Six Packed On a Pipevine Leaf

Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillars on Pipevine leaf photographed by Jeff Zablow at Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat I, Eatonton, GA

Share my first introduction to Pipevine Butterfly caterpillars. Imagine my glee when I looked closer and closer at those tiny cats on that leaf, until it dawned on me: You are meeting your first ever Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillars! That was a special moment at the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton.

I’d spent 2 decades looking out for Pipevine Swallowtails, they quite ‘Uncommon’ in western Pennsylvania. We planted pipevine in our 303 Garden in Eatonton, Georgia, and we’ve hosted cats for the last 2 years. There are not cats there yet, although we have no doubt that Mammas will come along and deposit eggs a 303. Our 800 Macon garden  . . . has no Pipevine plants yet, and we have to correct that oversight. Pipevine plants trellis nicely, require zero care, and we’ve not had them bothered by pests or pestilence.

Seeing a Battus philenor male, dorsal (upper) or ventral (underside) in just the right sunlight, at just the right angle? Worth a Yelp! for sure.



Flirting Gulfs

Gulf fritillary butterflies flirting, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

Each species of butterfly behaves differently moments/minutes before they join to copulate. Watching a male Monarch physically force a flying female down to the ground is a bit much, others come together gently, and with apparent total focus.

This pair of Gulf Fritillary butterflies were in the tall grass when I found them at the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia. Studying the photo convinces that this male and female are gently preparing for action to produce a new generation of Gulf fritillaries. Not suite which is the female or which is the male. I am sure that those flashes of white, nicely reflecting the morning light, are bedazzling.

Splendor in the Grass, this.


This Viceroy Stunned Me!

Viceroy butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at the Butterflies and Blooms Habitat in Eatonton, GA

This super-charged my eyes and rocked my mind! It was early morning in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia, Virginia’s in-town miracle. I do especially like Viceroy butterflies, and I’m always on the lookout for an extraordinary one. This photo shot me to the moon, it did. Why?

  • Our Viceroy star here posed, in excellent form, long enough for me to cop many images, and super-like this one.
  • This was a Macro- shot, me having to be very very close, and he/she allowed me to close the space between us.
  • The colors it wore are so very sweet, reminding me of those many many visits to the finest of the jewelry houses in NYNY back then. G-d here shares colors that Cartiers must quietly . . . envy
  • Viceroys prefer habitat near much water, the B & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat had willows, but little water, so why were we so blessed with this visit?
  • Every aspect of this Viceroy butterfly is gorgeous. You slowly scan it and more and more finery is seen.
  • Frieda A”H loved fine jewelry, and as I stood at this beauty, it so evoked for me memories of how . . . .
  • My goals remain the same: Chief among them is to score images as good as or better than those in the best of the Butterfly field guides. I did that here, I’d like to say.
  • Why? Why? was I so fortunate to be there, at this place, at this time, enabling me to meet such Beauty! A moment earlier or a moment later and . . . . Will of the Wisp they used to call it.
  • I suspected then, that if I could capture the essence of this magnificent creature, that some whom I much respect would be pleased, and would say so. That is the wind to my sails. You do it for me.


3 Black Cherry Trees & A Tulip Poplar Stump

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

Eastern Black Swallowtail butterflies come here every day. Several times a day. Here, is my new homes, of 3 months, in North Macon, Georgia.

The back garden is large, and we’ve already added 3 native Black Cherry trees, their favorite hostplant. We had tree removal men take out alot of trees, to open up the center of the back garden, open it to some sun. One of the stumps (cut to ground-level) has now sprouted (well, re-sprouted) and that late winter cut tree, bare of leaves, is sending up Tulip Poplar sprouts. Tulip Poplar is the Eastern Tiger’s other hostplant.

Totally excited we are, for by next year, our 3 Black Cherry trees should grow from their present 2 feet to 4 feet in height, and just maybe that’s enough for 1, 2 or all 3 of them to host Eastern Tiger eggs. The Tulip Poplar (Tuliptree) sprouts won’t be removed, and they too many beckon Tigers.

We don’t do the self-defeating garden mistakes. We don’t use chemicals (zero), don’t mist for mosquitoes . . . we don’t use chemicals at all. It looks like our neighbors don’t hire mosquitoes spray companies, so we will have little worry that neighboring poison sprays will drift over to us.

We will be 101% expectant in 2021, with garden activity beginning not in late April as it used to in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (700 miles north of here), rather here in middle Georgia Spring 2021 will begin in . . . the first week of February! Yippee!


N.B., This hunk of a male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail was seen in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia, very, very early on a sunny morning, when he was prepping his wings

Spicebush Swallowtail Visitor

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

My morning check of how our young Macon natives garden was in full swing, when that big Smile appeared on Brooklyn’s face, for what did I see. A female Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly was at one of our newish Sassafras trees (all 18″” of it), setting eggs on her hostplant. Moments later she left it and searched a bit, soon finding another Sassafras and depositing egg on it too. When a Spicebush Swallowtail comes to YOUR garden and leaves its eggs on your Sassafras or on your Spicebush, well, that’s a sweet sight.

We’ll now be on the lookout for the caterpillars that hatch from those eggs, taking them in if necessary (we have such a butterfly enclosure cage). What would be the best? The best would be if Spicebush Swallowtail butterflies establish themselves here, rent-free.

This one you see here is a male Spicebush, photographed in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia. For those of you out of the country, we’re in the American southeast, 2 hours and 15 minutes from the Atlantic Ocean.

Jeff happy? Yes, yes.