Red Banded Red Banner Day

Red-Banded Hairstreak butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

Yesterday it was that heroic Monarch that came to my Georgia garden. Imagine the rush for me, my garden, mostly planted with Georgia natives themselves hostplants for butterflies, is just beginning its 2nd year. She flew in, and spent more than one hour selecting milkweeds to deposit her eggs. When she had to couple will remain unknown.

Today, my eyes began their butterfly search work, when they spotted a tiny form flitting from one tiny yard bloom to the next. It didn’t fly like a diminutive moth, and when I approached, what did I see? It was a very tiny Red-Banded Hairstreak. Daddah! Its red band was not as showy as the one you see here, but today’s Red-Banded was fresh and not birdstruck.

Glassberg has them appearing “early spring.” That sure applies to the Red-Banded I saw today, April 3rd.

Another Red Banner day for my new Georgia garden, gifting me again with sweet butterflies months ahead of when I might have seen them 700 miles north, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The food in Georgia supermarkets is 27% cheaper. The clerks in local Post Offices greet you with a smile . . . and butterflies charm you, from February to late November. Just sayin.’

Jeff

Daddah Da Da Dah Da!

Earring Series - Blackswallowtail butterflies coupled, photographed by Jeff Zablow at

A better image of the pair, with the female’s dorsal side in view

Can’t sound the trumpets. for I have no trumpets. But these last days have produced Big News, news neglected by Reuters, the AP, Washington Post and the Atlanta Journal-Consitution.

The news is potentially very good news. In Eatonton, Georgia, there is that gem of a Habitat that I’ve posted about. Visited it 9 times in these last three years, each visit a 688 miles drive from Pittsburgh. Pennsylvania. For our international followers, this Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat is in the Deep South, east of the city of Atlanta, and 2 hours west from the Atlantic coast and beautiful Savannah.

Why did I go there so many times? A hard-working visionary, Virgina C Linch, with sweat, tears and a little bit of blood, prodded several volunteers to work with her to create a butterfly oasis in the center of a small city, Eatonton. They plowed, dug and hauled in topsoil and compost, and converted a brownfield ( at one time an aluminum factory and employee housing ) into butterfly . . . well, heaven. 90% of the 29,715 plants and trees set in there were native, most chosen because they were butterfly magnets, hostplants for butterfly caterpillars.

It worked. It flourished. On any given morning, I would ID 20 or more different species of butterflies on the wing there. These Eastern Black Swallowtail  butterflies were there in 2016. Do they not challenge your beauty gauge indicator?

So . . . just a few weeks ago, the city of Eatonton, county seat of Putnam County, announced that the land, leased to the Habitat ( for a nominal fee ) . . . was to be sold to a developer!! Virginia Linch was stunned. She, without any complaint, had logged 256,881 hours of work in it, spent small  bundles of her own money, smiled heartily when folks made contributions for plants and material, and went there every day after work, something that is hard for us to get our head around. Finish work, and then go spend hours in the heat, weeding, watering, planting. Who today commands such fortitude?

A good number of folks let there voices be heard! What? Scuttle this beautiful site, deprive our kids of this experience? Destroy perhaps the 2nd best location in the US to see a wide variety of butterflies? Created a mini-quake in Eatonton, and got certain anonymous folks really riled up.

A meeting was called. People spoke to the Eatonton City Council. The Council made an offer. The City will move it to a permanent location, provide personnel and equipment to do so, enable the move to be after the hot summer weather, provide city water to the site, provide bathrooms on site and more.

Virginia took several days to think, prayed much, and then called a meeting of her stalwarts. Her decision ( I told her that she could easily pack her pruning shears and never look back ) . . . . . . . . . .She would accept the Eatonton offer!!!!!! Yay!!!!!!!

Imagine in a few years, the 1st Annual Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch Convention? Will you be there? Will Robert Michael Pyle be the Keynote speaker at the seminars that surely will be part of this gala 3-4 day event???

Don’t you love a good end to a worthy story?

Jeff