American Zebras

Zebra heliconian butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Kathleen GA

These 4 years visiting Georgia? So many beautiful and new to me butterflies. Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island and Pittsburgh sure had beautiful butterflies. Georgia had them and some, opening my eyes to a whole slew of new Leps.

These Zebra Heliconians that Mike led me to, in Kathleen, Georgia, ignited a ‘fireworks’ of thoughts that day, when I first met them. First among those recollections were the dancers of the American Ballet, that year shortly after the Ballet opened in Lincoln Center, NYNY. We watched them dance, effortless, lighter than air grace, elegance plus. Zebra heliconians fly with that same beauty. You’ve never seen one? Oh, you must, for I do not exaggerate here. Seen one in a ‘cage’ in a local museum or arboretum? I regret to offer that that is just not the same.

When I was a kid in bricks and mortar/asphalt Brooklyn, New York, relief from the urban stale life was to watch movies (before video) of zebras on the African veldt. Those Zebra Swallowtails in Mason Neck State Park, Virginia and Zebra heliconians like this one have forever replaced the African zebras in my mind. You say ‘zebras’ now, and this is what I bring up!

Jeff

Absolute Beauty in the Briar Patch

Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly (Black form), photographed by Jeff Zablow at Butterflies & Blooms in the Habitat, Georgia

The beautiful butterflies descended onto the Tithonia (Mexican sunflower) blooms, reminding me of memorable celebrities appearing at awards ceremonies, fully adorned in fashionable gowns. With hair placed just right, their shoes, jewelry and accessories all contributed to near visual perfection. This time though, we were not in Hollywood, New York or Nashville. I was working those Tithonia blossoms, walking with eyes pealed for extraordinarily fresh winged beauties.

Many of the flyers were worn, would not cooperate. They did not pause to nectar, or sadly, were seriously birdstruck. Patience dictated that I not depress the shutter button on my Canon camera. Film is expen$ive and keepers require all the goods: good positioning, good light, good angle to the lens, good luck, good timing and  . . .

Then she descended onto a nearby bloom. Oh, there was so much to like: Her blues were gushing. Those swallow tails were whole. Her blacks were solid and dense and orange spots were Florida orange. All of her white chevrons, spots and streaks were straight from make-up. This Tiger swallowtail dark form female was more than Cartiers, Tiffany, Van Cleef & Arpels, all in one.

Absolute beauty in the Butterflies & Blooms in the Brair Patch, now pied pipering butterflies to the center of Eatonton, Georgia for what, Virginia, the 4th year now?

Jeff

Red Marks on Each Forewing Indicate that Our Subject is a Female Red-Spotted Purple Butterfly

Red-spotted purple butterfly photographed at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Iridescence. Now there’s a word that we don’t run across to often. It’s the calling card of the Red-Spotted Purple butterfly. This is our 3rd post of one of them.

Those red marks on each forewing indicate that our subject is a female. Females are larger than males. Males are more usually seen sipping minerals from moist trails.

This trail, known as Nichol Road trail traverses Raccoon Creek State Park. A short distance from a small stream, a 15 minute pause here, say at about 10 A.M. on a sunny July morning will produce several species of beautiful butterflies. Try it!

Limenitis arthemis astyanax caterpillars overwinter. This means that at this very moment they are . . .

Jeffrey