Identifying Bugs ‘n’ Butterflies at the Briar Patch Habitat

Using Georgia Guide James Murdock and Virginia Linch photographed by Jeff Zablow at Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat, GA

You’ve read of my ‘discovery’ of the Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat. Yep. That incredible 2 acres enable me. It enabled me to meet and greet the butterflies of the southeastern USA, right there. Saved me drives to Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Alabama. That because the Briar Patch Habitat’s thousands of hostplants have attracted dozens of different species of butterflies. This 2017 proved that, with the appearance and everyday reappearance of Zebra heliconians!

What can you expect to see on a typical morning there? 20, 25, 30 or more species of butterflies! All aloft in this open, wild Habitat, in, yes, in the town of Eatonton, Georgia. Fresh, active, strikingly beautiful butterflies.

Virginia C Linch launched the Habitat, supported it, planted, mulched, weeded, watered it, promoted it around town and beyond, and, on occasion, defended it, when folks who should have known better, acted in any way that jeopardized this unique jewel in a pretty town, in the welcoming Georgia Piedmont region.

Virginia here is smiling, though you have to know her to know that. She just showed James Murdock the recently published Georgia fold-out photo guide to Georgia butterflies. James, a Georgia state naturalist and writer for local newspapers, paid a visit to the Briar Patch Butterfly Habitat, wanting to know what all the buzz was about! This was June 2017, and I was there, watching him, transfixed as he was, with the air lanes in the Habitat full, full with beautiful sylvan wings aloft!

The Big New News? The City of Eatonton has agreed to move the Habitat to a new, much larger location in Eatonton. Once Virginia and her stalwart band of friends move the thousands of perennials, shrubs and trees, know that Eatonton’s name and fame will spread. 2018 will be good, Very Good for any and all who favor beautiful, gorgeous and fascinating . . . butterflies.

Monarch Butterfly

Monarch butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park

It’s September 27th in Nichol field at Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania. The kids are back in school, 99.9% of us have taken our vacations and  after Labor Day, the swimming beach at the lake is closed.

Danaus Plexxipus has been flying for some weeks now. Blessed with its lode of toxic glycosides, its wings remain whole and powerful. Just days ahead it will continue its migration hundreds and hundreds of miles down to Mississippi or Louisiana. Don’t get me started as to how incredible that is! Our monarch butterflies will navigate without roadmap and without GPS. Explain that to me please? I still get razzed because I am GPS challenged.

This one may have travelled down from Meadville or points north. Milkweed, dogbane, teasel, and butterflyweed flowers are gone. Huge expanses of Goldenrod await to replace their nectar pumps. The Plan is to sustain North America’s beloved Monarch travelers with billions of goldenrod flowers, each one producing the nutrients to feed the Monarchs. They are joined by Painted Ladies and other butterflies passing through on their sylvan wings to West Virginia,  Kentucky, Tennessee and southward.

Goldenrod is not regularly noticed and is little appreciated.  The plant supports America’s Monarchs year after year, and this is a nice tale to tell.

Jeff