Spectacular Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

Tiger swallowtail butterflies photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA
The common name is Tiger Swallowtail butterfly. I’ve added the word ‘Spectacular’ because that was the thought that shot through my mind when I made my approach. Bedazzling colors. Fresh, strong, vibrant. We were on the trail minutes after 8 A.M. He and others flew out of their nighttime tree roosts, and each found a flat surface to begin that slow, steady warm-up. I love those few minutes. They enable me to make careful approach. Approach that 15 minutes later would be impossible to do.

His ventral wing design reminded me of the primary reason that I have for photographing butterflies. I’ve lived in New York City. I’ve frequented Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Doyle Galleries alot. The workmanship displayed here . . . exceeds the finest work of the finest jewelry houses. The origin of this beauty, ah that is quite a question.

Papilio Glaucus enjoyed early on a June 2014 morning. What will he do over the next 9 to 10 hours? Fly madly, almost non-stop, searching for a mate.



View of Lebanon from Mt. Meron, Israel photographed by Jeffrey Zablow
Nope. Just returned from 28 days in Israel. Thankfully just had to enter a safe room once. That’s the only time in my life that I was hustled into a fortified space, to hide from rockets. Hiding from rockets! In my daughters’s home, with her two kids, Boaz just one week-old . . . reflects the brutal barbarity of the Gaza terrorists. Before anyone pleas for well-being and safety of Gazans, they had better explain why Gazans fire rockets at Israeli homes, causing terror, anxiety and jeopardizing the lives of women, children and infants.

Well, our last post reported that I was off to Israel to visit family, celebrate (we celebrated Boaz’s birth), and score images of the elusive Israeli butterfly, the Two-tailed Pasha. Largest of butterflies there, it eluded my camera when I tracked them in 2013. I saw 3 in 2013. This year I spent a week on Mt. Meron, saw 11 of them, and captured . . . Zero images. Working with strategies devised last year, I arrived on the trails at 6:30 A.M.. Each and every one I saw was resting on the trail. I got no closer than 30 feet away from any of them. Thirty feet! All zoomed away at very high speed. Skunked!

My last morning there, I brought along a seasoned tub of Israeli melon, peaches, grapes and plums. Dropped it at a promising spot on the trail, where there were a good number of Eastern Strawberry trees. Two-tailed pashas are found in proximity to those trees, which also host their caterpillars. Hours later, zip butterflies, but a slew of happily partying flies, of several species, thank you.

Love the weather in Israel at the end of June = sunny, sunny, sunny, sunny, etc.

You are seeing the view north from the Mt. Meron trail. We won’t be visiting the area at the background of this image, Lebanon, controlled by the terror group Hezbollah. Won’t ever know if they have Two-tailed Pasha’s there. Pity that, too.