Where are we? Spain, Denver, Estonia, Sao Paulo, Toronto, Moscow, Great Barrington, Baghdad, Paris, Shanghai, Wichita, New Jersey, the San Fernando Valley? Where in the world is this? …. Ramat Hanadiv, in west central Israel, not very far from the shores of the Mediterranean. Let’s go, count the colors of this very fresh Vanessa atalanta. Black, white, red, blue. An eye pleaser, no?
You can’t imagine how many approaches I had to make to finally be able to snap away and capture suitable images of this shmeksy butterfly. This is among those that are so unique in appearance, that as soon as you see one, you remember the last one you saw, and your brain instantaneously recognizes those reddish blazes on the forewings. Male or female? It is difficult to distinguish the sex of Red admirals.
They perch for a bit, then they fly to nectar. Then they perch some more, and again fly to a spot where they can sip nectar. Once the morning ends, they disappear for some time, then reappear, and perch/nectar, perch/nectar. Males do reveal themselves eventually, because they are especially territorial. They establish a perch, and return to it repeatedly. They challenge other butterflies or insects that enter their imagined territory. Each and every time I see Vanessa a. males speed to make these challenges, I compare them to my rather rough childhood. Many a time I had steel on my person…. These gentlemen fly off to challenge with nothing more than sylvan wings…. Impressive.
Racheli and the staff at Ramat Hanadiv offer a beautiful, welcoming menu of perennials, annuals, and shrubs for their butterfly neighbors. And the excellent restaurant, where I have already noted that after a morning’s effort, I enjoy a comfortable, tasty, fresh gluten-free lunch. Not without gratitude for it all.