Which One For 2021?

Zebra Heliconian butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Wildlife Management Area, Kathleen, GA

That’s what we love about butterflies, each year brings its own surprises and disappointments. Butterflies you looked forward to seeing in any given year sometimes don’t show up, and each year butterflies you have given up thinking about visit and bring a smile.

This year, just 6 months in our new home, in North Macon, Georgia, we aggressively planted perrenials, trees and shrubs in our back garden. The list is fun for us to recall: Hackberry trees, Swamp milkweed, Linden trees, Bear oak trees, Passionflower, Coneflower, Oak trees (post oak), Hercules Club bushes/trees, Liatris, Brickellia ( rare, rare), Hickory trees (Pignut, Shagbark, Nutmeg (rare, rare), Cardinal flower, Cosmos, Hibiscus, Iris (Blue flag), Spicebush, Crocosmia (Lucifer), Joe Pye, Ironweed, Lobelia, Basil, Black & Blue salvia, Oakleaf Hydrangea, Asters (Several Varieties), Buttonbush, Turtlehead, Atlantic White Cedar, Sassafras,  . . .  and more. Really, more.

The payoff for all the work that we did? Excellent butterfly visits and fulfilling caterpillar numbers. The Big Surprise? This 2020 season brought lots of Zebra Heliconian butterflies to our 800 Garden. Lots. Heliconius charithonia flies with the flight of a ballerina, and just stops you in your tracks, you watching that graceful flight with awe, me thinking where are we in the Amazon or in tropical Africa? Then I smile, thankful that no, we are here in Georgia, and this butterfly is real and inspiring.

So for us, 2020 brought Zebra Longwings. What butterflies will be plentiful in 2021? Ma’am, I have no idea.

Which butterflies would you like to see more of in 2021?

(This one was seen in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia).

Jeff

Dominica or Kathleen? Seeing Zebras

Zebra heliconian butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Kathleen GA

The Wall Street Journal delivered newspapers this past week, unsolisticed. In the Off Duty section of the weekend paper was a front section article, ‘Locals and Behold‘ chronicling a very interesting visit the writer made to the Caribbean island of Dominica. Me, I read on, all, to plumb the prospects for meeting butterflies on this island, well, paradise. Alison Humes didn’t mention butterflies, but she shared that Dominica was an island with hundreds of birds species reported. Helpful, but thousand$ of dollars to see . . . .

Shown here is a Zebra heliconian butterfly, nectaring on a Tithonia bloom in Kathleen. Kathleen rests in . . . Kathleen, Georgia. South of Macon, Macon itself a fascinating city, my tour there thanks to Conie Mac. Me? Macon is a thriving city, active, vibrant and purposeful. Kathleen, south of Macon is a relaxed southern town, washed in rich, deep green. Heliconius charitonius, more than any other butterfly I have sought and found, most evokes memories of those 5th row orchestra seats that we once subscribed to , at the New York City Ballet. Brooklyn-born yes, streets raised yes, but yet thirsting for the elegance and beauty of the ballet, and reminded by the poetic flight of these Zebra longwings (heliconians).

Just me, but when I pack my bags, I head to Kathleen, not Dominica. I love the U.S.A, and we here have our own neotropical butterflies, these balletic Zebra heliconians. No tickets, no season subscriptions necessary. All you need is an enabler.

Jeff