Black Tiger on Buttonbush

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly (Black Form), photographed by Jeff Zablow at Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, GA

August, and the Buttonbush were going strong, at the edge of Pond 2A at Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, in Juliette, Georgia. I’ve become a big fan of this wetland wildflower, and I stationed myself here, to enjoy and shoot what might fly in.

Battlestations! In flew this Shmeksy! female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly. She was not the familiar yellow/black Tiger Swallowtail. She was the less common ‘Black form’ female. I liked her from the start.

She shared large sweet Blue blazes, especially along the trailing edges of her hind wings. Those wings seemed outsize to me, and, she sported good sized orange spots. Though her forewings show that she eclosed days or weeks ago, her ‘tails’ are sizable and remain intact and there is some wear on her forewings, but not enough to diminish her beauty.

Favorites, together, on a near perfect sunny morning, in a very special National Wildlife Refuge in the central Georgia Piedmont. Best of all, I’m there to taste it.


Closed (Bottle) Gentian Wildflower

Closed Gentian Wildflower photographed by Jeff Zablow at Rector, PA

It’s August in Rector, Pennsylvania and I am just several miles away from Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece, Falling Water.  I am about 10 feet from a small pond, and found here this extraordinary wetland wildflower.

Gentiana Andrewsii peeked my curiosity when I feet saw it. Why are these flowers so tightly closed, with a small opening only at the tip of the flower? How does this dark bluish purple flower attract pollinators? Which flying insects have entered into eternal contract with this closed gentian, translated as “You feed me and I’ll pollinate you!”

Truth be told I have not spent hours observing the comings and goings here, but I have seen a number of American bumblebees (Bombus Pennsylvanicus). 

Is this the optimum time to make a personal observation? Over these last 2 years, I have sought to coax out serious responses from those of you out there who are extensively well-backgrounded in this general area. Such responses would benefit all, and advance our goal, to encourage broader interest and attention to the success of butterfly populations here and abroad. For instance, here is this post of closed Gentian. Wouldn’t it be great if we drew input from naturalists and biologists and other -ists who are long familiar with it? We have had much less success with that then my readers would think, even with organizations that I belong to. If I had found dozens of blogs like I wouldn’t have launched it. To my knowledge this is one of a small circle.