Apharitis Acamas Acamas (Mt. Hermon)

Apharitis Acama photographed by Jeff Zablow on Mt. Hermon, Israel, 6/16/08

The Tawny Silver-Line butterfly is an Israeli butterfly found in higher elevations. This female enjoys the best views of all, residing at the peak of Mt. Hermon at the northernmost tip of Israel. Adults leave the chrysalis and fly from April to early September. They will suffer little human intrusion in 2014, only rarely sharing the mountaintop with IDF soldiers and even rarer tours of the peak by VIP’s escorted by elite troop chaperones. As we noted recently, we may never again be able to retrace our 2008 field trip up there. Syria is afire below. Those who cry for  peace for all, pathetically remain silent while real chemical weaponry is used down there … with women and children about.

Apharitis a. a. is such a whimsical looking butterfly. It’s head look so other-worldy, its wings appear to be too small, and her abdomen…Oops….

Ant-tended, and with its larval host plant yet unknown, this is one interesting butterfly. One of the little Hairstreaks, with its pairs of tails just visible.

Jeff

Fabriciana Niobe Philistra (Protected) (Mt. Hermon) … 1 in 5,000,000,000,000 ?

Melitaea Persea Montium butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow on Mt. Hermon, Israel, 6/16/08

Wonderful! A working image of this rare, protected butterfly on… Mt. Hermon, at Israel’s northernmost border. He was not approachable … until he spotted these groundcover blooms on the mountaintop. So irresistible their aroma must have been, for he sped to these blossoms, and spent precious moments on each, taking in the sugary nectar.

This is another image that I am sharing, taken in June 2008. I had experienced a life-changing personal loss months before, and my daughter had relocated from Washington, D.C. to Tel Aviv. As I planned to visit her, I pushed myself to go for it, do something radical with my camera. Eran Banker was contacted, and off we went from Tel Aviv to … the peak of Mt. Hermon! Quite a few of my photos from Mt. Hermon can be seen here on wingedbeauty. Never, never will I forget that trip. Eagles flying by us as we took the lift to the mountaintop, butterflies like this one, found nowhere else, a landmine (where there were not supposed to be any), OMG! views of Syria and Lebanon, the cattle, grazing 7,000 feet plus on the mountaintop, and the knowledge that we were being watched, surveillance was watching us.

A rare Fritillary this one, flying May through July, on a mountain that you and I cannot visit because of a certain civil WAR, in  Syria.

Jeff

Plebejus Pylaon Nichollae (Mt. Hermon)

Plebejus Pylaon Nichollae butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mt. Hermon, Israel, 6/16/08

I read yesterday that 150,000 are estimated to have been killed in the carnage that is going on in…Syria. That’s 150,000 men, women and children. That’s why the Israeli IDF would not let me near the peak of Mt. Hermon, 8 months ago, in June 2013. Three days ago, 2 rockets landed on the mountain.

That mountain peak, Mt. Hermon, is home to numerous rare and endangered species. At a nexus where 3 continents meet, it is an important wildlife focus, for the tens of millions of migratory birds that fly over it, and for rare, exquisite butterflies, like this one.

One of the species of blue butterflies, tiny, purposeful little jewels that those of us who have read this far love to find and follow, this male has flown for days or weeks, and shows evidence of several interactions with predacious birds, insects and or reptiles and perhaps even mice. But, just look at him! Lost lots of his tiny scales as well as wing edges, yes. Still gorgeous? Absolutely. These blues and purples bedazzle, even then.

Vladimir Nabokov was to his death the world’s expert on blue butterflies. How he would have been fascinated by this one.

Found only on Mt. Hermon, and, as we’ve posted earlier, not to be seen by you and I and them…for a very long time ahead. Those lethal weapons on  the other side of the mountain, in Syria, will assure that.

Jeff

War and Grazing Cattle….

Cattle on Mt. Hermon, Israel photographed by Jeff Zablow, 6/16/08

Eran and I drove from Tel Aviv to Mt. Hermon, at the northernmost tip of Israel. We took the ski lift up to the top of the mountain. We watched as a pair of eagles flew past us, Wow! It was exciting to stand on the peak of Hermon! Israel, Syria and Lebanon stretched out this way and that.

I prepared myself for this trip. I knew that the mountaintop was habitat for many rare butterflies. I was not disappointed. We have, and will soon share images of some of these rare, protected winged beauties.

What I was not prepared for, was this. Huh? Cattle grazing on the mountaintop, 7,000. feet above sea level? Cattle no doubt owned by a Syrian farmer. Yet, no farmer in sight. It was 2008. Frieda A”H had passed in January. Standing on the peak of Hermon was good medicine for me. The kid from Brooklyn, who never knew of the ‘golden spoon,’ was soaking in the beauty, glory and blessings of the incredible top of Hermon.

Yes, we found and photographed the butterflies of Mt. Hermon. You can see  them amongst the butterflies of Israel. Some of  them are unchanged, the same as they were when The Great Ones did their teaching.

But…it’s now 2014. What’s become of the farmer who owned this cattle? Has he fled his Syrian farm, amidst the carnage that must be all around him? Are the offspring of these cows still grazing Hermon, or are they also victims of this madness? Pathetic!

Jeff