Coupled Great Spangled Fritillaries

Coupled Great Spangled Fritillary Butterflies photographed by Jeff Zablow at Kamama Prairie Reserve, Ohio

Amidst the  excitement of dozens of Northern Metalmark butterflies, Monarchs, Edwards Hairstreaks, Coral Hairstreaks and Great Spangled Fritillaries, Kamama Prairie Reserve ( Adams County, Ohio) dished up this thriller!

A pair of Great Spangled Fritillary butterflies, enthralled in tight embrace. Thousands of hours in the field, for me, and perhaps the 3rd time I’ve seen such a sight. They flew on my initial approach, locked in their kind of embace, and flew again on my next approach. Came my  persistent 3rd crouch, they kind of gave up, and tolerated my bad manners.

Large fritillaries, in a verdant prairie habitat, greener than green, they both looking fine, and robustly completing their respective missions.

A morning to remember in a very southern Ohio prairie. A moving experience for me, embedded in the lush life pool poured by the Creator.


Hunting Fritillaries in the HolyLand

Fritillary Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Iron Falls, Metullah, Israel

Way, way up at the northern edge of the Galilee, I stood there looking at Lebanon. Hostile now, with the historic Lebanese at the mercy of the deeply entrenched Hezbollah hordes. Sad that, looking at a once peaceful, prosperous country overrun with terrorists, who boast, get this, that the have “100,000 rockets.” The boast of modern barbaric.

Yes, it was sunny and beautiful, and the war toys of those primitives remained in their storehouses. Good. I was in Metullah to see rare fritillary butterflies. Saw none in Metullah, and left there to visit Iron Falls, a park just outside the town.

Drove the few minutes to Iron Falls. Parked and worked the trails and agricultural field edges. I can’t say that I saw much to get excited about. The falls were spectacular, and it is amazing to see real water falls in the arid Middle East. Mt. Hermon did still have some snow cover, and the Galilee and Golan were awash in the product of the slow melt on Hermon.

4% discouraged, I headed to my Hertz rental car in the parking lot. Stopping at park benches that surround the lot, I took out one of my beloved Coca Loca bars, and 2 bites in, What!! I watched a sizable butterfly fly toward the picnic tables . . . and descend down to rest on the ground, near me! Battlestations! A fritillary. Which one? One of the rare, protected species of frits? Would this day’s jaunt be a home run ( major success?)?

I slowly left my bench, protected my Coca Loca’s last 2 bites, and robotically approached the fritillary. It remained. I carefully went knee down. It tolerated that. I shot away, Fuji ASA 50 slide film exposure after exposure. Some 13 or so exposures later, my heroic fritillary butterfly took off, as a rocket, and it was gone.

One of the protected, rare fritillaries found only in the northern Galilee and Golan? I am working on determining that . . . .


Waiting For Rare Ones

Aricia Agestis Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Neve Ativ, Israel

The Coppers were flying, they in good numbers. None were of the 2 rare, protected Copper butterflies known to populate the peak and slopes of Mt. Hermon. That was OK, for the coppers I was seeing in the field surrounding Neve Ativ, though of the common copper species, were, well, fresh. Very fresh. When I caught sight of mating copper pairs, I went into overdrive. Happy, motivated, loaded with Fuji slide film, and yes, Thankful that I was there on the mountain, in the northernmost tip of Israel, April  2017.

Thankful too that the murderous Syrian regulars, Syrian secret cadre, Iranian regular and other murderers, ISIL, Hezbollah, Syrian ‘Rebels’ (whomever there are/were), Russian uniformed and special forces, North Koreans, Hamas, US special forces, Al Qaeda remnants, Pakistanis and more were down on the northern face of Mt. Hermon, planning,  executing and killing one another (though I wish safe missions for our American Special Forces/Opps heroes).  Just that they were not in Israel, threatening the Israeli Jews and Israeli Druze who live in this OMG! lush, water rich Golan region.

My eyes rested their ‘Rare Copper’ search engines . . . but I did not relent another search mode, for I was on the lookout for the rare, equally protected gossamer-winged Aricia Agestis. Mostly the tiny butterflies were there in those fields, and my eyes were scanning the little for minute butterflies with chains of little orange flashes rimming dorsal (upper) forewings and hindwings.

Some 2 hours into that morning, jackpot! There was Aricia, leisurely nectaring on very small, low to the ground blooms. A very nice one, and sweetie. . . approachable. I shot away, and share here the best of what I got. Hadn’t seen Aricia for 2 years, even though I was in Israel’s north in 2016, looking for this sweetiepie. Good. Very good.

There we were there then, Jeff and Aricia, within sight of The Sea of Galilee to the south, were my Chrisitian friends all tell me they plan to visit “someday,” for Aricia surely flew down to there then, surely wasn’t so rare then, and no doubt was also admired then. Imagine that, if you will?


Blue Butterfly at Lynx Prairie

Eastern-Tailed Blue Butterfly II photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie Reserve, Ohio

The big boys at Lynx Prairie Reserve were there, flying in good numbers to Butterflyweed, Coneflower, and other wildflowers. Examining those great Spangle Fritillary butterflies, Edwards Hairstreaks, Monarch butterflies and those other butterflies I saw there.

I was on the lookout for other fresh butterflies. Adams County, Ohio was just what Angela said it could be, a rich land, nurturing rare wildflowers and orchids, as well as big flights of butterflies, moths and other insects.

What and how would I react to say a fine, fresh Eastern Tailed Blue butterfly? Shoot it of course. I did and here it is.