Protected Middle Eastern Parnassians, Found and Engaged

Allancastria Cerisyri butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow in Hanita, Israel

Rare butterflies, limited to a hilly range in the northwestern corner of Israel, and they fly for a single month, March.

What I have learned about rare, protected butterflies, I can share with you. Most endangered species have experienced habitat loss. Generalists, like the Cabbage White, nectar on a wide variety of flowers, and tolerate a broad range of habitats. They flourish almost everywhere, and individuals often seek new ranges, expanding their footprints into all new counties, states and regions.

Endangered butterflies remain in their original territory, and continue to feed upon the same flowers that they have depended upon for hundreds of years. Their flight time is usually limited, and often very predictable.

These parnassians are closely related to the Swallowtail butterflies (tiger, black, spicebush, giant, pipevine, palamedes – in the USA). I’ve never seen our US parnassians, all of whom fly west of the Mississippi river, most in the western mountains. This 2015 has been so good to me, largely because I’ve met generous folks, who have offered to show me actual site destinations, and who have met me there and enabled some OMG! fieldwork.

This trip to Israel’s Upper Galilee regions (northwestern Israel’s coast in this case) was a plucky one for me. No one guided me to the place you see here. Using field guides, I decided I wanted to see this winged beauties, and that had to be in March and it had to be where they fly. So I rented my Hertz car, drove for hours, and the next morning, followed my instincts, took a side road that promised to go through the prescribed habitat. Found a nature site with a car parking area. Switched to boots, blousing garters on, film loaded ( yes, Fuji slide), lens cover cleaned . . . and began to hike. OMG!! Not 100 feet into the trail, my first Allancastria Cerisyri. I saw 23 of them that morning. Bliss.

Should you want to enjoy seeing rare butterflies, most of the time the formula remains the same: Be able to travel when they are in flight, have the resource$ to do that, travel great distances to destinations where they have been regularly seen. Field guides are the resource you will need. Maps can be bought when you arrive in the area. Guides will often disappoint, and they are expen$ive. Know all along, that if you are young at heart, and fancy beauty, discovering rare butterflies is fun work.

Another option? Contact me, and see if I can join you. I’m always alone on these forays, and it would be fun to share the rush of a new, gorgeous find.

Jeff

Middle East Parnassian (Protected)

Allancastria Cerisyi Speciosa butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Hanita, Israel

Not a single Parnassian Butterfly east of the Mississippi River. I’d never seen one of these beautiful butterflies, until my March 2015 trip to Israel’s Upper Galilee region. They fly in limited habitat, within 100 yards of the Israeli-Lebanon border. They fly in March, and I jumped into my rental car, and there I went.

Back yesterday from weeks in central Georgia, and days in Florida’s Panhandle (Wow! to both, and more about that in the coming days and weeks), we can finally share the diverse images that I captured there.

This male could not be followed, flying at great speed, and making sharp turns, as though IDF trained. But it was very early, and he and the others stopped often to sip nectar from native flowers. Approach could be made, for he was fully focused on fueling-up.

Allancastria Cerisyi Speciosa. Rare, protected and gorgeous, with its yellow, black, red and blue hindwing spots.

I am learning that rare butterflies can be seen if you know where they can be found (Thank you Dubi Benyamini), you can be there when they fly, you can travel there, get good weather and respect the OMG! of their limited existence.

A butterfly protected by Israel. Just 300 feet ( meters? ) from the very dangerous border. We both enjoyed the morning, Parnassian and I.

Jeff

The Question? The Loss . . . .

Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA
I hope the Question is, ‘Where has Jeff been lately, what with no new posts on wingedbeauty.com?’ After all, butterflies are now  . . . flying.

Regretfully, the answer is Jeff is getting over the passing of his father on May 16, 2015 in the VA Military Hospice in Dublin, Georgia. The question asked so often, ‘How old was he?’ 100 years old. The Hospice, his second since the massive stroke in January, kept anticipating his imminent passing, though he fought that too, and left us months later.

Butterflies. I watched them as Jack Zablow was buried in the Georgia Memorial Veterans Cemetery in Glenville, Georgia, with full military honors. I watched those winged beauties as they flew here and there in the cemetery. They have this wonderful effect on me, and helped as I stood with my brother, Stanley, bereaved on a gorgeous Georgia day. Butterflies just make me feel good, truth be told.

This male Tiger Swallowtail allowed my very close approach on that 2014 morning in Trails at Raccoon Creek State Park , up north here in Pennsylvania. Fresh, strong, and very shmeksy.

Butterflies tantalize my eyes, make me smile, challenge me, and . . . remind me of those who have meant so much to me. See one of my Mourning cloak posts, for my magical moments in 2008.

Thanks.

Jeff

Pipeline Swallowtail on Bergamot Flowerhead

Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow as it perched on Bergamot flower at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania, 7/31/14
It’s nice to see this again.  July 31st, 2014, amidst a sea of Bergamot blooms. Color me happy-lucky. Butterflies here and there. Sphinx moths zooming in and out. Bumble bees, whose well being is much fretted over nowadays, abundant. Wasps patroling, and ruby throated hummingbirds there, and over there, and there. When the bejeweled butterfly suddenly appeared, that’s when you faintly heard my Thank You! This image, Fuji slide film, macro-, hand-held was one of several dozen that I popped off. I just reviewed the slide on my Porta-Trace lightbox. I nailed the right wing undersides, the right side of the abdomen (with those nifty spots), the right compound eye and a short bit of the proboscis. It looks like the scan gave up a bit of that. Ugh! What a rush, when a Pipeline swallowtail butterfly magically appears before a photographer of butterflies in Doak field, Raccoon Creek State Park, southwestern Pennsylvania. Just can’t get jaded in this ‘line of work.’  Jeff