Sennas, Tithonia & Zinnias: Setting the Table

Cloudless sulphur butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

So many are now sharing that they’ve seen few butterflies here in Georgia this year. It’s the end of June 2019, and we’re now fully into 2 years for our almost all natives garden in central Georgia.

Our 2 big patches of mountain mint are surely nourishing all bees for a 5 miles radius, or so it seems. Our Clethra is about to open, our Obedient Plant opened yesterday and our Big bed of Monarda was a hit with lots of bees and several swallowtails.

Our Giant Zinnias are throwing big flowers these last few days, and our Tithonia (Mexican Sunflower) grows swiftly, now 3 feet tall, some headed to 7′ – 8′ tall. The Tithonia are not native, but they excel at supporting and nourishing many butterfly species, are easy to grow, thrive in drought, are gorgeous, and well summon the large butterflies from afar, very afar.

We’ve had good numbers of Buckeye, Gray Hairstreaks, Snouts, Silver-Spotted Skippers, Checkered Skippers, Monarchs in April and a variety of Skippers. As for the rest, I share Virginia’s positive expectations, that they will show up soon, and in good numbers. Most or all of them.

We’ve looked around central Georgia for Senna, with no success these last 2 years. Senna is the hostplant for these Cloudless Sulphurs, as the one you see here, seen in our Eatonton, GA garden.

My Vegas prediction, butterflies galore, as July fades to August and September produce butterfly jackpots!

Jeff

When You Capture Images of Rare HolyLand Butterflies

Melitaea Persea Montium butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow on Mt. Hermon, Israel, 6/16/08

Melitaea Persea Montium butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow on Mt. Hermon, Israel, 6/16/08

Twenty five years of photographing butterflies has left me with rich memories, and a treasure trove of images. Many of those images are much like yours, fine captures of relatively common butterflies, here in the USA.

Several of my own are of butterflies that are found only in inaccessible, challenging and little travelled places. This is one of those, a Melitaea Persia montium Fritillary butterfly on the peak of Mt. Hermon, Israel, the HolyLand.

Down the road, I have no idea where my slide collection and scanned images will find a home, but here, now I am pleased, very, that I have some very rare, unique and can I say beautiful images of butterflies in the HolyLand, where They walked and stopped to admire these very same winged beauties?

Jeff

Hands, Cellphones & Blues

Ceraunus Blue Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, GA

Some of you do and others don’t. For those of you that do photograph butterflies often, and share your images, we wonder how you feel about photos of butterflies on your hands, your shoulders, your hat or hair, backpacks and in this instance, this Ceraunus Blue flew to our cellphone, perched and primmed there, and posed sweetly.

We’d been Keystone Copping the blues in that sandy spot at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge in coastal Georgia. We cautiously approach, it flees, we follow, it flees. When this Ceraunus flew up to the cellphone, this sweat covered cell, well, there was our opportunity to cop a good Ceraulnus Blue image. But . . .

Over these more than 2 decades, I’ve made certain decisions, concluded certain strategies and likes and dislikes.

Those include, I dislike images of butterflies on people’s hands, arms, shoulder, legs, head, ears, etc. That’s why I rarely ‘Like’ a FaceBook post of a newly eclosed Admiral on your hand. I just don’t think we should have such contact with wild animals, butterflies especially.

I admit that I didn’t throw this image into the circular file. Twenty five minutes of chasing them in that hot, sandy microhabitat, seemed to merit keeping and yes, publishing this image. I too admit that among my favorites images ever are the Jeff’s Earrings exposures taken by Sylbie at the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia.

How do you react to images of butterflies, rare or common, perched on a hand or head? On a cell? Backpack?

Jeff

Scour Or Fly? Leafwings

Tropical Leafwing Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

We flew some 1,600 miles from Atlanta to San Jose, Texas. From there to Alamo, Texas, where we stayed for 6 days. Did we see lots of butterflies? Yes. Did I see butterflies I’d never seen before? Yep, dozens of new ones? Among them, this Tropical Leafwing butterfly.

Georgia has a different Leafwing, the Goatweed Leafwing. I’ve yet to see one here in Georgia. I’ve seen one once where I was so startled to see it, that I neglected to Duh!, take pictures of it, in that 1.7 seconds that I had the opportunity to shoot. I also saw one in Mississippi, that time I did think it was a leaf, growing out of the slender tree trunk it was seemingly connected to. Once again stunned to see what I realized I was seeing, I failed to take a photograph.

To the question. Should I fly around the USA, seeking such as Leafwings, or should I scour my own state, Georgia, for butterflies that I’ve failed to yet share with you?

Jeff

Four Butterflies

American Snout Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Habitat, Eatonton, GeorgiaGray Hairstreak Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Habitat, Eatonton, GeorgiaClyitie ministreak butterfly (3) photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TXGray Hairstreak photographed by Jeff Zablow at Fort Federica, Saint Simons Island, GA

Once every so often, I reflect on my butterfly fascination. When some of you share your image captures, I Ooh! and Ahh! Some of you, truth be told, produce excellent, A+ work. Jeff experiences that 1/100 of a second of doubt, some sort of a throwback to maybe junior high school self-consciousness.

That’s when I regroup, so to speak, and recall the fun I have when I am on trail, when a Wow! butterfly appears, and we play ‘lion stalks zebra,’ ’til I get the images I want, or not. I recall how sweetly many of you receive my work, and reward me with encouragement and sometimes praise. I reconsider the expen$e of some of my travel, the co$t of scoring the third image down, a Clytie Ministreak butterfly, found at the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas.

But most of all, I smile, for I Love the beautiful color and pattern of butterflies, and I savor the rich real-time color that my Fuji Velvia slide film delivers,.

Four butterflies that bring a smile to this once kid from Brooklyn’s mean streets.

Jeff