Chaucer’s Favorite Butterflies

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

Imagine how big the smile on Jeff’s face. Almost 2 hours in the meadow on the slope of Mt. Hermon. Jeff chasing Israeli blue butterflies, coppers and other Lycaenidae (the smallest of the butterflies, excluding the skippers). Sure there were many on that sunny morning in March 2017. There just weren’t any ‘new’ ones to be seen.

A sea of small yellow blooms, perhaps 100,000 across the extensive meadow. You who do what I do know how your eyes must constantly scan, scan the meadow flowers that grown no tighter than you ankles.

What am I thinking, that whole time. I’m asking G-d to please not let me be ‘skunked.’ Please enable me. Allow to to go home and share exciting butterfly views.

That was about when this coupled pairs of Lesser Fiery Coppers caught my eye. Lycaena thersamon. They, almost frozen in place, barely moving over perhaps 15 or 20 minutes. Me? I shot, shot, shot, shot. Sun to my back, moving slowly to find good angles, Pop pop pop!

I was ecstatic. Not that I know that Chaucer never visited the slopes of Mt. Hermon, as mentioned in the Bible, but if he did he’d Love these beautiful winged beauties.

Shooting methodically some 40 or so exposures of film, I thought how much I’d like to score a usable image, and one day share it with Cathy, Roger, Virginia, Angela, Marcie, Kelly, Deepthi, Peggy, Patti, Jim, Beth, Mimi, Susan, Mary, Sylbie, Phil, Leslie, Sandra, Linda, Nancy, Barbara Ann, Dave and you.

Jeff, seeking to please, in the upper, Upper Golan, 3 miles from the barbaric war raging  in Syria.


Never Seen A Cranberry Bog?

Dorsal View of Bog Copper Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Allenberg Bog in New York

I’m day dreaming. In my daydream I ask people walking in midtown Manhattan (NYNY) . . . “Have you ever been to a cranberry bog?” Positive responses? 1 (one). Negative responses? 999. Next and final question, “Have you ever seen a Bog Copper butterfly?” Positive responses? Zero (0). Negative responses? 1,000.

Happy I am to share that I have seen these tiny fliers, and marveled at their cloistered, unique lives. They are only found in cranberry bogs, and cranberry bogs are vanishing as we speak. They fly when the cranberry flowers are in bloom, and are then absent the entire rest of the year!

By my math, then, I am perhaps the 0.008009 of Americans who have seen the accompanying butterfly image. What do I do with that knowledge? Well I am me, so I want to return to Allenberg Bog, in very western New York State (some 9 hours or so west of NYNY), to cop new, better? images of Bog Coppers . . . if I get there when the cranberry flowers are a popping!


Coupled Coppers at Golan Israel

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

The carnage just miles away in Syria prevented me from going to the peak of Mt. Hermon. Wanting to find and photograph the rare butterflies of the mountain, I settled on the meadows surrounding Neve Ativ. This tiny town is on the slope of Mt. Hermon. Neve Ativ looks like what I think a little Swiss village would look like.

Blues and coppers were flying, low as they do, in those flower covered meadows. An occasional fritillary butterfly showed, but they never landed for more than 2.1 seconds. Mid-way through that morning (photographing butterflies in Israel, even as we are here in April ’17, is near humanly impossible in the afternoon heat as it is a very arid country).

When I spotted this mated pair of Lycaena thersamon omphale, if you were there with me, you’d surely tell me that I had a face lit up, happy-look as a puppy with . . .

I chose to share this now, for it reminded me of how readily available beauty, peace and G-d’s work is for those tens of millions of you who work day in and day out. Me, I started working after school at age 13. When I retired I had worked for decades and decades. I am gifted in that I do still smell the roses, and hike to find eye fulls like this = sheer, unadulterated Beauty. Earnest, innocent and 0% politicized.


HolyLand Copper Butterfly

Lycaena Thersammon photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mt. Meron, Israel

What with memories of the Lower Rio Grande Valley’s butterflies still fresh in my mind, I’m especially intent on finding butterflies that are fresh, colorful and vital. This look at Lycaena thersammon sure fills this menu.

I had worked my favorite trail on Mt. Meron, in the Upper Galilee region of Israel, taking it to its end. I had copped many promising images of butterflies, but my trips to Israel are always too short, and I wanted more and better.

This sweetie rested on a twig, not too far from the trail’s starting point. Color? Rich. Tails? Intact. Spots? Stark and dramatic. Condition? Fresh! Eyes, head and antennae? Excellent! So I shot away.

That twig that the Copper butterfly is resting on is just some 2-3 miles from Lebanon, an armed camp overrun with Hezbollah, Iranian fanatical ‘advisors’ and their claim of 100,000 missiles aimed at Israel.

Butterfly stunners and young men pledged to murder in the same space. Such is the Middle East of today.