Twin-Spot Skipper How Do You Do

Twin-spot Skipper Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, GA

We made the brief acquaintance of this “U” for Uncommon (Glassberg, A Swift Guide to Butterflies) Twin-Spot Skipper in Laura’s Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge. Yes it was a rush to see a seldom seen and very fresh skipper butterfly, perhaps the 3rd I’d ever seen. My move to Georgia continues to reward me with these kinds of thrilling moments, seeing butterflies that are seldom seen by even the most avid butterfly seekers.

Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge? Highly recommended. It is the home to so many much sough butterflies, wildflowers, botany, birds of wetlands and dry, insects, big alligators and baby alligators, snakes and more and more.

Fortunate you are when one such as Laura takes the time to urge you to head out to a destination, one that she knows is full of G-d’s creations, especially for me, butterflies.

Jeff

Imbibing Sweet Nectar In The Briar Patch

Male Black Swallowtail Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in the Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, GA

The Tithonia (Mexican Sunflower) achieved enormous growth there in the Briar Patch. Virginia’s tiny seeds produced 8 foot tall Tithonia. She’d tell you that yes, they were not native to Georgia, but, they were strong, robust sunflowers, easily tolerate the Piedmont’s long bone-dry summers, self-seeded and nourished legions of butterflies, year after year.

I’ve planted Mexican Sunflower here in my own Eatonton garden, and their vigorous growth and absence of pests enables them to provide nurture for butterflies from June to November. For the price of a packet of seeds, you get Tithonia that neatly fills whole corners of your sunny garden spots and summons squadrons of swallowtails, brush foot butterflies, hairstreaks and many skipper species.

I suppose that they must also make fine cut flowers for your home vases, and if grown in your front garden beds, they’ll have your neighbors asking, “What is that gorgeous big flowering plant you’re growing there?”

This Eastern Black Swallowtail is fully involved, methodically working this Tithonia flowerhead. His golden yellow flashes, blue patches and shot of red/red, against black wings and black body handsomely fitted with white spots, works nicely here with the developing Tithonia bud and sweet Tithonia flower, all set in a clump of Tithonia, that blocking the sunlight that brightens the rest of the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat.

The richness of plants and butterfly here is real and as with all we share, the color of it all, real-time.

Jeff

Skipper Time

Skipper butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow in White Tank Mts., Regional Park,  AZ

How much is too much? It’s been quite a long time since I spotted this skipper butterfly in a dry arroyo in the White Tank Mountains Regional Park, west of Phoenix, Arizona. There weren’t many butterflies there at any given time, but I came to realize that almost any butterfly you saw in that other-worldly habitat . . . might be new and exhilarating!

Almost all I saw there, on many trips to that surreal arid region, refused to tolerate close approach. This view shall have to suffice, though it’s pretty good, and the Fuji Velvia 50 slide film I used is always color true.

So much time has gone by, and now I am determined to take a stab at it. Eufala Skipper (Lerodea eufala)? Ken? Jeffrey? The NABA cognoscenti? Curt?

Jeff

Those Waning Birthday Hours

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

Five hours left in my Birthday day. Facebook has brought around 100 Birthday greetings! from so many. Some I sort of expected, but many others were a Happy surprise. I was, well a bit aglow that so many fascinating, skilled, unique people really wanted to be friends, took the time and buoyed me.

I’ve seen how some go out to find butterflies in groups, once in a while in near mobs. I almost always go solo, and I forget each year, how my singular scouring of the field impacts later on so many. The long drives, the rented cabins, VRBO’s and Homeaways (Airbnb made a poor choice recently, politically), the frequent getting skunked, the expen$ive film, for I seem to be a color purist, the late in the day return to my rental, usually with Petra just gleeful to see me. It can be isolating, if it weren’t for the Holy Cows! that happen now and then, and have me jumping for joy like a 14-year old.

Few ever reach out or volunteer to show me the treasures of their region, state. Almost never am I met and guided to favorite habitat. NABA mucky mucks never reach out and when I rarely share on NABA, the extended ‘hand’ fails to appear.

So . . . this happily received outpouring all day today, from the USA, France, Sri Lanka, Israel ,Canada, Poland, Brazil and Pittsburgh, well, I Love it!

Virginia suggested I try Ft. Federica in August, on now posh St. Simons Island, Georgia. The fort reeks of important history, what with the anticipation of a Spanish Armada sailing up the river, to be stopped or to see the slaughter of the men, women and children of that brave fort and the community built around it.

This skipper butterfly was met in the meadows there at Ft. Federica. Perhaps Curt or Ken or Dave or . . . some NABA leader will come forward and ID. This is my only image of it.

Jeff

 

Common Checkered-Skipper (Female)

Checkered Skipper Butterfly on Lantana photographed by Jeff Zablow in the Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, GA

They were rare sightings back in Pittsburgh. I don’t ever remember seeing Skipper butterflies in the New York City metropolitan area or in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts.

Here in Georgia, they are that big word, ubiquitous, seen alot, in most places. They fly low, fly away on your approach, in sum, a very at arms length butterfly.

This one here, she was seen in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia. I see many more males than females, so this gal, preoccupied with lantana blossoms, was a nice capture, on a hot sunny Georgia morning.

Jeff