The Abundant Sulphur

Cloudless Sulphur butterfly on tithonia photographed by Jeff Zablow at the Butterflies and Blooms Habitat in Eatonton, GA

Orange Sulphur butterflies were ‘very common’ those 27 years that I lived in Pittsburgh. That meaning that my well-stocked garden might have a many as 4 or 5 Orange Sulphurs visit on a sunny summer day. They’d be seen on the zinnias, salvias and hosta in bloom.

In summer 2017 I relocated to Georgia Piedmont region. I’d visited Eatonton and its environs in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and I already knew that the Deep South had lots and lots of butterflies. My main destination was Virginia’s Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat, it in the center of Eatonton. When you spent mornings there, as I did, you’d enjoy 20 or more butterflies like this one, a male Cloudless Sulphur, all busily flying from flower to flower. This one is enjoying the sugary nectar of a Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia) bloom.

As Virginia says, plant their hostplants and they will come. I did just that, in the closing months of 2017, last year, and now again in young 2019.

What happened last year, 2018? Last year I had, on any given sunny day, 10 or 15 Cloudless Sulphurs in my garden, at any given time. What’s that word, Ubiquitous? These large yellows are almost everywhere, from 8:15 A.M. to 8 P.M, nectaring, flying, resting, mating. They have several flights each year, and all this without any Senna (their hostplant) yet, in my garden!

You almost have to work to remember that just because they are common, does not take away from the acknowledgment of their own unique Beauty.

It reminds Boy Brooklyn of those many years when I worked in Midtown Manhattan, New York. The morning, lunchtime and late afternoon sidewalks were so packed with people, that you soon no longer notice individuals, you just saw masses of people. That, always struck me as unhealthy for the psyche, and I longed to correct that, for me and my Happiness. I finally did, and here I am, mobbed by Cloudless Sulphurs, and enjoying it.

Jeff

Orange Delight

Coral Hairstreak Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Fort Indiantown Gap Military Reservation, PA

What a way to make a day! Come upon a Coral Hairstreak butterfly nectaring at Butterflyweed. Las Vegas won’t take the bet on this one, for even they know that this scene is a long shot. How often do you find both the Coral and the Milkweed that is Butterflyweed, in full mettle, and at the same time. There are years when you can’t find Corals, they just don’t support a flight that year.

We were at Ft. Indiantown Gap to see one of the rarest butterflies east of the Mississippi River, the Regal Fritillary butterfly. Not only did I see squads of Regals, but those rich meadows in central Pennsylvania boasted much much more: Corals, Monarchs, Pipevines, Eastern Black Swallowtails, and Great Spangle Fritillaries.

Some days ago, I posted here to provide a heads-up to anyone who wanted to visit the Ft. Indiantown Gap Military Reserve this June 2018. They usually open the base to those who want to enjoy seeing the Regals.

Seeing Regals and such Corals? Excellent therapy!

Jeff

American Painted Lady Butterfly

 American painted lady butterfly photographed at Black Water National Wildlife Refuge, MD

Asters are blooms that open late in the growing season. That’s good for American Painted Ladys and many other butterfly species. Why? Because almost all of the other flowers are gone by then. Asters and goldenrod flowers become the food suppliers.

They are closely related to a similar species, Painted Ladys.

Ladys fly at top speed when approached. They can be approached when they are nectaring, but you’ve got to do so carefully, for they are very wary.

Vanessa virginiensis here in the eastern U.S. overwinter. That means that adults are now snugly hidden away under tree bark, in holes in trees and probably under your wooden back deck! Other will migrate north in April and May.

Jeffrey