An Energizing Moment (In the HolyLand)

Melitaea Phoebe butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mishmarot, Israel

I was working that long neglected field in Israel, the HolyLand. Mishmarot, a one-time Kibbutz north of Tel-Aviv, and 10 minutes east of the Mediterranean Sea. I knew that in the coming years, homes would be built right here, but for now, it was a moderately ‘disturbed’ field, and wildflowers had nearly reclaimed it.

My daughter’s house, where I was staying, was just a 5 minutes walk away, enabling me to get to this field early, well before the very hot Middle Eastern sun would be overhead. When I began working the edge of the field, what did I see?

There, resting on a dried flowerstalk, was a fresh, colorful Melitaea Phoebe butterfly. I’ve seen many of them before, nearly all when they were worn, with substantial scale (color) loss. This one had recently eclosed and retained all of its scales. Would it tolerate my slow, robotic, slow approach. I shoot Macro- requiring that I carefully descend to rest on the kneepad on my left knee, and slower than slow bring my lens up to shoot.

I did my best, and thankfully this fritillary of the Middle East remained in place! What a Thrill! How energized I was, knowing that the 35- or so exposures that I got would probably include a good image!

Jeff

Tiny Pseudophilotes Vicrama Butterfly

Pseudophilotes Vicrama butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Ramat Hanadiv, Israel

Less than 2 miles from the shore of the Mediterranean Ocean, in the HolyLand, I scoured the hills of Ramat Hanadiv Refuge for butterflies. This north ofTel Aviv expansive reserve is an excellent destination to find butterflies and rare botany. On site they have an excellent restaurant for lunch, and at the end of each morning, I would make sure to enjoy an excellent meal, in their windowed dining room, with good view of the planted gardens.

That day I found this Pseudophilotes Vicrama butterfly, with its pleasant dotted ventral surface, flash of iridescent purplish dorsal wing surface and as you look closer, that sweet red dot. Angling to include the cute purple bloom seen to the right, the whole of the image pleases me, it does.

Butterflies, rare plants, wildlife and ruins, with a large parking lot, view of the Mediterranean Sea and excellent restaurant on site, more than enough, no?

Jeff

Gorgeous Hind Wing?

Dusky-blue Hairstreak Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

We’ve held off posting with this image, for I’ve tried so hard, for so many years, to capture butterfly images with the butterfly’s eyes clearly seen. I’ve theorized that y’all only see lion, wolf, horse, dog, cat, fisher, owl and osprey images with eyes sharp and prominent. I’ve occasionally urged folks new to capturing butterfly images to try to get those eyes, those amazing butterfly eyes.

Comes once and a while an image like this one, and what to do? The right hindwing of this Dusky-blue Groundstreak butterfly? Beyond beautiful, I believe. What should we do, share it or not?

I share it with you, for even in the challenging light of a cloudy National Butterfly Center, Mission, Texas morning, I LOVE the work G-d’s done here, with those reds, blues, blacks, tans, brown, white and oranges?

Share or not share? What think you?

Jeff

An All American Butterfly On Memorial Day 2020

Silver Spotted Skipper Butterfly on Liatris, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Cloudland Canyon State Park, GA

It’s Memorial Day today in the U.S.A.. We remember those who lost their lives serving America. I read Jim Gilbreath’s post on Facebook, and it got to me. He shared with us memories of two wonderful young men, lost in battle. It got me to thinking of the so many young men and women I taught and got to know in New York City and in Pittsburgh. Have any fallen in battle, in service of their country? My artillery unit (155mm towed) was not sent to Nam . . .

It got me to thinking about how amazing! the United States is, and now I am pleased that you gaze at this little butterfly, the Silver-Spotted Skipper butterfly. It is an all American butterfly, and it flies somewhere in your state, all year in Florida, and from April to October, depending where you are. It is an energetic, spirited butterfly, not flashy, no show-off, kind of much like our men and women in service.

Where did we meet? It was totally absorbed in sipping the nectar being pumped by this Liatris plant, at Cloudland Canyon State Park in the northwestern Georgia mountains. The Liatris in our new 800 garden will be opening in some 2-3 weeks from now, or so.

If Uncle Sam had sent my Howitzer battalion to Viet Nam in 1968 . . . how many times have I thought of that? Me a 1st Lieutenant, the kid from Brooklyn, our cannon sending rounds up to 35 miles . . . Not much time for admiring butterflies from another world . . .

Jeff

NB, And Cathy’s Billy, lost serving our country . . .

 

26 Months of Waiting For the USA’s Butterfly Cogniscenti Is Enough, No?

Erato heliconian butterfly (Dorsal view) photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

On March 22, 2018 we posted this image, the post’s title was Erato Heliconian at the National Butterfly Center in Mission Texas. There we described, with much gusto! my excitement when I met this rare butterfly.

I told of how I watched the Erato fly away, fly in a straight line, as a projectile might, not rising or descending, for what I gauge was no less than 150 feet or more beyond where I stood. I saw something that triggered my knowledge of butterfly flight.

That Erato’s bright red flashes were visible 100% of the time I observed it fly. It was as if the Erato had ultra bright red lights on its wings. My conclusion was that that non-stop display of bright, rich red must be an adaptation that broadcast to predators: Stay away, for I am highly toxic. To this day I am told that I walk with a certain how do you call it, going way back to my growing up on the streets of Brooklyn, that a message that it’s best to leave this kid alone, and enjoy your . . . teeth for another day. It worked for me, and I suspected it works for this Erato Heliconian butterfly.

I posed this question to all, and 26 months later, I can admit that I’m beyond disappointed at the leaders of NABA, the Xerces, The Audubon folks. Hey, the USA has what, 3 blogs or so that chronicle our butterflies, wingedbeauty.com is probably the longest published, some 10 years now I think.

We all want to conserve our Butterflies, expand habitat, protect vital habitat, and increase the home planting of hostplants by a gazillion percent. Why don’t those who profess to be at the forefront of this good work have the . . . (I need a good word) . . . to support any and all who seek to also do so.

Yes, I no longer am a member of Xerces and now am no longer making good-sized contributions to the North American Butterfly Association. Such clubbiness is often counter-productive.

Jeff

NB, I continue to await your opinions . . .