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???


Happy Pup and Happy Jeff

Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Facebook Feature

Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Facebook Feature

Whenever I post images of Petra, traffic here just zooms up. When I saw this one, boy did Virginia Linch score a homerun/touchdown/swisssh bucket!

Petra loves the Briar Patch. No doubt she remembered her 2015 visit. She got the royal treatment from Virginia, Stanley, and the tireless volunteers from Ritz Carlton (there to help assemble a huge canopy ahead of the Earth Day 2016 festivities).

Me? I love the Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch. Eatonton, Georgia, the county seat of Putnam County, where Br’er Rabbit and Br’er Fox became ink to paper. My mother read me those stories when I was a child in Brooklyn, New York. Lookee here! I am in the same town, and just 200 feet from the Br’er Rabbit museum, whose docent, Georgia Smith gave me the tour of a lifetime last year.

When Virginia shared this look, there I am, the photographer as subject, with his fantastic pup, in this wondrous place, with its special people, just a place that gives, and doesn’t ask for a thing, but your enthusiasm. Southern butterflies, as gracious and beautiful as you’d expect.


Parnassius Mnemosyne Syra (Protected)

Levantine marbled white butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Hermon, Israel

Found only on Mt. Hermon in Israel, this butterfly is also known as the Clouded Apollo. Regular visitors to know that 2013 brought War! to the north face of Mt. Hermon, with mortars, ordinance and RPG’s hurtling this way and that down there and sometimes over Mt. Hermon and into Israel.

Sure, it is always hoped and expected that we will soon capture images that surpass the ones that we have been lucky enough to already own. So, I waited. This image was taken in June 2008. Wow! Butterflies on the peak of Mt. Hermon were numerous, exotic, and like Israeli fighter jets, knew only one speed when approached, Zoooommmmm. The challenge was real. The wait for new images up there on the peak was frustrated when I attempted to return in June of this year. Uh uh! Only IDF (Israeli Defense Forces). War below!

This image now has increased worth. A protected species found only on the 7,000 feet above sea level Mt. Hermon, and that now a closed military reservation. They nectar fiercely, like my black russian pup, Petra does, as if the ‘food’ will be snatched away imminently. After this butterfly exhausted the sugary nectar of this ground hugging flower, Zoooommmmm! Gone!