What’s This? What’s That?

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

Driving down Interstate 75 from Georgia to the Florida Panhandle, I was psyched. Florida! I was finally headed to Florida. Trail maps from NABA’s magazine article, and retrieved from Big Bend Wildlife Management Area’s website. Anticipation: Very high. Energy Level: Super-charged. Film? Lots. Hotel? Hampton Inn in  Perry, Florida. Guide/Volunteer Expert? Nope – Alone again, naturally. On a Mission to capture all new images? Absolutely.

Those 4 days at the Spring Unit in Big Bend were all that I had hoped they would be. That forecast of rain, changed to Sunny. Yay!! Sunny and new butterflies and wildflowers everywhere in this coastal swamp.

Now, all new everything is challenging. Take for example this large bloom on the “Old Grade” trail. It was very handsome, and each and every time I approached one of these plants, 2 or 3 skippers would flee. Come minutes later, skippers back at the blooms, and then, gone! Robotic, ultra slow approaches and I was able to shoot these tiny skippers embedded into these large blooms.

What is this wildflower, growing along the edge of the trail, most about 15 feet from the swamp edge? Barbara supplied the ID. It is Pineland hibiscus (Hibiscus aculeatus). What is this tiny skipper? Not sure there either. Who is the photographer? One very Happy Jeff Zablow, Who loved Eatonton and loved Big Bend.