Don’t You Love It When . . .

Banded Hairstreak Butterfly at Raccoon Creek State Park

This tiny Hairstreak butterfly charmed me when I discovered it on a trailside leaf in Doak meadow in Raccoon Creek State Park, southwest Pennsylvania. I knew it was a new one for me, a species of Hairstreak I’d never seen before. Just as good was its calm, unbothered response to my patented robotic approach. When you shoot Macro- you must be close, very close. Closer yet when your subject Hairstreak is as tiny as this.

Glassberg’s Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America revealed this beaut to be a Hickory Hairstreak (Satyrium caryaevorum) and cites it as “R-U” (Rare to Uncommon).

Our new home has 5 hickory trees in front, one of them the much beloved Pignut Hickory. Ach! Hickory Hairstreaks generally fly no further south than north Georgia, so we’ll probably never find one flying at our front door!

Don’t you love it when you’re on that trail, and you see a butterfly you’ve . . . never seen before! With our move to a new home now done (‘cept for lots of unpacking/planting) the coming weeks just energize me, Social Distancing assured, y’all.


Why Eatonton Georgia?

"Billy' Butterfly Mobile photographed by Jeff Zablow at Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat I, Eatonton, GA

I’m now a Georgian, though each time I’m asked why I moved to Georgia, and especially why I relocated to the Georgia Piedmont (central Georgia, east of Atlanta), I again and again realize that native Georgians don’t fully appreciate the riches that Georgia provides, time and time again.

Steadfast followers of winged recall that those several years of driving down to Virginia’s Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton charmed me, much. When I had to decide where to go, after Pittsburgh, the answer was clear, to this sweet little city, Eatonton, with the best wild butterfly habitat east of the Mississippi River.

Eatonton made Virginia and her loyal supporters move the habitat to a bigger, different locale in town. This now begins year two there, having been forced to dig up and replant several hundred native shrubs, perennials, grasses and trees. This they did with nary a complaint, helped by folks from here and there.

I came here for their butterflies. For the genuine friendliness of folks here in Georgia, for the Big savings in almost everything (Krogers is some 20%-25% cheaper than Pittsburgh’s Giant Eagle, real estate taxes are much cheaper, car care is much cheaper (and high quality service), gasoline is 15% cheaper, . . . )

Why Eatonton? This butterfly mobile sings out the answer to this query. Folks care here, they support our country and they Honor those who did so with their sweat, passion and lives. Lieutenant Colonel Billy Maltbie Jr. is the son of a Big Supporter of the Briar Patch Habitat, and this American Hero died, much too young, while serving in South Korea. A friend of the Habitat fabricated these butterfly silhouettes, and Virginia hung this one for this not forgotten Patriot, whose ancestor fought in our own Revolutionary War, to oust the Brits and create the United States of America.

Jeff, Happy as a Duck, in beautiful Eatonton, where service to country is respected and supported.