Southern Dreamers: Miss P and Me

Georgia Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch habitat friend, Jeff Zablow and his happy sidekick, Petra taking a moment to enjoy the day. (photo by Virginia C. Linch)

Georgia Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch habitat friend, Jeff Zablow and his happy sidekick, Petra taking a moment to enjoy the day. (photo by Virginia C. Linch)

Petra and Jeff, happily enjoying the wonder that is the Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat, right in the center of Eatonton, Georgia. April 2016, watching the volunteer crew from the nearby Ritz Carlton installing new features to this amazing butterfly destination, smack in the middle of this welcoming Georgia town. Just 1.25 hours east of Atlanta, Eatonton is the home of the writer of the Br’er Rabbit childrens’ books, that my mother read to me when I was a tyke, sitting on her lap in faraway Brooklyn, New York.

We are all smiles because this is our 2nd year, visiting the Briar Patch Habitat. We know that Eatonton and nearby Lake Oconee are for real, welcoming, friendly, genuine, law-abiding and aiming to please. Sounds a bit stuffed with feathers? Sorry, this boy and his dog have been around the block so to speak, and the Putnam County locale is all of the above.

Virginia and her volunteers created this butterfly destination from an abandoned, hardscrabble brownfield. It is now extensive beds of native wildflowers, chosen because they do it! They are 1) butterfly hostplants, nourishing fast-developing caterpillars 2) flowering plants that serve as nectar pumps for hungry butterflies, juicing them up with the requisite sugars & proteins that they need to thrive, fly and look shmeksy! to meet and greet new partners and 3) small and tall trees that offer blooms, shade, escape from predators and night roosts. On a sunny morning, hundreds, yes hundreds! of butterflies arrive . . . and that continues off and on through the day.

Petra (Miss P sometimes) my black Russian, loves this place, and did well (very well) on the 692 mile drive down and back. Truth be told, she loves Georgia.

Want to learn more about this unique destination? Virginia will be very happy to hear from you at Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch on Facebook.


Long-Tailed Blue Butterfly on a Shrub Plant, not far from Wadi David in Israel’s Ein Gedi

Long-Tailed Blue Butterfly photographed by Jeffery Zablow

Most Lampides Boeticus are inactive at this time, but December 3rd in this oasis is a very suitable habitat for a butterfly species that flies from February through November in most of Israel. This Long-Tailed Blue Butterfly is nectaring on shrub plants, not far from Wadi David in Ein Gedi.

In a now familiar scenario, I approach and he flees. I approach again and he flees. With the last approach, the butterfly is goooone. Three days spent in this unique destination did produce satisfactory photographic work for me.

The Long-Tailed Blue Butterflies that I have seen throughout Israel evidence little if any wing damage caused by predation. Do some enjoy Luck! in life? Hmm? Though they flee from my approach, you would think that formidable predators would have already enjoyed this tasty morsel. Or is this butterfly a tasty morsel? Is it bitter tasting, because of it’s diet? Unlikely, when the Lampides Boeticus host plants are a variety of legumes.

Just yesterday I read of a new body of research, suggesting that insects have not, notice, not, evolved to thwart bird predation. For how long have we been lectured to that the need to evade birds was the great force behind prey evolution? These biologists have extensively tested this theory, and found that there is a much more likely vector of insect (butterfly) adaptive evolution. Spiders. Their research has left little doubt for them, that butterflies and others have changed to improve survivability in a natural world of countless species of spiders. Now that’s something to consider.

I invite you to have a look at our other posts of Long-Tailed Blue butterflies?