White Spotted Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly Sipping Thistle Nectar

Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly on a Thistle Flowerhead photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

The privilege of standing there, and enjoying this is very satisfying. This Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly is fully engaged in sipping the rich nectar of this Thistle flowerhead. Some years ago, I asked a professor emeritus of the sugars that might be present in this nectar. I don’t recall that his answer included the names of those sugars. Sugars, proteins and the occasional tiny insect that are taken up with the nectar must provide a fine nutritional mix here, for this Spicebush Swallowtail is resplendent, with its jet black, handsome coral spots, blue blazes, white spots on head, thorax and abdomen and that very healthy looking right complex eye.

Raccoon Creek State Park’s Doak Meadow, southwestern Pennsylvania. Just an 8-hour drive from New York, New York.

Jeff

Learning, 24/7

Great Spangle Fritillary Butterfly on Coneflower photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie Reserve, Ohio

I’m now a seasoned guy, with rich life experience. The deep beauty of that is that I am always learning, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This image so reminds me of that.

I’ve been digging holes in my gardens for decades, planting back then cultivars, and planting now native Georgia plants. I never invested much time with where did my new plants originate. I used to get my Pittsburgh natives from Sylvan Nursery in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I didn’t ask them of the Coneflowers they cultivate and sold. I did find it puzzling, where do Coneflowers grow?

In 2016, I met Angela, Barbara Ann and Dave in Adams County, Ohio, almost a stone’s throw from the Kentucky. border. At Lynx Prairie Reserve, there they were . . . Coneflowers. I was short of stunned to see them, and to resolve one question. Coneflower is native to the USA, and resplendent in Ohio.

Our Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly is enjoying the rich nectar of the Coneflower head. Days later, Goldfinch birds will fly in and strip all the seeds from the Coneflower.

Yes, Ma’am, I continue learning, 24/7.

Jeff