Middle Eastern Wildflower ID’d

Lizard Orchid (Protected), photographed by Jeff Zablow in Rosh Hanikra, Israel

Butterflies, it was butterflies that I was after. Good enough that I was finding them here in Rosh Hanikra National Park, at the very northeastern tip of Israel, right at the border with Lebanon.

I was also discovering many wildflowers that I had never seen in Israel. Stop and expend valuable slide film each time? And time, that too was limited (always limited in the field).

When I noted this extraordinary tower of bloom, I stopped. I’d expect to see such an other-worldy plant, like maybe on Mars. How could I not photograph it? It’s an orchid, No?

I have searched my field guides of Israeli Wildflowers, and awaited word from Israel. Well, enough waiting. Without word from expert botanists abroad, I determine that this is NOT an orchid, but a bloomhead of . . . Syrian Bear’s Breech (Acanthus syriacus). Different. Reallllly different.

I’m telling you, come visit Israel, see the HolyLand, and leave some time to split off and work the OMG! habitats that have awaited your visit for 1,000’s of years. You’ve worked too hard, and this trip is deserved. No doubt about that.


An All American Butterfly

White M Hairstreak butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow in Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Today is 9/11. I remember who told me it happened, I remember where I was when he told me, I remember the look on John’s face, all the blood had drained from him, forehead to chin. I remember how I could not believe it, even though I saw it on the tiny little TV on his desk.

I remember always how my father, gone this past May 16, 2015, told me that he and his WWII buddies made sure that we never have such a war again. When I served in the 2nd How 287th Arty, I would sometimes remember what he told me. Those 155 mm howitzers (towed) were beasts, and they made me think alot.

Well this all-American hairstreak butterfly, the White-M hairstreak happens to fly at this time. You may not notice it because it is kind of rare now, but this tiny beauty sports – Red, White and Blue.


Darner Dragonfly at Work

Darner, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Jamestown Audubon Center, NY

The Jamestown Audubon Center was a Western New York treat. Their butterfly garden was large and lush with wildflowers. Ponds provided wildlife habitat, and home for butterflies that prefer watery environs. There is an extensive meadow, and that borders heavily wooded edge.

The sum total of all this generates rich photographic opportunities. It also supports a good-sized darner population.

Wingedbeauty supporters visit in good number when we post darners, and that does not go unnoticed.

This darner flew in, and in 1/100 of a second I decided that it was surely film-worthy. Don’t you agree?

She is a Common Whitetail, though for this trailman, there is noting common about her.


Those Wow! Moments

Blue butterfly, (dorsal view), photographed by Jeff Zablow on Qedesh trail, Israel

Tiny? Sure, but I know that every once in a while, one of those extra small blue butterflies can take your breath away. That’s how much of my time was spent on Qedesh trail in Israel’s Upper, upper Galilee region. Just 15 minutes from the small city of Kiryat Shimona, this trail wends its way through a valley. On your left the valley walls conceal the Hot! border with Lebanon, on your right the valley rises some 300 feet. The two mountain goats I saw there made for Fun! on this trail.

March 2015, and tens of millions of Spring wildflowers were attracting lots of butterflies. You find yourself automatically following each and every male with your  eyes. Will this one reveal the blue that Amazes? Amongst the many dozens of blue butterflies that were flying (female blues have brown upper wing color), was this one. The world: Fresh. Fresh.

I carefully did my approach, went down on my left knee, resting on my Tommy #507 garden kneepads, and slowly raised my Canon with its 100mm/2.8 macro- lens. Then the critical re-look, is he still there. Yes, he is. Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, I expose one shot after another, this angle, that angle, hey, try that angle.

My goal, a satisfying image that shares with you the Wow! moments I’m feeling, marveling at the blue that deserves to be on the palette of a Master. Which of the blue butterflies? I’m not prepared to make that call, with too little underwing to guide us.


Small Pheasant’s Eye Wildflower

Adonis Palaestina wildflower with bee, photographed by Jeff Zablow in Hanita, Israel

The trails in Hanita Forest (the northeastern border of Israel) were festooned with wildflowers. It was good that Israel had a wet winter 2015. Dry winters are followed by scarce blooms. A winter like the one that they enjoyed in 2015 produce blooms like this Small Pheasants’s Eye.

No PhotoShop here, this was the rich lipstick red that pleased the esthete’s eye.

Which of you noticed the tiny bee in this bloom? Beauty and utility out of the same flower. A real player, this Adonis Macrocarpa.

(Final note: None of winged beauty’s images are enhanced. Yes, I took the classes, no I prefer what the eye sees).