for the patience and kindness of Rose and Jerry, who guided me to them in the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, in north central Georgia. It was the Piedmont swamp, with cane and river oats.

Why is this photograph so dark? My ASA 100 Fuji slide film was more than challenged by the limited light in that part of the swamp, overhung as it was by trees. I shoot only with available light, without flash added.

Enodia portlandia was very elusive. Rose or Jerry would give the call to come quick, Here’s a Southern! I’d hop over branches, through mud, nearly take a pratfall, only to find Oh, it took off.

I’m telling you, it was toooo much Fun! Just had my annual check-up this morning, and my PCP agreed that it looks like I got away without any of several serious diseases that have been contracted . . . In This Very Swamp. Think about that. Now, who’s ready to return with me in August, to this very spot? Raise your hands higher, ’cause I can’t ’em.


Mallow Skipper

Mallow skipper butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mishmarot,  Israel

Two mountains in Israel provided me with very exciting experiences. Mt. Hermon, even though closed to civilians, offered many butterflies along its base. Mt. Meron was just too much fun, and the #1 goal of that effort, good images of the breathtaking Two-Tailed Pasha butterfly, remains yet to be realized. Once I found Pasha habitat, once I figured out the strategies that were needed to photograph them Macro, it was time to load the rental and return it to Haifa. Now that’s an experience. Drive to Haifa to return the rental car, through busy, curvy roads, without a Hebrew vocabulary of more than 15 words and stopping here and there to ask directions of men whose English vocabulary also consists of 15 words. But, I did it. Then, the rental people told me that the train back to Binyamina was just across the avenue and down the street. Ah, NO. With few people down the avenue and across the street, I had to seek advice from  two young men. It’s been a bit since my hardscrabble days on the streets of New York City, where then, you had to immediately know who was benign and who required your 100% full attention to remain healthy. These 2 guys were OK, and were walking to their fast-food jobs. They got me to my train, and from then on helpful folks enabled me to get to Binyamina station. Turns out they liked my business cards printed by Moo and I enjoyed their questions and interest.

Our Carcharodus alceae met me in the agricultural fields near my daughter’s home in Mishmarot. North of Tel Aviv and not too far from the Mediterranean, these fields are among the millions of acres of farmland that cover Israel. Easy to forget that those millions of acres had turned back to desert over thousands of years. Israel north of Beersheva is mostly green. Food supermarkets are loaded with excellent fresh fruits and vegetables, the produce of those very same fields. Pity that much of the world is unable or unwilling to favor this land of Milk & Honey.

The Mallow skippers were mostly perching on dried flowerheads in this June field edge. Even though it was early June, it was more than 90 degrees Farenheit. As I passed each one of these pookies, they would leave in a huff! and within a minute or so, return to that very same tiny perch. This female tolerated my approach and I shot away! Yes, she is not the OMG! type of butterfly that jolts my senses… but once you take the time to get to know her better … she bedazzles!