Thoughts On Going Back

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

I learned long ago don’t go back. When your life paths go different ways, don’t go back. Move on to other objectives, for this world provides what. hundreds of millions of them, be they people, pursuits or objectives.

It’s gotten very cool here in central Georgia, and butterflies flew here in the backyard just 2 days ago, Checkered skippers, Cloudywings, Carolina satyrs and others. Looking out this window, I admit that I miss the Monarchs that were here 3 days ago, the Palamedes swallowtail seen in October, the squads of Gulfs all over my natives garden and the exciting singletons including: Pipevinve swallowtails, Spicebush swallowtails, Giant swallowtails, Great purple hairstreak, Variegated fritillary, Long-tailed skippers and dozens of others. This garden that I dreamed of, for what? 25 years or more, has been realized. Dozens of host plants enable to to hope that next year, their 2nd year in, will be Gangbusters!

Why ‘gangbusters?’ When (and if?) my treasured Hackberries, Cedars, Hercules Clubs, Hop trees, Native Black Cherries, Asters, Hibiscuses, Coneflowers, Black willows, Spicebush, Pipevines, Hollies, Milkweeds, Clethra, Pussytoes, Mountain Mints, Sassafras, Tulip Poplars, Crotons, Magnolias . . . Yep, there all in, and if they go through this winter OK, OMG!

Where’s this headed Jeff? Well I scoured our Media Library here on wingedbeauty.com, and I saw images I am proud of, images that I knew are fine, for I knew how difficult it was to capture them, and yes, images like this one of a Georgia Satyr butterfly at Big Bend Wildlife Management Area in the Florida Panhandle. It was late August, and when I got there, sunny, hot and no wind, it was everything that the article in the Spring/Summer 2015 issue of American Butterflies had suggested, loaded with southeastern butterflies.

I was there to expand my bank of good images, and to see new butterflies. Georgia satyrs, “LC” (Locally common) as per Jeff Glassberg in A Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America, were at the top of my list. They were there, and that side tram, 2 or 3 to be found. They were very docile, and allowed approach (Macro-).

I had on a fine coat of Off! so mosquitoes did not bother me. But, the humidity was brutal, and the sweat was overrunning my headband, onto my eyes and my glasses. I remember thinking that this was Nuts! I had travelled those 4 and 1/2 hours down from Eatonton, for just these moments, and now . . .  I could barely see clearly. If only Gunga Din was there with me, handing me fresh, dry glasses every 3 minutes.

That, and the built-in light meter in my Canon film camera was not working properly. I think I remember laughing there, what can happen next, a Burma python or 11′ ‘gator appearing from the swamp, just 10 feet away? I was on my belly, and disregarding my father’s teaching: Keep your guard up, protect your face, hold your ground.

So I share this image of the Georgia with you, knowing that only the really in-to-it haver stayed, this far into this blog post. Are there schools of thought for ‘Going back?’

I am stoked for 2019, my own garden lighting me up, and the strong inner push to get back there in April 2019, when that NABA article written by David Harder, Virginia Craig, Dean Jue and Sally Jue noted that Georgia’s fly once again. Florida Fish and Game took my call and they looked forward to Big Bend being workable soon, after that terrible Hurricane several weeks ago.

If you’ve read this far, I owe you a large lollipop, for sure!

Jeff

It’s likely that this Monarch Butterfly has Mated and Deposited her Eggs on Milkweed Plants

Monarch butterfly photographed at Phipps Conservatory Outdoor Gardens, Pittsburgh, PA

Shouldn’t she have already left Pittsburgh and be in West Virginia or Kentucky? It’s September 22nd and our Danaus plexippus is methodically nectaring on tall verbena flower heads in the Outdoor Gardens of the Phipps Conservatory.

Smart lady. Surrounded by expansive beds of verbena, zinnias, asters and more, she is preparing for the long flight ahead.

How fortunate is she to have little to fear from the animals about that would otherwise prey on such a vulnerable prey. Our recent Monarch butterfly post discusses why she has little to fear and why that is.

So there she is. It is likely that she has mated and already deposited her eggs on carefully chosen Asclepias (milkweed) plants.

She probably arrived safely in Alabama, Mississippi or Louisiana. Which was her destination? I defer to our blog visitors from NABA (North American Butterfly Association) or Xerces Society for their Comments.

Did she, or was it her progeny that crossed to Gulf of Mexico and flew into Mexico? Again, Hmmmm.

What we do know is that she is vivacious!

For me, this opportunity and this image represent serendipity!

Jeffrey

In Maryland, an American Painted Lady Butterfly

 American painted lady butterfly photographed at Black Water National Wildlife Refuge, MD

Asters are blooms that open late in the growing season. That’s good for American Painted Ladys and many other butterfly species. Why? Because almost all of the other flowers are gone by then. Asters and goldenrod flowers become the food suppliers.

They are closely related to a similar species, Painted Ladys.

Ladys fly at top speed when approached. They can be approached when they are nectaring, but you’ve got to do so carefully, for they are very wary.

Vanessa virginiensis here in the eastern U.S. overwinter. That means that adults are now snugly hidden away under tree bark, in holes in trees and probably under your wooden back deck! Other will migrate north in April and May.

Jeffrey