Rare Fritillary Butterfly On HolyLand’s Highest Mountaintop

Rare Copper Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mt. Hermon, Israel

Mt. Hermon is the HolyLand’s highest mountain top. We were there to find and photograph the rare butterflies that live there, and in some cases, nowhere else. On that desolate peak, we found a good number of them. All flew at high speed, so capturing images wasn’t easy. Add to that the searing heat that June day, well into the 90’s Fahrenheit, the enormity of the top of that mountain, and, after Eran, my guide, found that unexploded land mine (from the 1967 War?), the edginess of following butterflies off-trail on Mt. Hermon.,

I’ve studied Dubi  Benyamini’s A Field Guide To The Butterflies of Israel carefully, still not able to make an identification of this Fritillary butterfly seen there. Hopefully, Shalev, Oz or Rachael will aid us in its ID. Melitaea Persia montium?

Visiting Mt. Hermon in the HolyLand, via that cable car climb to its 7,000 found peak? Unforgettable.

Jeff

Hoary Edge Butterfly (RCSP)

Hoary Edge Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

They surprise. You’re seeing lots of Silver-Spotted Skippers through the morning, and you begin to disregard them. When you’ve reached complete and total disinterest in those Silver-Spotteds, every once in a long while, you’re senses unexpectedly discombobulate. Your brain signals that you’re now looking at a Silver-Spotted Skipper that’s not a Silver-Spotted Skipper. A bit flummoxed by that, you’re mental library quickly reconnects, and you have a ‘Boing!’ You’re looking an the ‘Uncommon’ Hoary edge Skipper Butterfly. That is a morning maker, it is.

That smudgy white on the trailing edge of its hindwing, as well as the broad golden band on the forewings, identifies this butterfly as a Hoary Edge. This one was seen at Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania. Here in Georgia I’ve seen them in my 303 Garden, in the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat I in Eatonton and in the Ocmuolgee Mounds National Historic Site in Macon.

Don’t see them every day or every week, but when I do, Smile!

Jeff

Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly On Common Milkweed

Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly on a Common Milkweed photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PAWhen one flies in, and you’re sure it’s a black species of swallowtail, lots of us immediately speed to determine if it is that uncommon Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly. Not easy that, for they move their wings very rapidly, as they hover over the flowers they’ve common to enjoy. Making it even more difficult to decide the ID, the definitive ventral (under) wing surface is usually tough to see, that because those wings are in rapid motion.

What do I do? I quickly position myself knowing that my object of possible elation will be gone in one minute or less. Then I shoot way, with my Canon film camera’s shutter choice set a 3-exposures in a second or so. Sometimes all this results in success! This time, I score an fine image of this Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly nectaring on a Common Milkweed flowerhead. There’s no doubt about it. The wash of royal blue extends forward of the sweet coral spots, the abdomen and thorax and head feature the characteristic pattern of Pipevine white body spots, and this one is Fresh! Very Fresh!

Have I ever thought that the incoming butterfly was a Pipevine, only to be disappointed, or to find that it was a Pipevine, but a ‘worn’ individual? Well, yes, perhaps hundreds of times over these years.

Doak field, Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania, just an 8-hour drive from Grand Central Station/Madison Square Garden in New York, New York.

Jeff

Waiting On Coneflower At 800

Coneflower photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx, Prairie Reserve, Ohio

Crusing through the hundreds of images in our Media Library bank, I stopped right here, at the enticing image of this native Coneflower, at Lynx Prairie Reserve Refuge, Adams County, Ohio. Why did I have to pause there?

We’ve set in a whole lot of coneflower, native and cultivar (truth be told. cultivar for the ‘color”) and today, with a high of 79F, we’ve been working in our 800 garden, front and back. I keep stopping at those same Coneflower plants, again and again examining the spent flowerstalks from last year, squinting my eyes to try and find any, any teeny, tiny appearance of new budding or leaves.

None yet. Nothing to be reported. We’ve been in this North Macon, Georgia for 11 months now, and last year, just as soon as we set Coneflower in, butterflies and bees visited, to reap the abundant nectar and pollen provided.

Waiting at 800, in late February. Georgia is amazing, BJ, Jim, Cathy, Jerry, Marie, Barbara, Phil, Lisa, Lisa, Donald, and y’all. I saw a butterfly today, my first for 2021, in late February. It zoomed by me, and I’d have to guess that is was an Admiral or a Painted Lady, but it never stopped . . . .

Jeff

Tawny Emperor Butterfly ( # 2?)

Tawny Emperor Butterfly on Rocky Ground photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Not much secret that my favorite butterfly is the Mourning Cloak Butterfly. Many have read of that surreal experience I had just weeks after the loss of Frieda A”H. That Mourning Cloak unsettled me, and I admit that I was unable to suppress tears that day. Whenever I am fortunate enough to again see a Mourning Cloak, I am instantaneously moved, much. Butterflies can do that, no?

Asked what is my #2 favorite butterfly, here I’m forced to think. Candidates for that distinction are the Great Purple Hairstreak, the Milbert’s Tortoiseshell, the Compton Tortoiseshell, the White M Hairstreak, the Two-Tailed Pasha (the HolyLand) and the Tawny Emperor.

Here’s a gorgeous Tawny Emperor butterfly, dazzling my eyes in a sea of browns and tans. At Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania, just 8 hours from Broadway, New York, New York.

Jeff