Uncommon Designation for the Malachite

Malachite butterfly (4) photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

So I’m in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, and it’s Christmas week in Texas. We’re at the National Butterfly Center near the border wall in Mission Texas. Me? It’s my first time there, and I am as Happy! as a duck.

We’re seeing lots and lots of butterflies. The morning temperatures range from the mid-70’s up to the high-80’s. The last week in December and we’re enjoying temps in the low to high -80’s. Wow!

This Malachite Butterfly (that’s it’s recognized name, ‘Malachite’) was spotted, and the handful of us nearby moved briskly to have a look. It was resting on this leaf on a trail that wound its way across a depression in the land, a kind of heavily vegetative crevice.

I shot some photographs, and returned minutes later to score looks at its ventral wing surface.

Jeffrey Glassberg’s Swift Guide to Butterflies (Princeton University Press, 2nd Edition, 2017) has the Malachite as “U” for Uncommon in south Texas. Big smile here. I visited the Lower rio Grande Valley for the first time in my rich life, and meet a fine, fresh “U” Malachite. Thank Y-u.

Jeff

A White Peacock Butterfly in Texas!

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

Seven White Peacocks came to greet me in Mission, Texas near the border wall. Common to the Lower Rio Grande Valley and Florida, they sure catch the attention of a guy like me who has never seen one before.

Their flight is kind of slow, unrushed. They do frustrate, though, for as approachable as they usually are, they are heavily white, and like Cabbage white butterflies, defy the camera lens, mostly serving up mediocre images, even when you are convinced that you’ve landed some fine, fine looks. The image here is good proof. I scored good right wings, front and hind, but those left wings- they are filled with depth of field and white-challenge issues.

It was kind of funny. I’d see a White Peacock, and be at it immediately. Those in my vicinity, either at the National Butterfly Center or at the ‘Wall,’ wouldn’t even give it a nanosecond of a look. I guess it’s the ETB (Eastern Tailed-Blue) of the LRGValley.

Why did he or she name it the White Peacock?

Jeff

A Nifty HolyLand Butterfly

Lasiommata Megera butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Meron

I’m Thankful that I have been fortunate, fortunate enough to visit Israel nearly every year, since 2008. The HolyLand is where continents come together: Europe: Africa:Asia:The Middle East.

That unique location dishes up butterflies common to many of those continents. HolyLand butterflies are beautiful, swift, and many of wingedbeauty’s Followers really enjoy seeing them.

Lasiomatta Megara seen here on Mt. Meron, a strategic peak in the northern Galilee, jolted me when I spotted it, doing what butterflies do early in the morning. Spring nights are cool on a mountain in the northern Galilee. When morning sun rises, butterflies find perches in that full morning sun, and remain still, while the sun’s rays warm them. Once warm, they can fly at full speed, and avoid the numerous predators that are about.

The challenge was to make my approach in low profile, robotically, and also to not allow my shadow to cross Lasiomatta. This worked, and I got this ‘insurance shot,’ just before our subject did its disappearing act, and at considerable speed.

Jeff

Lasiommata Megara Emilyssa: the image

Inching Up to Supersonics . . .

Winged Beauty Butterflies

Lasiommata Megera butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Meron Lasiommata Megera butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Meron

It’s been four years. I’ve travelled to Mt. Meron in 2013, ’14, ’15 and in February 2016. This year the Israel National Parks Department closed off my favorite mountain trail. My guess is that storm damage during the winter destroyed so many Eastern Strawberry trees, that they just decided to leave the trail as is, and forbid hikers to use it.

This image of a cool brushfoot butterfly, Lasiommata megara emilyssa was appreciated back in 2013. This photo is the best I could get, for this species flees once you approach within 15 feet of it. I was pleased with this look, with its clear eyespots, wing patterns, antennae and other features. You might be wondering, Is that my shadow to the left of the butterfly?

Good for the time being as I am confident that future visits will score closer…

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Lasiommata Megara Emilyssa – The Image

Lasiommata Megera butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Meron

Lasiommata Megera butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Meron

It’s been four years. I’ve travelled to Mt. Meron in 2013, ’14, ’15 and in February 2016. This year the Israel National Parks Department closed off my favorite mountain trail. My guess is that storm damage during the winter destroyed so many Eastern Strawberry trees, that they just decided to leave the trail as is, and forbid hikers to use it.

This image of a cool brushfoot butterfly, Lasiommata megara emilyssa was appreciated back in 2013. This photo is the best I could get, for this species flees once you approach within 15 feet of it. I was pleased with this look, with its clear eyespots, wing patterns, antennae and other features. You might be wondering, Is that my shadow to the left of the butterfly?

Good for the time being as I am confident that future visits will score closer, more intimate images of this exercise in browns, with eyespots at no additional charge.

I have not seen this species since, and if I have, it’s been one of the many blurrrrrs that rocket away as I work the trails. That’s one of the many challenges and thrills of future hikes. What will we see and what will we capture (on film) and . . . how will readers measure our shares of elusive wild butterflies, who never, or who fleetingly suppress their escape behaviors?

Jeff