Gulf Feasting on Tithonia at the Briar Patch

Gulf Fritillary Butterfly on Lantana Flowers photographed by Jeff Zablow in the Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, GA

With snow, freezing rain and zero degree temps just weeks ahead, this reminisce at the Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch bucks up my excitement for the coming year. The potential for an exciting 2016 is very real. The desire to capture ever more satisfying images of southern butterflies, challenges. That’s among the many motivations that will send me back down those southern highways, G-d willing, to this butterfly oasis, in Eatonton, Georgia.

The first Gulf Fritillary butterfly I ever saw was . . . here in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was in the Outdoor Gardens of our Phipps Conservatory, and I could not believe my eyes. That one was hundreds of miles north of its usual range. Later, I would see them intermittently, in Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, both in Maryland. Finally they were much more numerous in the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, at the South Carolina – Georgia border.

This one here is working a Mexican Sunflower bloom (Tithonia). Most flowers pump nectar for a short time, and then butterflies pass it up. Tithonia is the exception. Butterflies visit and work these flowerheads for hours, I think because the blooms continue to produce the sugary food staple.

The Briar Patch is a butterfly dreamland, shared in several recent posts here. 29 different species in a single morning, is well, Wow!

Jeff

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