Cassius Blue Butterfly (NBC)

Cassius Blue butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

Y’all know by now that we went to the Lower Rio Grande Valley in the closing week of 2017. We’ve shared many butterflies that were new to me, and new to so many of you. Here I was, just a handful of miles (or less) from Mexico, and you just never knew what would come flying in here, at the National Butterfly Center in Mission.

This was the Tiffany of Butterflies, with new deliveries every hour, with the display cases changing as you watched!

Comes this one, nectaring on Mistflower. I expected it would be a snap to ID, and after scouring Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America (The Princeton University Press, 2017) I still cannot tell what it is?

It’s almost surely a blue? Or is it. Ventral wing surface are good, and the upper wing color sure look blue.

Might I dream that the premiere butterfly experts, Jeffrey Glassberg, Mike Rickard, Curt Lehman and/or Robert Michael Pyle might help here?

Update! Nancy Asquith and Mike Rickard reached out to us to confirm, Cassius Blue ( Leptotes Cassius Cassidula ). Thanks Nancy and Mike.

Jeff

Back in Business in 2018

Tarucus Balkanizes butterfly  Near Syrian border, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Golan Heights, Israel

Remember this one? I unashamedly shared that I drove nearly 2 hours down from the Golan, along the Syrian border, to finally captures images of two butterflies that continued to elude me. I relied solely on a field guide map. I did find and shoot Tarucus rosaceus. That was good. I accomplished that goal.

Where, though was Tarucus balkanicus? Like T. rosaceus, T. balkanicus’s range straddled dangerous territory. It is found along the border with Syria and the Israeli border with Jordan, and it is found along Israel’s western border, along the Mediterranean, south of Tel Aviv, and not far from Gaza.

I finally, after much frustration, saw this tiny, tiny fine looking T. balkanicus! I so carefully got down on my stomach (ticks?) and even more carefully crawled closer to its perch on these diminutive flowers.

Jeff, this image is not so hot. Why share? Just as I prepared to shoot away, rain came down!! Hard. This is what I got. It flew. Me? Drenched.

Drive hours, with no one to meet you and definitely show you where to see hard-to-find butterflies, and you run the risk of getting skunked, getting soaked, and wondering why do I do this?

Among my goals this Spring? Meet and shoot Hessel’s Hairstreaks and Elfins; that is to say, several species of Elfins. What do I have to assure me of success? Just field guide maps. Oh, and that determination that only you and I have, determined as we are to see the most beautiful and sometimes the least known of butterflies. And, to occasionally look around, and just Sigh! what with the beauty that surround us.

Dianas later? How does that go? “I’m so . . . . . . and you’re so. . . . . . , this Diana I’ve been told . . . . “ The rest, well I may remember it while out in the field.

Jeff

“The Most Dangerous Place . . . . “

Cow Grazing on Mt. Hermon photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mt. Hermon, Israel

Chilling. I just read that this serene, picturesque landscape is no more. I was there in June of 2008. Frieda A”H passed away in January of 2008. Rachel left her SEC job that same month, and emigrated to Israel. She joined a large CPA firm there, in Tel Aviv. I visited to see her, see family there, and find rare butterflies on the peak of Mt. Hermon. At the northernmost extreme of the Golan Region, Mt. Hermon boasts as many sas 12 species of butterflies that can be found nowhere else in the world.

I hired Eran Banker, a guide, and off we went. Rode the cable car up to the top, a HuGe show of guts, for I am very uncomfortable with heights, and 7,000 feet is very, very high. Eran is a big man, and he lugged liters of water for us up there, in sun 100% of the time, temperatures in the low 90’s, and drier than dry.

We found some of those very rare butterflies, many of those images shared here in wingedbeauty.com posts. Eran gave me a heads-up when he called me over, and showed me a very scary looking land mine, in an area on the peak that I was working, in my search for butterflies. Chilling! Waiting since the Six Day War for?

We also saw cattle browsing on the peak, cattle owned by Syrians at the base of the northern side of Hermon. This hefty bovine is calmly seeking desirables amid the rock strewn peak. Huh? I looked at them, they looked at us, and went on munching.

The background you see is Syria. Minutes before I began this post, I read that it’s brimming with Syrian army and irregulars, Syrian rebels, Iranian army regular, Iranian irregulars, Russian advisors and technicians (and ?), Hezbollah terrorists, North Korean technical advisors, Pakistani technical advisors, U.S. technical advisors and special forces and who know who else, is “the most dangerous place in the world” now.

2008 and my search for butterflies on Mt. Hermon. 2018 and war, across the very same arid land that you and this cow can see. Will this merit your Comment?

Jeff

A Dainty Israeli Blue Butterfly: Lampides Boeticus

Lampides boeticus Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mishmarot, Israel

We met along those rough agricultural roads in Mishmarot, Israel. Amidst agricultural orchards planted with orange, grapefruit and tangerine trees, lined up as far as your eye can see.

A dainty Israeli blue butterfly is common enough in the HolyLand. The seeker of butterflies toiled in his brain, Don’t I already have good images of this Lampides?

Blush, for even though that is true, this sweetie sipped nectar so slowly, so regally, that up came the 100mm/2.8 Macro- lens, and I shot away. When an eye pleaser like this one, a fine example of its species, and fresh out of  its ‘make-up’ before camera shoot session presents itself, there remains no other choice than to Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!

A pookie!

Jeff