Two Very Busy Florida Blossoms

Wildflower photographed by Jeff Zablow in Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, Florida's Panhandle

As I watched, skipper butterflies came and went, each spending considerable amount of time sipping nectar. There were just 2 blossoms left on this plant. That did not matter to their skipper butterfly visitors. It was mid-morning on the Old Grade Trail at Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, in the Florida Panhandle. Northern Florida, very, very close to the Gulf of Mexico.

More and more I notice the botany of my destinations. Flowers become more beautiful to me. Flowers new to me are wondrous: How could I have lived so long without having met you, Seashore mallow?

Morning sun lighting them, a tiny skipper perched in the lower flower. There are no other human within miles, sun, no wind, no rush, no concerns, except . . . Gee! I’ll soon have to leave this OMG! place, maybe never to see it again.


Doak Field in Raccoon Creek State Park is a Treasure Trove for Monarch Butterflies

Monarch butterfly photographed at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Our subject is intaking nectar from Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa). Mid-morning on July 27th, she is all business and so pre-occupied that we can approach within 12 inches.

Her deep orange is so rich that we are in a swoon. Fighting the milkweed family inner clock, she’s getting the last nectar before these flowers end their daily nectar production.

This 90 acre field in Raccoon Creek State Park is a treasure trove offering protected habitat that elsewhere is increasingly being lost.

So, if it’s July 27th, will she make the trip down south in early September, or will her progeny fly south?

Will they fly to Georgia, Alabama or Mississippi? Where will they begin their flight over the Gulf of Mexico?

I’m still awed by these questions . . . as I was as a grade schooler in Brooklyn, New York. How do they?

Danaus plexippus continues to ground us a bit, reminding us that we do not know everything!

Would butterfly heavyweights please weigh in here.