Hanging Your Jewels

Hanging Fruit Basket with Viceroy butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at the Butterflies and Blooms Habitat in Eatonton, GA

Many of us puzzle over, how can we attract more butterflies to our own garden? We are determined to achieve this goal, and it is so encouraging nowadays, that most of us head straight to . . . the nearest native plants nursery. This is exactly what you should do. Purchase and plant native plants, from your own part of the United States. Head over to a nursery like Night Song Native Plant Nursery in Canton, Georgia or Sylvania Natives, right here in the city of Pittsburgh. Chat with the owners, seek their advice, ask about this choice or that, how to plant, how to prepare your soil. Owners of native nurseries love what they do, and they get A+ for sharing

After one year, your plants will be setting and developing. My first Common Milkweeds, shipped from Monarch Watch in Kansas were just 3-4′ tall year one. I was puzzled. Friends said, expected, wait for year 2. Year two? 7′-8′ milkweeds, busting with flowerheads.

By year 3 your neighbors will be coming along, and admiring, complimenting and gaping at the heavy traffic at your garden beds. You’ll be on your porch, or virtual porch, sipping your favorite, and living your own . . . dream.

At that point, follow Virginia’s suggestion. Do what you see here. Hang a basket of cut, and gently rotting fruit. Best might be if it is about 10′ from your treeline or tree (butterflies like that, to go to to rest, hide or escape). Change the fruit every 2-3 days. Work, but not a whole lot.

I shot this look because of the shmeksy! Viceroy butterfly, at the very right of the basket. A stunning example of a southern Viceroy. I wanted to also  show the Hackberry emperor butterflies that were all over the fruit. I know this basket well, having spent some time precariously leaning in (Macro-lens). Frequent visitors include Tawny emperors, Eastern commas, Red-spotted purples, Question Marks and more.

Hang it. Feed them. Admire them. Smile, for you are fostering such hanging jewels.

Jeff

Guess Where?

Painted lady butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow in Society for the Protection of Nature Hermon, Israel

Raccoon Creek State Park, Southwestern Pennsylvania? Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, Florida Panhandle? Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, Delmarva Peninsula, Maryland? Jamestown Audubon Center, Southwestern New York? West Don Park, Toronto, Canada. White Tank Mountains Regional Park, west of Phoenix, Arizona?

Briar Patch Habitat, Eatonton, Georgia? Yazoo National  Wildlife Refuge, Mississippi? Frick Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania?

Patti’s Colorado? Lynn’s Virginia? Jerry and Rose’s secret Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge swamp? Sylbie’s Rock Hawk Preserve in Putnam County, Georgia?

Nope, SPNI’s refuge reserve in the foothills of Mt. Hermon, at the northeastern tip of Israel, just several miles from murderous ISIS.

Isn’t it Amazing that Painted Lady butterflies are native to all of these places, and Central and South America and Asia and Africa and . . . Amazing.

Jeff

Here? There? Everywhere? Those Ladies!

Painted lady butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow in Society for the Protection of Nature Hermon, Israel

Spokane, Washington? Eatonton, Georgia? Perry, Florida? Jamestown, New York? Toronto, Quebec? Phoenix, Arizona, St. Louis, Mo.? Lumberton, Mississippi? Central Park, New York?

No to all. This Painted Lady butterfly (Vanessa Cardui) was nectaring in Northernmost Israel, at the foot of Mt. Hermon. I spent several days in the SPNI field house, my fourth furlough there. Their large nature reserve was rich in wildlife and botany, and it was March 2015, with millions of blooms of countless species.

Considered the most universal (widespread) of all butterflies species, it was, honestly, a shock to be 7,000 miles from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the U.S., and see what? A Painted Lady? Nevertheless, this is H-s plan.

Oh, and how far was this one from ISIS, Hezbollah, regular Syrian troops, Syrian rebel forces and Al Queda? Less than 10 miles, about as far as some drive to the supermarket. Our world!

Jeff

Am I Home?

Painted Lady butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mt. Meron, Israel

I did the near impossible, getting up when I did, and attending to all that I do before I drove to do my field work. I arrived at my destination at around 6:30 A.M.. Working the trail, I was soon electrified to see a goodly sized butterfly cross the trail in front of me. OMG! It was a Vanessa, Vanessa cardui. Flew right to a leaf just inches above the left side of the trail. Super. It wanted to absorb the warming rays of the sun. That meant that it might remain there for some time, and . . . might be approachable.

Now, the morning cup of coffee did wake me, but there must have still been residual yawn-power, because I thought: Hey wait! Where am I? Am I home (in Pittsburgh, PA)?

Where was this stunning Painted Lady butterfly? Fairbanks? Oxford, Mississippi? Green Bay, Wisconsin? Kississimmee Prairie Preserve in Okeechobee, Florida? Eatonton, Georgia? Montrodat, France? Sao Paulo, Brazil? Or was I in  Odessa, Ukraine?

Well, I quickly came to my senses. We were on Mt. Meron, in the Upper, upper Galilee region of Israel. Our instant butterfly would have looked little different in any of the above wonderful destinations. Because . . . Painted Ladies are the most universal of all butterflies. Found on all continents, and varying little from here to there.

Jeff