Papilio Palamedes Ahead?

Palamedes Swallowtail Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, Florida's Panhandle

We drive to the Georgia coast in August, for butterflies, beach, beauty and  . . . butterflies. I want to revisit butterflies I’d seen there several years ago: Little Metalmark, Eastern Pygmy Blue, Georgia Satyr and Great Southern White.

I’d met alot of Palamedes Swallowtails in the Florida Panhandle at Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, and you want to know the truth? I love this image of a Palamedes met in the Spring Unit part of Big Bend. I compare this image with others, and I always am pleased with it. Always.

Nonetheless, if there were to be a fresh fresh Palamedes in Sapelo Island, or Brunswick, or Little St. Simons Island or on Jekyll Island, for 100% sure I’d ‘waste’ Fuji Velvia film on it, hoping against hope to come up with a better yet Palamedes image.

Place your bets . . . .

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

Phaon Crescent? Yes? Excellent!

Phaon Crescent Butterfly 3 photographed by Jeff Zablow at Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, Florida

Major Fun comes when you travel to distant places, and begin your search for butterflies, familiar and new. That’s what happened on our most recent trip to Big Bend Wildlife Management Area in the Florida Panhandle.

After living most of my life in the northeastern USA, it’s happily often now that I am pleased to meet new butterflies. That’s what happened here, when we were working the Spring Unit of Big Bend, along a swampy area trail. Along came this butterfly, and it stopped on this leaf. No time to stop and study, so I shot away. What I did know was that he WAS a Phaon Crescent and not a Pearl Crescent butterfly.

He had those cream colored bands on his forewings and those wide orange spots too. They prefer moist habitat, and that’s exactly where we were.

A fresh, beautiful Phaon pleasing me with good photo opps on a fine northern Florida morning. Excellent!

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

Welcome Palamedes!

Palamedes Swallowtail Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, Florida's Panhandle

We had one Palamedes Swallowtail visit our Eatonton, Georgia natives garden. That was exciting. Though Glassberg cites the Palamedes as a “Stray” some miles from the northernmost range it occupies, Eatonton was well placed for a Palamedes ‘stray.’ We had no Redbay or Laurels, its hostplants, and our one visitor only passed through.

We’re now two months here in Macon, miles farther south in Georgia. We continue to not feature Laurels or Redbay here, but Sunday’s trip to Jim & Debi’s Nearly Native Nursery may, who knows, change that!

This Palamedes was at Big Bend Wildlife Management Area in the Florida Panhandle. We never Photoshop our images, and the stark Beauty of this Palamedes so electrifies me!!

Jeff