Giants Delight!

Giant swallowtail butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

Our 800 Georgia Natives Garden in our new home is just now in its 3rd month. It excites us daily, with amazing butterflies flying in. On Saturday, a Giant Swallowtail butterfly appeared, and she searched our trees, bushes and perrenials until she found the Hercules Club young tree that we set in one week before, A larger than usual potted Hercules Club, we were overjoyed when it looked healthy days after we planted it (we made sure to add lots of sand to the mix).

Saturday’s Giant remained at the hostplant of Giants for some 8 or 9 minutes, setting eggs here and there. When we brought the Hercules Club home from Jim & Debi’s Nearly Native Nursery (Fayetteville, Georgia) it already had eggs on it. With the set of new eggs, we felt like expectant grandparents.

When a Giant flies in, its stop what you’re doing and gaze. When you arrive at the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat (Eatonton, Georgia) early, very early, and find this huge Giant male warming its wings in the first warming rays of the morning sun . . . How can I fully share the JOY?


While Planting A Large Hercules Club Today . . .

Giant Swallowtail Butterfly on Tithonia photographed by Jeff Zablow in the Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, GA

We came home from Nearly Native Nursery (Fayetteville, Georgia, just south of Atlanta) with a large Hercules Club. What a terrific addition to our 800 garden. Hercules Club grows to become a small tree, and it is a hostplant for that amazing butterfly of the South, the Giant Swallowtail butterfly.

We now have 2 Hercules Club plants, and the excitement builds, for several days ago, while the large Hercules Club was still in its large bucket, a female Giant came along and I watched, pleased as a peach, while it returned again and again to lay eggs on the Hercules Club, though it was still in bucket!

Searching through our Media Library, I’ve chosen this image to share, an image of a Giant Swallowtail nectaring on a Tithonia bloom (Mexican Sunflower) in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia. Just hours ago we set that sizable plant into the ground here, added sand to the soil (they enjoy soil with sandy texture) and I so look forward to the years ahead, with our 2 Hercules Club plants, and we hope a steady stream of Giants flying gracefully in the deposit their eggs and to nectar on our 800 Tithonia, Zinnias, Joe Pye, Bricktellia, and so much more.


A Sight That Thrills

Close Up of Pipevine Swallowtail  Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow as it perched on Bergamot flower at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania, 7/31/14

Bergamot, that northeastern member of the mint family, will be open soon in meadows through that part of the USA. A fine strategy is to locate a stand of this 2-3 foot tall perennial, and return there the next day(s), on a sunny morning. Why? You will have an excellent chance to see and shoot butterflies, moths and more than make it their business to visit the Bergamot, it pumping out sweet nectar those morning hours.

This morning here, I was richly rewarded when a fresh Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly showed up, and as they do, furiously hovered over the Bergamot blooms, imbibing its nutrient rich nectar. Those purplish-blues of the right hindwing ventral surface glisten in the morning sun, the rich coral  spots please, and the purplish-blue of the abdomen against the white spots of the body add to the beauty of this swallowtail.

Doak Meadow in Raccoon Creek State Park, Hookstown, Pennsylvania.


Tigers That Please

Tiger swallowtail butterflies photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

I grew up on the streets (Brooklyn). Fought I don’t remember how many times. Had friends who were . . . ‘Connected (very).’ Served as an artillery officer during Nam (they never sent our 155mm towed). Served, yes, as a riot control platoon leader, trained more than you can imagine, for orders to take to the streets after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated (Thank G-d we were not ordered to go out, for my men were mostly NYC police officers and NYD Dept of Sanitation guys (and afraid of . . . nothing)). I was a Dean (for Discipline) in a Queens, NY high school for 5.5 years, stood there as the first student to be murdered in a NYC school expired. Rode the NYC subways to college everyday for 4.5 years (I was totally poor and had to work after school), with long cold steel on me.

This rioting that is going on now, ignited and fueled by Socialist/Communist elements, they loaded with dollar$ does displease me, that word not quite telling what it does to my blood pressure. America has prospered, for so many these last 40 years, and those who did well, have done a poor job of raising their children. Their tantrum throwing kids are now, wearing fine clothes and stupid masks, throwing their tantrums in front of adoring TV cameras.

Yes, life is tough, I mentioned “poor” above. There were times we had NO FOOD in the house. Me? Never gave up. Never complained. I watch these kids, so adoringly filmed by cameras and cell phones, and . . .

So why do you, Mr. Smarty Pants/Tough Guy seek and photograph butterflies? Look at this young male, an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly. Apolitical, purposeful, elegant and determined. He’ll fly for endless hours, for many days to seek his mate, and while dong that, I met him, he taking a rest, before flying aloft again.

Here’s a Tiger that pleases, and one that so calms this Brooklyn guy, now happily ensconced in Georgia, USA.


Black Form Eastern Tiger on Buttonbush

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly (Black Form), photographed by Jeff Zablow at Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, GA

Heat, humidity, mosquitoes, ebbs and flows in butterfly activity all disappear, when? When a beauty like this female fly in. She’s a black form of the much more common Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly.

She here shows evidence of a little bit of wear (some of the scales that cover her wings have slipped off), but just as so many remain beautiful well into the later decades of their life, she too is gorgeous.

Met a Pond 2 at Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge in Juliette, Georgia, middle Georgia. The buttonbush where it loves to be, at the edge of a pond.

I’ve always had this thing for OMG! beauty . . . .