Sumacs In Macon

Viceroy Butterfly on Sumac (Woody Pond) photographed by Jeff Zablow at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, GA

Can’t forget this moment, not for a long time. The Georgia Native Plant Society (GNPS) had posted on Facebook, of the virtues of Sumac bushes/small trees. It caught my eye, for my city kid roots (Brooklyn, New York) always tagged sumacs as B-A-D. Poison sumac was found in Brooklyn and the other five boroughs of New York City. It was to be avoided. The GNPS’s Facebook post told of the virtues of Georgia’s native sumacs. Attractive in the garden, hardy and supplies valuable food to birds and more.

This Viceroy flew in while we were working Woody Pond at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, on the Georgia coastline. Lauren had recommended Harris Neck, and there we went. The Viceroy flew to the sumac that grew on that 4-foot wide strip that separated the Woody Pond trail from the pond’s edge (think alligators!). This Viceroy was fresh and Gorgeous, and began nectaring immediately on the few Sumac flowers that had opened.

So, suddenly Sumacs were good, very good. They attracted beautiful butterflies! That was an epiphany, for me. GNPS touted Sumacs, and there I was excited about a Sumac in a fab Refuge, as it attracted a totally OMG! Viceroy.

Our 8 months ongoing Macon, Georgia back garden now has dozens of trees, bushes and perennials that we’ve added to it, 97.5% of them natives. With Spring ’20, what did we discover? Winged Sumac and Smooth Sumac plants appeared, and began to grow. We didn’t plant them. I chose the several that would be terrific placements, and look strong and robust, and I staked them (so Petra & Cuiffi) don’t trample them. Lots of you know how anxious I am to see these Sumacs surge forward in the Spring ahead of us.

Sumacs and Jeff, we’ve gone along way.

Jeff

People Plan . . . & G-d Laughs?

Jeff Zablow at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, GA

JLZ at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge on the Georgia coast. I gaze at this pic of me, and . . . I’m good with it. Gave up long, long ago comparing myself with make-believe folks, like Hollywood stars, TV personalities and Mickey and Roger and Michale Jordan and what was the name of that NY Giants football great? I stare at this, the me of me, and smile, the street kid in very real Brooklyn, the kid who took the subway to the National Golden Gloves Finals, boxed in Boys Club, took the NY subways for those years to college w/ long steel on me, kinda had Connected friends, but knew that would not be good for the future, Dean (for Discipline) in a New York City high school, managed a Staten Island multi-family and smiled as the last Connected Guy living there moved, was an artilleryman and graduated from OCS, managed buildings in New York’s Chelsea, East Village, SoHo, West Village, Upper East Side, Upper West . . . .

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Success and a firm belief in G-d are the wind to my sails now. Wealth . . . gone. Friends . . . elusive. Family . . . ‘Dad you shoot “Bugs?”‘ Hey, I LOVE seeking and photographing butterflies. I more so enjoy when YOU come along and ‘Like.’ More than that I LIKE when you ‘Comment.’ You are folks I enjoy, admire and regret that I hardly ever meet!

2021 beckons. Election over, Idiot 20-somethings disappear from the MSMedia . . . 2021 is the year I look forward to busting-out!! I want to shoot, shoot and shoot again. I’ve already received real, not imagined invites to come and be shown destinations heretofore unknown to me in Ohio, Arizona, southwestern Georgia and on the Georgia coast. The ‘Little Boy In The Candy Shop’ is so looking forward to going and meeting Facebook and WordPress friends and together investigating 2021 habitat that they know.  Budget? Meager? Heart? Doc always says “Excellent.”

The generation gone always cautioned, “People Plan . . . and G-d Laughs.” What I haven’t mentioned yet is that I’ve always been a species of Optimist. How else could I have survived the stuff written above, the knives, guns, fists, wrecks and the treachery that ended my  . . . .  Frieda A”H in her last years always (firmly) told me to go, go photograph. Some just hope to see and shoot very, very rare butterflies. Me? I expect that to happen at every turn of the trail.

People Plan . . . & G-d Laughs [at their Plan].

Jeff

Monkey Pea and Me?

Monkey Pea wildflower photographed by Jeff Zablow at Harris Neck State Park, GA

I’ve seen Monkey Pea plants occasionally these 5 years I’ve scoured Georgia for butterflies. This plant here introduced itself to me in Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge on the Georgia coast. I set out to find butterflies, but when a wildflower glows, I often stop and shoot it.

We’re now 5 full months in our home in North Macon, Georgia, squarely located in the Georgia Piedmont. As plants appear in our sizable backyard, we are charmed by some, puzzled by others, and displeased when alien plants show up. Just days ago, a newbie chose to flourish. It looked promising, so I photographed it, and sent an image along to my fav authority, Ellen. After staking one up, and tieing it to the stake, back came the response, our possible new star of the garden was not what we wanted at all, the non-native Chamberbitter!

Our good news (??) is we now have Monkey Pea, and we throw out to y’all, are we in luck? Is Monkey Pea a boon or a bust. Does it boost butterfly traffic, and does it behave itself? Is it native?

Jeff

Barred Yellow Playing

Barred Yellow butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Harris Neck State Park, GA

We were having a wonderful 5 days at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge in coastal Georgia. So many butterflies, ‘gators, egrets, storks, rails, hawks, bees, wasps, beetles . . . and that never to be forgotten morning when on the Woody Pond trail, just 4 feet from the pond edge, SUDDENLY, without warning, an alligator, sounding like it was 20 feet in length, ROARED!! Immediately, a chorus of ‘gators all roared together. I will not ever forget that, as if I entered a Brooklyn alleyway and came face to face with . . . .

I spotted this little yellow butterfly flying to and fro in the low grasses, and I spent many minutes pursuing this Barred Yellow (Eurema daira) butterfly. Up and down I went, as it descended, then flew upon my approach. Hide and seek it was, this being my best capture of the lot. See the yellow showing on it left forewing?

Me, at this stage in life, playing Hide ‘n Seek? Funny, no?

Jeff