Baltimore, Begosh!

Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at the Jamestown Audubon Center in Jamestown, NY.

They’ve eluded me for many years. I kept my eyes open, for their wetland hostplants, Turtlehead (Chelone glabra), and I’ve found them, many times in many places. But these spectacular checkerspot butterflies, no such luck.

During a visit to the Jamestown Audubon Center in Jamestown, New York, I enjoyed the friendliest, warmest reception that I’ve ever gotten from the staff of an Audubon Center. Relishing the experience, I left the Visitors Center building. Standing at the edge of their cultivated Butterfly garden, my eyes, always keen to spot butterfly movement or color, signaled Stop! Look! There on the ground cover was a Baltimore checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas phaeton). Would it flee? It didn’t, and I took photograph after photograph.

So many years since my last encounter with a checkerspot at Powdermill in Rector, Pennsylvania. I was as happy as . . .

I count this photograph as one of the most satisfying images I’ve photographed. It’s a real American beauty.

Jeff