What is Your Favorite Thanksgiving Butterfly this Year?

Monarch Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park. Jeff blogs about the art and science of butterflies at http://www.wingedbeauty.com

Zebra heliconian butterfly sipping nectar, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Kathleen, GATiger Swallowtail butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA
My wife is at this very moment cooking and baking, all for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving Dinner, here in North Macon, Georgia. Cherry pie, Linzer tarts and Stuffed cabbage. Me, I’m warmly thinking of the next days, tomorrow Thanksgiving Day in our Blessed USA. Saturday, my Birthday Day. The last weeks have drained me some, for I long for civility in our Blessed United States of America.

Thinking of good things, my mind went to a fascinating question. Which of the butterflies rates, deserves the honor of being the 2020 Thanksgiving Butterfly? I’ll tell you mine, and await you telling me yours. OK?

My candidates here are the Zebra Heliconian butterfly (shown in Kathleen, Georgia), the Tiger Swallowtail butterfly (seen in Raccoon Creek State Park nectaring on Butterflyweed blooms) and the Monarch butterfly (seen in Raccoon Creek State Park, enjoying Joe Pye blooms).

My choice.? Today, I made many trips into the backyard garden, to water the newly set-in native plants (Blackgum, Sourweed, Asters, Irises, Sassafras’s, Nutmeg Hickory, Swamp Titi and more and more. It’s the day before Thanksgiving. the Monarchs and the Tigers are no longer seen, the Monarchs are gone to Mexico and the Tigers, hmmm. The whole time I was moving the watering hose (rubber) around, Zebra Heliconians were gracefully flying around me, sometimes within. 2-feet of me. I not once seemed to startle them, they probably males, seriously seeking females (?). I though about this much, Thanksgiving hours away here, and on November 25th, Zebras ballet-flying in our garden.

To the question, which rates section as my Thanksgiving butterfly for 2020. Zebra Heliconian butterflies.

May I ask which might be your Thanksgiving butterfly for this memorable 2020?

Jeff

MIA? Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies?

Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly photographed at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

I’ll reluctantly join the growing chorus? Where are our beloved Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterflies? Many, most or all of you have shared that they are absent. So many of us proudly share that our perennial gardens are now in full bloom, rich with nectar producing flowers. Flowers that normally draw these large, colorful swallowtails.

At this time year after year we enjoyed seeing shots of Tiger caterpillars, chrysalises and newly eclosed male and female Tigers.

My own garden is beginning its 3rd full year, and the Tithonia (Mexican Sunflowers) are reaching 4′-5′ and opening flower. Our 3 species of Hibiscus are busters, our giant Zinnias hale, day lilies still spending new flowers,  Black-Eyed Susans strong, Obedient Plant throwing out hundreds of flowers, Cardinal Flower the deepest of red blooms, Coneflower by the dozens of blooms, Cosmos many and I’ve only seen a single Tiger Swallowtail, back in April 2019.

They’re always our dependables, like Commas on trails, Carolina Satyrs in Southern perennial beds, Silver Spotted Skippers at trails edge where wildflowers abound.

Stalwarts, myself included, expect to see them any day now, what with fennel, dill, black cherry, plum and chokecherry all present and accounted for.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail female at Raccoon Creek State Park, 42 minutes west of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and 8 hours west of Times Square in New York City.

Jeff

Eastern Tiger Reminisce

Male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Cloudland Canyon State Park, GA

I often puzzle over why I remember somethings going back to those lazy, crazy days on the Brooklyn streets. Why do I remember a certain game of punchball, played with maybe 20 kids playing and watching, including Julie Locke, who still stops by here time and again. There were what? hundreds of games of punchball (played by hitting a Pennsy Pinky ball with your fist and running the bases as in baseball), yet I remember one of them?

I remember this guy well. We were at Cloudland Canyon State Park in northwestern Georgia. We found the power line cut that Phil suggested we visit, and yes the Liatris was in full bloom. This male flew in and he stayed there methodically working one Liatris flower spike after another.

He was large, and he was fresh and he was very handsome.

We both shot him out, he fully accommodating our close approach, hardly fleeing. A fine day, and a Shmeksy! Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, reminding us that G-d’s finery is with us.

Jeff

My Birthday Butterfly

Plain Tiger butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mishmarot, Israel

My Fuji slide film (Velvia 50)? I love it, even as its price continues to climb. My eyes are so attended to the hundreds of hours that I spend in the bush. When I get my images back from Parsons, Kansas, the rich color pleases me, for it is 100% true to the real-time butterflies that I see.

Yes, tomorrow is my birthday, and it will be a quiet one. On the eve of B-day, I’ve decided to share an image taken in the HolyLand, at Mishmarot, Israel, north of Tel Aviv and 15 minutes from Caeseria, and the Mediterranean Sea.

This Plain Tiger butterfly (Danaus chrysippus chrysippus) is closely related to North America’s Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus). This Israeli one is much more difficult to approach than our Monarch. Scoring the image was not easy, and closer approach was not to happen.

I often wonder how you entertain my frequent sharing of HolyLand butterflies? Me? I think of Who? and How? Th-y saw them back then, and truth be told, I am moved by that. But with my Birthday hours away, I am going to hope that . . .

Jeff