Scour Or Fly? Tropical Leafwing Butterflies

Tropical Leafwing Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

We flew some 1,600 miles from Atlanta to San Jose, Texas. From there to Alamo, Texas, where we stayed for 6 days. Did we see lots of butterflies? Yes. Did I see butterflies I’d never seen before? Yep, dozens of new ones? Among them, this Tropical Leafwing butterfly.

Georgia has a different Leafwing, the Goatweed Leafwing. I’ve yet to see one here in Georgia. I’ve seen one once where I was so startled to see it, that I neglected to Duh!, take pictures of it, in that 1.7 seconds that I had the opportunity to shoot. I also saw one in Mississippi, that time I did think it was a leaf, growing out of the slender tree trunk it was seemingly connected to. Once again stunned to see what I realized I was seeing, I failed to take a photograph.

To the question. Should I fly around the USA, seeking such as Leafwings, or should I scour my own state, Georgia, for butterflies that I’ve failed to yet share with you?


Giants Evoke

Giant butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Pigeon Mountain, GA

I booked a cabin in Trenton, Georgia, up there in the northwestern corner of the state. Early July 2018. Diana Fritillary butterflies are often seen in the Georgia mountains, and I really wanted to see my first Diana (“Oh stay be me, Diana”). The cabin owners were very helpful, and when they heard that I was there to find and photograph butterflies, they shared that they had a friend who is a local backwoods expert.

David grew up in that corner of Georgia, and knows it well. He led me to Pigeon Mountain, assuring me that the trail up opened to 2 promising meadows. Dianas look to spend their time in meadows on mid-sized mountains.

The upper meadow was just perfect, with an abundance of wildlfowers in bloom. The possibility of seeing a Diana was so real.

Well, the possibility was real, but I never saw a Diana. I did see lots of butterflies, and especially alot of very large, very fresh Giant Swallowtail butterflies.

Giant swallowtails fly gracefully, their almost lazy wing beats just mesmerize. Seeing 4 or 5 beauties together, at the edge of the treeline, was just nearly unforgettable.

This big stunner took a break on a large leaf, and I shot away. It’s rich black, yellow and tease of red and blue sing to your eyes. Giants evoke a menu of thoughts, mostly of how Good is really there for us to see, and to confirm the Meaning of our existence. It also helps to recall our strong connection to the A-mighty.