A Rich Gray

Gray Hairstreak Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Habitat, Eatonton, Georgia

Working the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia, I’m mostly keeping my eyes peeled for ‘fresh.’ It’s much like my careful, not rushed time spent in Giant Eagle or Publix produce sections. I look long and hard for fresh bananas, fresh cantaloupes (well marked netting, that dark green scar and no bruise ), corn in season, with the stem-tip light color (picked that morning) and oranges a deep color and free of bruises and dents. Maybe I should share my desired watermelon, that secret info the result of many conversations with farm owners at their farm-side produce stands. Good-looking shape, rich green netting and most important of all, a fine patch of sweet yellow color on the underside.

‘Fresh’ at the BBHabitat usually means seeking tiger swallowtail butterflies, pipevine swallowtails, monarchs, giant swallowtails, cloudless sulphur, gulf fritillaries, the rarely seen variegated fritillaries, hackberry emperors, longtail skippers, spicebush swallowtails, red-banded hairstreaks, zebra heliconians and the less often seen zebra swallowtails . . . I always want to capture each of these when they are spectacular, ‘fresh’ yes, and particularly good looking.

Seeing this especially handsome Gray hairstreak butterfly was a surprise, for they just don’t show themselves here much. A rich, very rich gray, whose orange spot rates a long satisfying look, for a guy who eats a fresh (and now you know carefully selected) orange every morning for breakfast.

Jeff

Fiery Skipper Butterfly Feeds on Bushy Aster Nectar

Skipper Butterfly at Raccoon Creek State Park

Our Fiery Skipper is feeding on a morning meal of Bushy Aster (Aster dumosis) nectar. Good, because no approach would be successful if he were not 100% focused upon this sweet cocktail.

Here we go again. Identifying Grass skippers is not easy to do. His show of a toothed brown inner edge forewing margin is the significant indicator of a Fiery skipper identification.

Hylephila phyleus are numerous in fields and along open trails. As noted, they seek nectaring flowers and that increases the likelihood that we will see them from May through August.

This 1st week in June is such a wonderful time to be out seeking butterflies. So many species are present it tantalizes! Knowing that a new species might make its first appearance of the year that very day is also very energizing.

Raccoon Creek State Park was a sylvan oasis that June 7th morning. Saw one other person in those 3.5 hours. Saw dozens of winged beauties. Good.

We’ll be presenting our wingedbeauty images at Raccoon Creek State Park’s Wildflower Reserve facility on August 12th. Our 1 hour presentation/talk will be followed by a 1 hour butterfly walk in their pristine meadows. Pack a lunch, take a swim in their lovely lake and then feast again on our fare of exquisite winged beauties. 1 P.M. to 3 P.M. Before or after, visit Janoski’s Farmstand for their own fresh produce. About 2 miles down the road (Rte. 30) from the Wildflower Reserve parking lot. Yummy variety of picked that morning greens, melons and corn.

Jeffrey