Edwards Hairstreak at Lynx Prairie

Edwards Hairstreak photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie Reserve, Ohio

Surrounded by a sea of gentle green, this Edward Hairstreak butterfly is a fine Rx for this January 20th, 2021. Reminder for all that we sit upon a treasure trove here, long known as the United States of America.

I’m near finishing my 4th (5th?) reading of The Travels of William Bartram by William Bartram. Few of you’ve read it. If you want to visualize what Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama and such were like in 1777 or so, this is a book you will love. Now, “love” is a strong Rx, but, if you’ve longed to see what the South looked like before it was ‘dozed, this is your dreamed of read. Bartram was a British botanist, and his telling of the botany, bears, ‘tygers,’ Meleagris and millions of birds in flight is riveting. That and his dozens and dozens pages of his time with the Creeks, Cherokees, Seminoles, Ocmulgee, Chactaw peoples? I loved it. I have often dreamed of walking into their ‘towns’ (Bartram carefully describes their buildings [yes buildings], gardens, orchards, etc.) as they were, and I continue to dream such.

This Edwards image sends me thataway, yearning for a time when the highways, roads lined with stores, tire shops and shopping centers did’t exist. He writes one destination where the entire land, level to more than 7 miles extant, is covered with Cornus florida, the American dogwood tree. I crack my brain thinking that today, that’s all gone, bulldozed into who knows what. That was Florida.

Look how a single image, seen in Adams County, Ohio, a handful of miles from the Kentucky border, can set me near adrift . . . . . . . . . Kudos to Angela.

Jeff

What Happened to Yesterday’s Monarch

Right side view of Monarch butterfly on Tithonia, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat I, Eatonton, GA

Yesterday, we watched a Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) enter and explore our new 800 garden.We’d not seen a Monarch here for weeks, and we both had big Smiles! Our Monarch visitor headed to a purple Coneflower.

Just as it was reaching the Coneflowers, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird sped over, and escorted our sweet Monarch out of the garden, at a rapid speed. Monarch? Left in a hurry!

I’d never seen that before, and it added to our treasure trove of garden anecdotes. Macon, Georgia, 45 minutes south of Atlanta, y’all.

Jeff

Doak Field in Raccoon Creek State Park is a Treasure Trove for Monarch Butterflies

Monarch butterfly photographed at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Our subject is intaking nectar from Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa). Mid-morning on July 27th, she is all business and so pre-occupied that we can approach within 12 inches.

Her deep orange is so rich that we are in a swoon. Fighting the milkweed family inner clock, she’s getting the last nectar before these flowers end their daily nectar production.

This 90 acre field in Raccoon Creek State Park is a treasure trove offering protected habitat that elsewhere is increasingly being lost.

So, if it’s July 27th, will she make the trip down south in early September, or will her progeny fly south?

Will they fly to Georgia, Alabama or Mississippi? Where will they begin their flight over the Gulf of Mexico?

I’m still awed by these questions . . . as I was as a grade schooler in Brooklyn, New York. How do they?

Danaus plexippus continues to ground us a bit, reminding us that we do not know everything!

Would butterfly heavyweights please weigh in here.

Jeffrey