Butterflies of Israel’s North

Anthocharis Damone Sera Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Northern Golan, Israel
This first meeting with Anthocharis damone syra was electrifying for me. On the Kodesh trail I was at the very northern border of Israel. The trail winds around, at more than one twist putting you a short walk from the Israeli-Lebanon border. You don’t see Lebanon, to your left, because this trail is in a narrow valley. That March the trail was flowered with lush blooms, and butterflies were everywhere.

I was back on this trail this March 2015, anticipating scoring new images, and perhaps images of butterflies I’d never seen before. Twice I hiked the trail, just after winter ended, a wet winter, producing a blanket of wildflowers.

My slides just came back from Kansas. Dadah! Happy Days Are Here Again . . . ! I saw and photographed new Anthocharis damone sera . . . and Anthocharis cardamines phoenissa . . . and Anthocharis gruneri gruneri. A Trifecta for Jeff. I’ve already pitched the mediocre slides into the trash basket. Among the keepers are several fine images. Endangered, rare butterflies.

Jeff . . . suitcase unpacked.

Soon they’ll be at the scanners. When Rewind Memories (here in Pittsburgh!!) scans them, we’ll share. I, I can’t wait.

They’re Back from Kansas

Parnassius mnemosyne butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Hermon, Israel
Rare, and closely related to swallowtails, this Parnassius Mnemosyne butterfly flies on the top of Mt. Hermon, at the northern tip of Israel’s Golan Heights. It’s ancestors dodged countless firefights on the mountain, in 1967. Happily, some survived, and our female here thrilled me when she flew in to nectar, right in front of me. Happy even though it was very hot up there in June, and we had to carry many liters of water to endure this field work. Continue reading

Wingstem – Do I Really Know You?

Wingstem Flowers photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania
Expecting to quickly prepare this post, but instead, I hit some roadblocks. This wildflower, seen on September 7, 2014, has for decades been high on my list to capture in a photograph. When August and September arrive, Wingstem is a destination for me. Growing at the edges of fields, it’s a magnet for butterflies, bees, flies and all of the others that are associated with them. I think of it as a major nectar pumper, nourishing all late in the summer. Continue reading

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

Bergamot Bloom

Bergamot Bloom photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania 7/31/14
There were thousands of these flowerheads that day in August 2014. I returned to Doak Field, morning after morning. I was anxious to see who I’d find there. I also enjoyed being in one of the most beautiful places in the world, and the irony that only one person was there to savor the color, aroma and peace of that place.

Winged beauties made sure that I was not alone. Butterflies, moths, bees, flies and ruby throated hummingbirds flew in good numbers. Wasps silently patrolled for unsuspecting victims. Praying mantises kept their statuesque guard, and spiders hid to await their meals. Continue reading