Whispering Sweet Goodbyes . . . Dreaming Of 2020 Hellos!

Male EasternTiger Swallowtail Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Cloudland Canyon State Park, GA

He patiently went from Liatris bloom to Liatris bloom, giving us enough time to carefully shoot his youthful handsomeness against the contrast of lush, robust Liatris flowers.

Cloudland Canyon State Park in northern Georgia. I had asked a very knowledgeable friend for a great destination, and might, just might introduce us to our first Diana Fritillary butterflies. Nope, we did not find Dianas, but Cloudland Canyon was a fine butterfly site, and the canyon itself? Spectacular and Way Bigger than I could have imagined., Pigeon Mountain’s 2 mountain meadows? They too were wonderful, and their giant Giant Swallowtail butterflies? Terrific!

We’re now approaching mid-September here in middle Georgia, and even decades into seeking butterflies, it’s difficult to reckon that fewer and fewer will be seen, and we slide into October and November. Me complain? Nope, because in my previous home, butterflies were NOT seen once there first week in September ended. Here, in Georgia’s Piedmont, we marvel at butterflies well in middle November.

Even despite how we silently wish butterflies and their legions well, I stop and daydream of the coming February, when we in Georgia will once again do a silent, Whopee! when we once again spot the emerging butterflies of 2020!

This shmeksy! male Eastern Tiger will always gladden our eyes.

Jeff

Beg, Threaten or Cajole, They Bloom And Soon Stop

Large Clump of Butterflyweed photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

This lush set of blooms was met in Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania. Our garden in Eatonton, Georgia now has them. We’ve had good success growing new plants from our own seed.

Without checking the internet, I think that these Butterflyweed milkweeds are native to most states east of the Mississippi River. I found them lush and strong in Lynx Prairie Reserve in southern Ohio and just as beautiful in that 100+ acre meadow at Ft. Indiantown Gap in central Pennsylvania. On them at Lynx Prairie were Edwards Hairstreaks, Coral Hairstreaks, Monarchs, Great Spangled Fritillaries and more. On them at Ft. Indiantown Gap were Regal Fritillaries (Wow!!), Monarchs, Coral Hairstreaks and more.

Search for them too early in June, and you won’t find their flowers in bloom. Search for them too late in July, and again, too late for blooms.

They are super terrific flowers for attracting butterflies, but . . . they only attract butterflies when those flowers are mature, lush and my own experience is that they mostly attract butterflies and moths and wasps from about 9:45 AM to 10:40 AM..

You can beg, cajole or threaten whatever, but that’ll not help. They bloom when they bloom, and when they are ripe and ready, they are easy to spot and fantastic! beacons for butterflies and more. They do occasionally support Monarch caterpillars, but seem to be a milkweed of last resort.

And, they do great in most gardens, preferring sunny, moist spots.

Jeff

Anthocharis Damone Syra in the Galilee

Anthocharis Damones (Protected), photographed by Jeff Zablow on Qedesh trail, Israel

What a coup! A male Anthocharis Damone Syra butterfly, protected because of its scarcity, in the Upper Galilee region of the HolyLand, Israel. I very much wanted to score an image of this richly colored butterfly, and I met them in March 2012 and again in March 2015.

Images shared in field guides often disappoint, for in the printing, color usually loses its real life richness. I’m sitting here with an Israeli field guide for butterflies, and the images of this Anthocharis is not only washed out looking, but it’s an image of a pinned, collected butterfly.

My images are shot with Fuji Velvia slide film, and I do that for, I am told, I’m a purist, and want real-time color. The image here very much approximates the hues of this butterfly that I saw on Kedesh trail, south of Kiryat Shemona, in the uppermost Galilee.

Our next chance to revisit Israel’s Galilee and Golan regions (lush, green and hilly to mountainous = not the arid desert some imagine when they think of Israel) may well be in May or June of 2020.

Hey, did you notice that sharp little purplish bloom in the right of the image?

Jeff