American Copper Butterflies on a Cut Out Trail in Raccoon Creak State Park’s Doak Field

American copper butterfly photographed at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

There was that cut path (trail) in Doak Field that I used to love to work. Orange sulphurs, Tiger Swallowtails and the occasional Monarch Butterfly were almost sure to be seen along that 200 foot hike. Good that, be they weren’t what I was looking for. I was on the lookout for American Copper Butterflies. June and July they’d be there, usually resting on the mowed trail, and it was always the same. I’d slowly approach, spot several, including a beautiful American Copper. They would quickly disperse, flying no more than 10-15 feet into the meadow growth. I’d continue slowly on the trail, and within minutes, I would return, hoping to again find and photograph that ‘beautiful one.’

I liked their story. Their ancestors came from Western Europe and the British Isles, and like many of our family lore, they thrived here, and now have earned the common name ‘American Copper.’

Here now in Georgia, so many I meet trace their families’ stories back to Georgia in the early to late 1700’s. I know because I often ask. Like the American Copper Butterflies, my own story in America begins much later than that, but like my new Georgia acquaintances, I feel deeply rooted here, and so value this soil.

American Coppers please, and make me appreciate.


Photographing a Rare Butterfly on Israel’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.


Bedazzling Small Copper Butterfly in the Lush Wildflower Meadows of the HolyLand

Lycaena Phlaes Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Neve Ativ, Israel

I was captivated by the sweet beauty of those Small Copper Butterflies (Lycaena pulseas timeus) flying in the meadows surrounding Neve Ativ. That skiing moshav (village) on the slope of Mt. Hermon enjoyed lush wildflower meadows that Spring, and its Copper butterflies bedazzled.

She nectared long on this flowerhead, no rush, no concern. Her little stubs of ‘tails’ were there, and she had those faint blue dots on her hindwing.

Lycaenidae flying in the Golan of Israel, yummy!


Copper Butterflies in the HolyLand

Coupled Copper Butterflies II photographed by Jeff Zablow at Neve Ativ, Israel

That little moshav (village) in Neve Ativ proved to be a goldmine for me. The meadows that surrounded Neve Ativ were covered with little wild flowering plants, that late winter. Late winter in the HolyLand (Israel) just explodes with butterflies, especially following a rainy winter.

There I was, in those meadows on the slopes of Israel’s greatest mountain, with Syria just on the other side of Mt. Hermon. I’ve posted many times of the killing fields of Syria, even posting an image taken from the peak of Mt. Hermon, looking down, enabling you to see perhaps 100 miles or more into Syria, that panorama was taken in 2008, before most of the Syrians down there fled, or were . . . .

This pair of Lycaena Thersamon Omphale butterflies made me so happy. He on the left, she on the right. No wind, strong morning sun, they both strong and fresh, and they fully intent on what they were doing.

What did this more than 15-minute photo shoot with them cause me to think? Much. Much.

Coppers engaged, in the HolyLand. Wish you were there with me. I do.


The Bronze Copper Club

Bronze Copper Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, Pennsylvania

Few of us have even seen a Bronze Copper (Lycaena hyllus) butterfly. Me? Here’s the only one I’ve been able to photograph. I was working the edge of the Wetland Trail pond in Raccoon Creek State Park (Hookstowns Town, Pennsylvania (45 minutes west of Pittsburgh) and examining the Alder bushes that lined the pond.

Whoa! What’s that? I saw it, knew it was a Copper butterfly, but, it was larger than a tiny American Copper. That wide orange border on the underside of its hindwing is what made my ‘Battlestations’ internal alarm go off. I’d never (Yes, never) seen one before, but I was nurturing years of anticipation of seeing one. I made my Patent Pending Robotic approach, began to shoot away, and away it went. Here is my satisfying image.

Glassberg’s A Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America notes that Bronze Coppers are LR-LU (Locally Rare-Locally Uncommon). I can verify the validity of that, for in the ensuing years, I’ve only seen 2 of them, and scored zero images to share.

Those of you who have enjoyed meeting a Bronze Copper, meeting this solitary loner of a butterfly, are verifiably Charter Members of the Bronze Copper Club. You’ve worked wetlands much, and seeing a Bronze, the payoff! Upsetting is the real possibility that this pretty butterfly may be steadily decreasing in numbers and in range.

Which of you are Club members?