The Menagerie at the Briar Patch

Anole lizard photographed by Jeff Zablow at the Butterflies and Blooms Habitat in Eatonton, GA

Jeff, why do you go back to that Eatonton, Georgia place so many times? Aren’t there so many other places that you could head to? Sounds like this makes a whole lot of sense, No?

Originally, it was that I had few images of southeastern USA butterflies, and I kept alert, looking for an opportunity to find them, and photograph them. The entire South remained a question mark to me. You just can’t drive hundreds of miles, with your Black Russian pup aboard, and have a house fly’s chance of finding a butterfly trove.

Then one day, on Facebook, I noticed mention of the Butterflies & Blooms Habitat in this sweet town in central Georgia, Eatonton. I continued seeing posts of its inception, progress, and achievements (more and more species of butterflies reporting there, and establishing populations there). I hesitantly contacted the founder of this illogical effort (illogical, for who would invest the HuGe effort needed to create a butterfly oasis, without enormous resources??).

Did I get the disinterested response I had grown accustomed to, from folks near and far, from organizations that should have Loved my interest? Uh uh! Virginia Linch practically screamed it across these 694 miles! Come, come, come. I haven’t regretted my 7 visits there, to date, not for a moment.

Never, anywhere, have I enjoyed 29 species of butterflies in a single morning. If Virginia’s plans come to fruition, that number will increase in 2017.

Butterflies and more. You never know what other animals you will see there. This summer I was searching for Monarch’s ovipositing (setting eggs on milkweed plants) and . . . look what I met? An Anole. A little, Pookie! of a lizard. Did not flee, seemed to be taking a brief pause. I looked it in the sweet little eye, did the: Should I ‘waste’ film on this svelte beaut? A no brainer. Another terrific menagerie find in the Briar Patch, in Eatonton, right in the center of town! Who woulda thunk it???