Zebra in the Bush

Zebra Heliconian butterfly on Tithonia I, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat I, Eatonton, GA

Their flight is akin to ballet. Slow, with gentle floating movement, taking the Zebra Heliconioan up and down. Slow it may be, but the continuous change in altitude really challenges when you want coop an image.

We’ll soon see my images of an uncommon Erato Heliconian Butterly, seen in the the National Butterfly Center’s gardens in Mission, Texas. I was fortunate enough to watch that Erato fly away along a deep crevice in the Butterfly Center. It’s flight path was not like the Zebra’s. The Erato flew an almost projectile like line. That I will long remember, for those big, deep, bright red patches on each wing remained in clear view, throughout that more than 200′ path that it flew.

Back to the Zebra, met in the Butterflies and Blooms Briar Patch Habitat I, In Eatonton, Georgia. I sort of chased it from Tithonia bloom to Tithonia bloom. This time it stopped on one of those Mexican sunflower flowerheads, and I just decided, go for it, and share the reality of Zebras: You shoot what you can shoot, after you tire of trying to follow their at the Ballet progress. That’s what we have here. The reality of trying for a Zebra H. in the bush(es).

Jeff

The Culmination Butterfly

Zebra Heliconian butterfly on Tithonia II, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat I, Eatonton, GA

Valentine’s Day is waning. A disgruntled student did the unthinkable in Florida and politics wash over our USA media by the hour. I’ve just opened the wingedbeauty.com Media Library. More than 800 images rest there. Many have been used, some of them several times. This one, seen last July 2017, called to me, like the puppy in the litter than catches your eye, and waddles over to capture your heart.

It hit me. This is a classic Culmination butterfly, surrounded by culmination growth, Mexican sunflower plants in the Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat I. I took this photo just months before Virginia and crew began unearthing most of the hundred of perennials, bushes and trees there and replanted them a mile+ away, in Habitat II. We are looking at a Zebra heliconian butterfly, enjoying a brunch of Tithonia nectar.

Why is this a Culmination butterfly? This is the product of the boy from the streets of Brooklyn, not so big, but good with his hands, who grew up in brick, concrete and asphalt, with crazies on the streets. The kid who never even saw the golden spoon. The one who went to college by New York subway and had to work after classes to eat. I carried long steel on those hundreds of subway rides through bad places. I hitched with Reed from Binghamton, NY to Miami, Florida in 1962, and nearly got killed about 20 times in the 1962 Deep South. Joined the NYARNG, was a cannoneer on 155mm towed, completed OCS, married beyond my dreams and had 4 children. I left teaching after they refused to promote me and did better than good in NYNY real estate. I was betrayed by “partners,” but did not do to them what my now well connected childhood friends did to those who . . .  I sent kids to Wash U and to the Ivies and then relocated to Pittsburgh. I returned to teaching HS Biology, to rough, tough street kids. I watched Frieda A”H fight and lose to Cancer/Leukemia. Celebrated the birth of grandchildren, even one named for Frieda. Did what Frieda always told me to: work hard and do what you enjoy. I Continue to pray daily . . .

Yep, what you see here is the Culmination butterfly. Take the tale above, multiply it by some healthy multiple, and I am sure then, then you can begin to appreciate how much I enjoy photographing butterflies in Georgia, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Canada, Israel, Vancouver Island (?), Sri Lanka (?) and ???? Thank Y-u.

Jeff

2017: Can We Call it the Year of the Zebra?

Zebra Heliconian butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat I, Eatonton, GA

Facebook was electrified with reports coming from all over Georgia (USA). Zebra Heliconian butterflies! She was born in Georgia, spent her whole life on her family’s land. Now she grows her own gardens. One day, a day in 2017; there she saw something she had not seen in 62 years!! A Zebra Heliconian butterfly, sleek, flying as if they were dancing in the ballet. She was speechless! It was an exhilarating experience, for that kind of unexpected visitor knocks the ho-hum doldrums out of the park!

Joy spread across the state. Everyone quickly boned up on Zebra Heliconians. They certainly arrived from very southern Georgia and Florida. Their hostplants are native passionflowers. They prefer to not venture too far from a nearby wooded edge.

Heliconius charithonia in Georgia again in 2018? A Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America(Glassberg, Second Edition, Princeton Press) shares that they “may become established northward during warm weather, then killed off by freezes.”

This photograph was taken in the Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat, Eatonton, Georgia. It was the month of July 2017. You’re looking at Zebra Heliconian on a robust Tithonia(Mexican sunflower) flowerhead.

Just as nearly all of Georgia cheered for the UGA Bulldogs in the National Championship heartbreaker, surely finding Zebras here in 2018 will evoke countless Thank Y-u’s!!!

Jeff

Identifying Bugs ‘n’ Butterflies at the Briar Patch Habitat

Using Georgia Guide James Murdock and Virginia Linch photographed by Jeff Zablow at Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat, GA

You’ve read of my ‘discovery’ of the Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat. Yep. That incredible 2 acres enable me. It enabled me to meet and greet the butterflies of the southeastern USA, right there. Saved me drives to Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Alabama. That because the Briar Patch Habitat’s thousands of hostplants have attracted dozens of different species of butterflies. This 2017 proved that, with the appearance and everyday reappearance of Zebra heliconians!

What can you expect to see on a typical morning there? 20, 25, 30 or more species of butterflies! All aloft in this open, wild Habitat, in, yes, in the town of Eatonton, Georgia. Fresh, active, strikingly beautiful butterflies.

Virginia C Linch launched the Habitat, supported it, planted, mulched, weeded, watered it, promoted it around town and beyond, and, on occasion, defended it, when folks who should have known better, acted in any way that jeopardized this unique jewel in a pretty town, in the welcoming Georgia Piedmont region.

Virginia here is smiling, though you have to know her to know that. She just showed James Murdock the recently published Georgia fold-out photo guide to Georgia butterflies. James, a Georgia state naturalist and writer for local newspapers, paid a visit to the Briar Patch Butterfly Habitat, wanting to know what all the buzz was about! This was June 2017, and I was there, watching him, transfixed as he was, with the air lanes in the Habitat full, full with beautiful sylvan wings aloft!

The Big New News? The City of Eatonton has agreed to move the Habitat to a new, much larger location in Eatonton. Once Virginia and her stalwart band of friends move the thousands of perennials, shrubs and trees, know that Eatonton’s name and fame will spread. 2018 will be good, Very Good for any and all who favor beautiful, gorgeous and fascinating . . . butterflies.