Giants Delight!

Giant swallowtail butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

Our 800 Georgia Natives Garden in our new home is just now in its 3rd month. It excites us daily, with amazing butterflies flying in. On Saturday, a Giant Swallowtail butterfly appeared, and she searched our trees, bushes and perrenials until she found the Hercules Club young tree that we set in one week before, A larger than usual potted Hercules Club, we were overjoyed when it looked healthy days after we planted it (we made sure to add lots of sand to the mix).

Saturday’s Giant remained at the hostplant of Giants for some 8 or 9 minutes, setting eggs here and there. When we brought the Hercules Club home from Jim & Debi’s Nearly Native Nursery (Fayetteville, Georgia) it already had eggs on it. With the set of new eggs, we felt like expectant grandparents.

When a Giant flies in, its stop what you’re doing and gaze. When you arrive at the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat (Eatonton, Georgia) early, very early, and find this huge Giant male warming its wings in the first warming rays of the morning sun . . . How can I fully share the JOY?

Jeff

Gulfs . . . No. 1 Or # 2 In The Southeast

Gulf fritillary butterfly sipping nectar on thistle, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Wildlife Management Area, Kathleen, GA

These 4 years shooting butterflies in Georgia have been a joy. So many butterflies, they flying in rich, verdant habitat, from Cloudland Canyon to Jekyll Island. Best of all there are so many of them.

Used to be that I’d struggle to find butterflies in southwestern Pennsylvania. That made finding a fresh butterfly a very exciting experience. In Georgia, the fraction of fresh, beautiful butterflies is so much higher.

Which southern butterflies are most numerous Jeff? Gulf Fritillary Butterflies and Cloudless Sulphur butterflies, so says my hundreds of hours in the field.

Do you get glazed over when you have seen dozens of Gulf fritillaries in a single morning? Nope. Huh? I am forever searching for fresh Gulf Frits, and that accomplished, I want to capture an image of the sunlight reflecting from the dazzling ventral white spots. Not easy to get. Not easy.

Here our Gulf Frit’s lower wing spots are 100% brightened by the morning sun, and the thistle flowers dazzle too. Oakey Woods Wildlife Management Area, guided by Mike.

Jeff

Caron 3

Melitaea Phoebe butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mishmarot, Israel

Late to the party? Caron, on being asked to share her 5 favorite images, did, quickly. She just as quickly asked me to share my 5 favorite images. Beware what you ask for!

Now that I’ve shared Jeff’s Earrings and that Northern Pearly-Eye butterfly, I’m ready Caron, with this, my 3rd inclusion in the Caron series of favorites. I’ve begun to see that my favs are heavily influenced by beauty, and by the fortuitous circumstance at the time.

This shot was not taken in Wisconsin, or Pennsylvania or Georgia or Nevada. It was taken about 1 hour north of Tel Aviv, in the meadow that separates Mishmarot from its orange, mango, grapefruit and lemon groves. Israel.

My daughter and her 2 little boys live there. She ended up preferring village life over her Ernest & Young job (Tel Aviv) or her Washington, DC job (SEC CPA). I was visiting, and that morning got up very early, to make sure that I got out to those meadows early, very early.

I love getting to habitat early, to maybe, possibly find butterflies that have just left their night perches, and are on low hanging leaves, warming up in the morning sun. There, many skittish butterflies will tolerate a close approach, as they enjoy the warmth of the Wisconsin or Middle East sun’s ray.

I saw this Melitaea Phoebe telona enjoying his sun bath, and well, he was handsome, very. I made a very low, slow robotic approach. He did not move. You know the rest, I shot, shot, shot, shot . . . I don’t manipulate my images, and I have liked this from the first.

Jeff

Northern Pearly-Eye Butterfly

Northern Pearly-Eye Butterfly

It rained the last night and the morning sun just rose a short while ago. Perfect conditions for our Northern Pearly-Eye Butterfly, basking in those warm rays of the sun. They prefer it when it is moist and that’s why you usually find them close to moving water. We discussed in an earlier post that this is one of the few species that is active on moist, overcast days.

Enodia anthedon prefers wooded habitat, so we see that this is one that will be an infrequent addition to your image inventory. It takes lots of get-up-and-go to go out with a camera on a moist, overcast morning and then spend appreciable time in wooded habitat that are filled with lots of biting critters and the rarely seen Northern Pearly-Eye. This is a butterfly which flees like a lightning bolt when it sees, hears or smells you.

So, this image is appreciated.

Our earlier post of this species likens it to Secret Service operatives. We have once again reminded you why this is so true. It never seems to nectar at wildflowers. What does it subsist on? Flowing sap, scat and the minerals taken up from mud.

Jeffrey

Gray Hairstreak Butterfly

Gray Hairstreak Butterfly at Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh

It’s early in the morning and our Gray Hairstreak is resting and warming herself in the morning sun. Her hindwing spots are a dazzling red.

This dorsal image of Strymon melinus features stunning rich-red spots at the trailing ends of her hindwings. Just as striking is the red spot on her head.

Found perched on shrubs and other plants of moderate height, gray hairstreaks are solitary butterflies, rarely seen with other grays.

Often seen nectaring, they are among the most cooperative butterflies, preening for the camera lens and found along trail edges.

No confusion here, the gray hairstreak is gray on both dorsal and ventral wing surfaces.

Soon, very soon.

Jeffrey