We’re Trying To Tie This With The Right Tune

Little Wood Satyr Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, Florida

There we were at Big Bend Wildlife Management Area in Florida’s Panhandle. It was a search for southeastern butterflies, and we found them: Georgia satyrs, Palamedes swallowtails, Tiger swallowtails and more, much more.

It sure surprised me when we spotted this one, a Little Wood Satyr butterfly (Megisto cymela). I’ve lived in Georgia for less than 3 years, and this one? I always associate Little Wood Satyrs as northern butterflies. They’re found in all of the northeastern states of the United States, and further west all the way to the Dakotas, Oklahoma and Texas.

Careful exam of its range map shows that Little Wood Satyrs are found in northern Florida, and that’s where we were.

Watching this sweetie fly onto this leaf, to take in the early morning sun, brought a smile. A small butterfly, it brings to mind that childhood fav, Tinker Belle, that Peter Pan companion.

It brought a smile, and a thought. I thought that this little butterfly deserves a tune, to celebrate its discovery that morning, at Big Bend.

The tune? I so hope y’all come up with just the right one . . . .

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

No Gemmed Satyrs Today

Gemmed Satyr Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Hard Labor creek State Park, Georgia

I dropped off Petra at the groomers in Madison, Georgia this morning, and then headed out to Hard Labor Creek State Park, near Rutledge, Georgia. One of my hopes was to revisit this place, shown here. This was where Phil guided me to the habitat of Gemmed Satyrs (R-LC, Rare to Locally Common, according to Glassberg’s A Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America). He was a Ranger at the Park, and knew just about every square foot of the Park, and knew every butterfly there and almost anywhere in a 300-mile radius.

Yep, I could not relocate that place, and yes, I was not going to bother Phil. The Park Office there had just about the most lush, well planned butterfly garden of any state park or national wildlife refuge I’ve ever seen. At that bloom-laden Park garden, and at a nearby lakeside area, I did find Tiger Swallowtails, Dark Form Tigers (many . . . Why so many there?), Spicebush Swallowtails, Cloudless Sulphurs, Pearl Crescents, Gray Hairstreaks, Eastern Tailed Blues and many different Skippers.

Not seeing Gemmeds did sadden me, for they remain special to me, truth be told.

Jeff

Georgia: My Alamo . . . and the Satyr

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

I moved to Georgia in July 2017. Eatonton was to be my home there for a little more than 2 years. Established a fine natives Georgia butterfly garden in downtown Eatonton, just 2 blocks for the County Courthouse. We had much JOY! in that garden, with visits from Great Purple Hairstreaks, Zebra Longwings, Giant Swallowtails, Palamedes Swallowtails and Monarchs. lots of Monarchs.

My whole life, from way back in Brooklyn when we had a postage stamp-size back garden, I’d dreamed of have a luxurious garden, with butterflies and wildlife, lots of wildlife. I achieve that goal, briefly, in Sheffield, Massachusetts, on those 35 acres in the sylvan Berkshire Mountains, but treachery forced the sale of that rich wildlife private refuge.

Georgia enabled me to fulfill. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Success remained the driving force for me. Eatonton led us to reexamine, and Macon, Georgia beckoned. Now at home here in Macon, our backyard large and growing (just added today = Lobelia, Agastache, Bronze Fennel, Black & Blue Salvia & Coneflower), Georgia is all I had hope it would be, my Alamo, so to speak, my last stand. G-d has seen to it that I survived to this point, even overcoming the treachery of enemies note above, and Oh How I Hope G-d means for me to flourish this .68 acres, create an Oasis for Wildlife, and maybe, just maybe show it to those of you, whom I can get to visit us.

All the while you’ve been sampling this, you’ve been glancing at this affirmation of my affection for Georgia, my long sought after, finally achieved image of a Georgia Satyr butterfly, disregarding that I found it in nearby Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, across the Georgia border, in the Florida Panhandle (northwestern Florida).

My second trip to score a good Georgia image, and for me, affirmation, that despite what most say, I am a Georgian. A survivor of my own Alamo, I am. Thank Y-u.

Jeff

Success! Georgia Satyr Success!!

Georgia Satyr Butterfly 2 photographed by Jeff Zablow at Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, Florida

We went back to the Big Bend Wildlife Management Area in Florida’s Panhandle in late June. Back to re-meet the Georgia Satyr butterfly. I’d waited years and years to shoot it, and my first trip there found Georgia Satyrs, but . . . I wasn’t satisfied with the images I scored.

This was a tiny, tiny, slow flying butterfly, that always flew close to the Spring Creek Unit’s swamp edge, flew low, and preferred to land close to the ground, with plants stalks hiding it from view. Once you got down to shoot one, 90% of the time it flew, mostly 10 feet away. So, you have to get up, and slowly approach it again, and lower yourself again, and re-adjust to get closer, only . . . . . . to have your Georgia fly again!

All the time you’re down on your ‘belly’ you’re remembering back to your Brooklyn childhood, reminded of times that you had to walk through ‘alien’ streets, keeping your eyes open for trouble. Lying on your belly in the Refuge, you sure were in alien territory again, for ticks were there, and your arrival was cause for celebration for them.

While wondering if you were attracting ticks, the humidity there was serious, and despite the head band across my forehead, the sweat soon began streaming down over my glasses and my eyes! The salt began to reach my eyes, and at times blind me for moments.

This Georgia held still, remained in place, and it was gorgeous, tiny but gorgeous. Why endure the up ‘n down struggle, the ticks and the streams of sweat? I am motivated in part by Ralph Waldo Emersons’s famous Success. I so wanted to share with you a butterfly that you will count as different, unusual, and beautiful. The inimitable Georgia Satyr. This one’s reddish/orange lines? I love them!

Jeff