In the Land of the Giants

Giant Swallowtail Butterfly on Tithonia photographed by Jeff Zablow in the Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, GA

This Pittsburgh northerner thought that he’d drive down to the Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch, and collect a good sized library of superb images of Giant Swallowtails. I was right on one score. This haven for butterflies attracts Papilio cresphones from mid-morning through early afternoon. They were there, and they were plentiful.

Problem(s) was(were) many were bird-struck, and . . . they hover over these Tithonia (Mexican sunflowers) in constant motion, with wings moving quickly. Compound that with a universal aversion to being approached. I shoot macro-. They leave on approach. They all leave on approach. No laggards among these Giants. I come, they go.

Strategies had to be deployed. Which strategies? Good question. The only strategy that worked was try, try and try again, followed by more trying. Kid you not. Yes, I once or twice found Giants sun-bathing on broad leaves in the surrounding wooded area, but they too refused approach.

Here then is a share of one of those giant swallowtails. Don’t know if male or female, as they are outwardly alike. Do know that seeing giants, dozens on dozens of them, makes the trip down to the land of the Giants, a real, long awaited treat. Eatonton, Georgia.


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