Yes 4. We might not have posted 4 images of Apharitis Cilissa, but…once we realized that these little Hairstreak butterflies are rare and Protected, fly only 1 month a year, and are 7,000 miles from my home in Pittsburgh, PA, USA….
I entered the trail at 7:30 in the morning. June 10th, alone on this trail, naturally, as the song lyrics went. The morning was warm and comfortable. Mosquitoes and flies were absent. Almost perfect. Perfect would have been to not be alone, and to encounter all NEW butterflies. Soon, these tiny hairstreaks (Lycaenidae) were here, then there, then there, too. Looked like Leps back in Pennsylvania…until I approached. Bingo! New! New to Jeffrey! Had not seen these at the base of Mt. Hermon (closed because of War! on the north face of the mountain = Syria 2013), not seen at SPNI Hermon or at the several sites I explored nearby. New!
My film Canon camera got a workout. Pop! Pop! Pop! I worked A. Cilissa, shooting lots and lots of exposures. Hand-held and a butterfly that is almost always moving as it nectars…but in the first ½ hour that I worked those trails, I met several males enjoying the morning, as the male is doing in the image before you. Why, because as with most butterflies, their night roosts are cool, and to get a good morning’s start…to nectar and patrol for mates, they need to warm up. Flying without warming up could mean flying a reduced speed, and that could mean…disaster…if chased by a bird, or ambushed by a spider hiding in a blossom or by a Mantid frozen in place near blossoms.
Is that fellow not handsome with a capital H? A dandy with bright lit wing oranges, black spots rakishly arranged, intact wings with understated white borders, talk-of-the-town striped abdomen, well-turned antennae…those 2 pairs of tails…. Can you imagine how much he accomplished that very morning?
May all of us have a Happy and a Healthy New Year. 2014! OMG! And…may you resolve to ‘Like’ when you like and ‘Comment’ so that Jeff can know that you stopped by….