Which One For 2021?

Zebra Heliconian butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Wildlife Management Area, Kathleen, GA

That’s what we love about butterflies, each year brings its own surprises and disappointments. Butterflies you looked forward to seeing in any given year sometimes don’t show up, and each year butterflies you have given up thinking about visit and bring a smile.

This year, just 6 months in our new home, in North Macon, Georgia, we aggressively planted perrenials, trees and shrubs in our back garden. The list is fun for us to recall: Hackberry trees, Swamp milkweed, Linden trees, Bear oak trees, Passionflower, Coneflower, Oak trees (post oak), Hercules Club bushes/trees, Liatris, Brickellia ( rare, rare), Hickory trees (Pignut, Shagbark, Nutmeg (rare, rare), Cardinal flower, Cosmos, Hibiscus, Iris (Blue flag), Spicebush, Crocosmia (Lucifer), Joe Pye, Ironweed, Lobelia, Basil, Black & Blue salvia, Oakleaf Hydrangea, Asters (Several Varieties), Buttonbush, Turtlehead, Atlantic White Cedar, Sassafras,  . . .  and more. Really, more.

The payoff for all the work that we did? Excellent butterfly visits and fulfilling caterpillar numbers. The Big Surprise? This 2020 season brought lots of Zebra Heliconian butterflies to our 800 Garden. Lots. Heliconius charithonia flies with the flight of a ballerina, and just stops you in your tracks, you watching that graceful flight with awe, me thinking where are we in the Amazon or in tropical Africa? Then I smile, thankful that no, we are here in Georgia, and this butterfly is real and inspiring.

So for us, 2020 brought Zebra Longwings. What butterflies will be plentiful in 2021? Ma’am, I have no idea.

Which butterflies would you like to see more of in 2021?

(This one was seen in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia).

Jeff

Everyone Have A Favorite Butterfly?

Mourning Cloak Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in Toronto Canada

Cherie posted a photo of a Compton Tortoiseshell Butterfly yesterday, in Ontario, Canada. That sure got my attention. I’ve seen 3 Compton in these 27 years, and my only image of a Compton was taken while I was about 12 feet away, me using a Macro- lens! Cherrie’s Compton sure got me to thinking, and I Commented on her Facebook post, writing how much I wanted to see another Compton, and how fortunate she was to live in the Land of Tortoiseshells, Mourning Cloaks and species of Comma butterflies. When you are lucky enough to see one of them when they are fresh, you know that scoring a good image will later bring a flood of views, and the Comments you’ll reap, Oh My Goodness!

There’s one of these Brushfoots that is my favorite butterfly. Here it is, a fresh, richly colored Mourning Cloak Butterfly, seen in a city park, Don ________ Park in Toronto, Canada. I was strolling with an acquaintance in the park when I noticed a break in the bushes. I just had to head through that only break in those closely planted shrubs. As I went through those bushes, I must have been on a deer path. It continued for about 40 feet, and there, in a small clearing, was a stand of Common Milkweed. My eyes opened Wide, for on those blooming milkweed were Mourning Cloaks, lots of them!!!

This was one of them, and I love this picture. Study it, its lush, lurid colors. What do you think?

That same year, I was brought to tears [Please don’t tell folks this admission] when a Mourning Cloak circled me several times from 30 feet up, and came down and . . . landed on my hat. Frieda A”H died just months before, and this mystical experience melt me like I was butter or something.

I love stuff, and especially Mourning Cloak Butterflies.

Jeff

The ‘What Is This One’ Butterfly

Appalachian Brown Butterfly II photographed by Jeff Zablow at Prairie Fen Reserve, Ohio

Just yesterday someone on Facebook shared an image of this one, an Appalachian Brown Butterfly, and as is often seen, they asked all who saw, What is This One? We understand their surprise, when finding a butterfly that is solitary, rarely seen, and resides in wetlands. Folks explain that they’ve been out doing field photographing for butterflies for years, and they’d never seen this one before. I enjoy hearing this, for such people are excited, and it assures that they will go out again and again in the future, wondering what new butterfly they may see.

Me I too feel that way. Each year I discover new butterflies, and it is so invigorating to know that the sylvan, undeveloped habitat hold so many new finds for us to enjoy.

Add to that the challenges, as in . . . is this an Appalachian Brown or the closely related Eyed Brown? We were in the Prairie Fen Reserve in Ohio, where both of these species fly. After some minutes comparing the 2 species with this image, I’m sticking to Appalachian Brown, to await what Harry, Bob Pyle, the Other Harry, Curt, Phil, Rose & Jerry, Dave, Joe suggest?

Jeff

Georgia On My Mind

Georgia Satyr Butterfly 3 photographed by Jeff Zablow at Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, Florida

Kayaking, SkyDiving, Drag Racing, Rock Climbing, Swimming Off The Coast In 10 Foot Waters, Rescuing Native Plants Just Before Developers Send In Bull Dozers . . . these all provide excitement and thrills to friends and family. They make folks happy. Me?

This is my joy. Wanting to score photographs of uncommon butterflies, butterflies that I either don’t own photographs of or photos of butterflies that I have met before, but am not, not satisfied with the looks that I’ve gotten.

This happily is an image of a Georgia Satyr Butterfly captured on my 2nd trip to Big Bend Wildlife Management Area near Perry, Florida. This Florida Panhandle refuge is an excellent destination, offering dozens of difficult to find butterflies. A transplant from Long Island, New York to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to now Macon, Georgia, Georgias sing to me, and this trip to bring back an image or 2, well, I count it as a win, win.

Jeff

Whirlabout On HIs Post

Whirllabout Skipper Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Fort Federica, Saint Simons Island, GA

After Grieving/Aggravating over the videos and photos and written reminisces (the most poignant for me? The cell phone calls that that Hero of Heroes made with his wife, he on Flight 93) of 9/11 this morning, choosing what to post led me to this image. A Whirlabout Skipper Butterfly met at Ft. Federica on St,. Simons Island, on the Georgia coast.

He was so set on guarding this, his perceived territory, thankfully allowing me to make my patented, low approach. Perhaps he knew that I am a good guy, that I see what is well and good and sound for his Island and for the USA, and perhaps he watches my sometimes remarked movement, a combo of necesaary cockiness/bravado on those street of Brooklyn, a diff walk in the artillery and later as an artillery officer, and the walk I hybridized as a New York City high school teacher and Dean for Boys (remember those incorrigible boys of your day (guns, knives, chukka sticks and such)).

I stood there, liking his moxie, playing imaginary scenarios of him, and this morning, silly as it made sound, his pose, all 1/6 of an ounce of him (?) talks to me. On this 9/11/20, I want us to remain a solid, ethical, moral, law-abiding and fair USA. I’ve watch America coalesce over the last few years, and it is so what I wanted my entire adult life.

Jeff, on 9/11 . . . . Sharing this guy, this Whirlabout Skipper, maybe the first I’ve ever seen, didn’t see them up north.

Jeff