Booking A Showstopper

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

Rolling into Big Bend Wildlife Management Area that day, I was psyched even before I rolled to a stop in the small parking pad. The last 100′ I’d been passing . . . big, gorgeous Palamedes Swallowtail butterflies. I hadn’t seen them since many years ago in Mississippi. These Florida Panhandle Palamedes were much bigger than most other swallowtails, were mostly vividly hued, fresh and few were bird-struck (had bits of hindwing plucked by birds during unsuccessful attack).

Virginia discovered Big!! in May in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat (Yes, Eatonton, Georgia). A pair of Queen (!!!!) caterpillars. Never sen there before, Queens? Field guides show them no closer than a 2.5 hour drive south and east. They’re now eclosed and magnificent. No sweat as to what to nourish any future progeny with. The BBBPatch Habitat has about 100 Asclepias (milkweed) plants, poised and available.

Connect the dots? Virginia mentioned in April that she’s planning to set in Redbay trees/shrubs (?) to attract Palamedes swallowtails, like this instant one. Now many know that when this whirling dervish of a woman sets out to do something, Las Vegas’ line is very, very favorable. Palamedes in the Georgia Piedmont? Rare, but they have been historically seen there. Dare you bet against Miss Virginia?


2 thoughts on “Booking A Showstopper

  1. your obvious joy in finding these beauties is a gift the rest of us enjoy so much! while i don’t ramble and explore as you do, your thoughts and captures ALMOST (almost) make up for the lack of those experiences here!
    wish you had been here for the Queens, maybe you will be next go round, thank you for your confidence. will have to tell you that i caught a spice bush laying eggs on that bay laurel, not a palameades at all! but its early, so we keep hoping

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    • What we need is access. Access to the butterflies’ own postings, for they surely are constantly sharing this and that about the bounty and wonders of the BBBPHabitat in beautiful Eatonton, GA!


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