Shoot or . . . Stare?

Lycaena Phlaos butterfly (female), photographed by Jeff Zablow in Neve Ativ, Israel

After driving up, up, up the winding road to Neve Ativ, what would this March 2015 day produce? Built on the slope of Mt. Hermon, this village is home to many of those who operate the ski slopes in winter. I’d been there before, searching for the butterflies that are found on the south face of this northern tip of Israel peak. Many of the endangered butterflies of Mt. Hermon are posted amongst our more than 500 posts.

The going was good, and I was dashing here and there, over the meadows that surround the village. This gal flew in before me, and there she landed. Let me share that when you spend much time reviewing butterfly field guides, you come to expect that when you are fortunate enough to actually find the butterflies, they will often appear as bland in color as they appear in the guide photos.

This Small Copper female (Lycaena Phlaeas) riveted me eyes to its bright, contrasting colors. But . . . she was ‘bird-struck’ on her hindwings. I don’t photograph damaged butterflies. I learned long ago that folks don’t want to see imperfect wings. We want to see complete, beautiful butterflies.

But I stared, those baby blue spots on the hindwings, the trailing burnt orange beyond them, the dramatic contrast it made with the rocky ground. So, I took many photographs, shooting away. I mean, lizard, beetle, bird, mantid . . . something took a rip at her wings, but, there she remains, gorgeous.