Beg, Threaten or Cajole, They Bloom And Soon Stop

Large Clump of Butterflyweed photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

This lush set of blooms was met in Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania. Our garden in Eatonton, Georgia now has them. We’ve had good success growing new plants from our own seed.

Without checking the internet, I think that these Butterflyweed milkweeds are native to most states east of the Mississippi River. I found them lush and strong in Lynx Prairie Reserve in southern Ohio and just as beautiful in that 100+ acre meadow at Ft. Indiantown Gap in central Pennsylvania. On them at Lynx Prairie were Edwards Hairstreaks, Coral Hairstreaks, Monarchs, Great Spangled Fritillaries and more. On them at Ft. Indiantown Gap were Regal Fritillaries (Wow!!), Monarchs, Coral Hairstreaks and more.

Search for them too early in June, and you won’t find their flowers in bloom. Search for them too late in July, and again, too late for blooms.

They are super terrific flowers for attracting butterflies, but . . . they only attract butterflies when those flowers are mature, lush and my own experience is that they mostly attract butterflies and moths and wasps from about 9:45 AM to 10:40 AM..

You can beg, cajole or threaten whatever, but that’ll not help. They bloom when they bloom, and when they are ripe and ready, they are easy to spot and fantastic! beacons for butterflies and more. They do occasionally support Monarch caterpillars, but seem to be a milkweed of last resort.

And, they do great in most gardens, preferring sunny, moist spots.

Jeff

2 Southern Texas Danaus Butterflies (Actually 3) & An Israeli Danaus

Queen butterfly (Full dorsal) photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TXMonarch Butterflies Coupled photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TXPlain Tiger butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mishmarot, Israel

This Queen butterfly was photographed at the ‘Wall’ in Mission Texas. She was nectaring at a famous, much visited perennial garden set at the entrance wall to a popular development of homes.

The image of a pair of coupled Monarch butterflies (he easily seen here) was taken in the perennial gardens of the National Butterfly Center, also in Mission, Texas.

Both are Danaus butterflies, both relying on native milkweed plants as their hostplants.

Here in Eatonton, Georgia we have Monarchs visiting daily, to nectar on our natives and Mexican Sunflower, and to deposit their eggs on our several species of milkweed.

A visit from a Queen, here in central Georgia, is possible, but unlikely.

The 3rd image is a Danaus butterfly, the Plain Tiger, halfway around the world, in Mishmarot, Israel. A male I think.

Danaus butterflies have much in common, and then again, vary much.

Jeff

Tantalizing Blue Sky With Monarch

Monarch butterfly on Tithonia with intense blue sky, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat I, Eatonton, GA

Armed with my Canon 100mm/2.8 Macro lens, those tall-tall Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia) plants prevented me from getting scrumptious images of the many Monarch butterflies that day. I just couldn’t get close enough to captures the dramatic detail of the monarchs.

Denied, I began reviewing my situation. I wanted to cop Monarchs against the unique blue Eatonton, Georgia sky. This was the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat, and when Monarchs fly, fresh ones like this one, it doesn’t matter that you own dozens of good Monarch looks, you’ve got to respect the remarkable beauty before you. You’ve just got to grab some Monarch images.

My decide? I decided to go for it, to get a good image of a fresh Monarch, sitting high above me on a Tithonia bloom, with the rich blue sky framing it, all doable with my wonderful Fuji Velvia 50 slide film.

Here it its. I love it. You?

Jeff

Why Didn’t Our Monarch Make His Home In Alabama?

Monarch butterfly (male, full dorsal)1, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

He arrived in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat, exhausted, but zero bird-struck. He reminds of a man in his early ’50’s, buff, handsome but no longer a 30-ish strongman.

Presuming that he stayed here in Eatonton, Georgia, to spend time with the butterfly whiz, Virginia C Linch, at this butterfly oasis, that in itself raises questions.

When he flew from Texas to Louisiana, why didn’t he remain there, for the weeks that he had to enjoy?

When he left Louisiana, and flew to Yazoo, why didn’t he stay there, in their wonderful National Wildlife Refuge? I was there once, and like it much.

The Delta didn’t do it for our Monarch, then how could he not fall in love with his next stop, Alabama?

Why’d he leave Alabama and fly those hundreds of miles to Virginia’s Briar Patch Habitat?

Did he leave Eatonton and fly to Marcie’s Summerville, South Carolina?

I’m guessing that he lived out the rest of his days here, in the Briar Patch habitat

You’re urged to explain all of this to us, to me.

Jeff

 

I Am Still Puzzled: Tale Of A Monarch

Monarch butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park

These 25 years of seeking butterflies has taught me alot. My work has not been focused on the academics of butterflies. I have sought to share eye pleasing images of butterflies, to evoke recognition of their beauty and a certain mystique, and to provoke, so much so that you are more aware of them, and spend more time looking for them, whether in Eatonton or on the peak of Mt. Hermon (Israel).

I may well have approached and seen 10,000,000 by now. Much about these butterflies is predictable. I find that in the field my ‘senses’ are finely attuned to their behavior, and that’s a great aid in my pursuit of them.

I now know much of them, but of course that’s a bit too smug, for there’s lots I don’t know.

The Monarch male here, stunned me some years ago. Over those 25 years, I never seen a butterfly do what he did. Never.

What did he do? I saw him at Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania, USA. He was perched on these dried flowers. Motionless. We were in Doak field, an open, 100 acre meadow in the Park.

I made my patented robotic approach, in a crouch. My Macro- lens needed to be within some 18 inches of him. He did not flee, staying still, in place.

When I was there, close to him, with lens facing him, he did it. He turned his head to his right, now facing the Canon 100mm/2.8 lens. He looked at me for some 4 seconds or so, as I repeatedly shot exposures of him. After those 4 seconds, he fled, at some speed.

I have never seen a butterfly turn its head, ever. Never.

What say you of this?

Jeff