A Chance Meeting?

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

Isn’t that how life often unfolds? I was working the Wetland Trail at Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania. I reached the pond edge, and slowly moved along the shrubs that grew inches from the water. My eyes are trained now to spot things different, butterfly-sized.

There it was! Mama Mia!! The first Bronze Copper butterfly I’d ever seen. Stay calm, Jeff. Slowly prepare to shoot it. I was so excited, for the early morning sun was at my back, there was no breeze and the sky that morning was blue. Glassberg in his A Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America has this species as “LR-LU” (Locally Rare – Locally Uncommon).

I’ve only seen one a single time after that, and that was years ago. Was this a chance meeting? After a lifetime of sometimes fighting, living amidst sometimes danger (very), watching helplessly as Frieda A”H slipped away, and those years of carrying long steel on my person, I’ve come to see such a bit differently. Here I am, and I’ve endured much, yet lookee, lookee, I am now sharing A Bronze with you, my Bronze, and a beaut!

For me, a Thank You G-d moment.


Accompanying Lyrics? Love Me Tender (E. Presley)

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

Every time I gaze at this image, I remember how pleased I was to find these 2 in that meadow at the foot of ancient Mt. Hermon, at the northern end of the Golan. They were there 98% motionless, for a long time. I shot away, singing in my mind the lyrics to Elvis’ Love Me Tender:  Love me tender, love me sweet . . . Never let me go . . . You have made my life complete . . . And I love you so.

This song makes Brooklyn tear up, and sights like this, just move me, truth be told. In a flowery meadow, in the HolyLand, on the slope of a Biblical mountain.

Lycaena Thersamon omphale. Male on the left, she on your right. Middle Eastern Coppers.


He Was Gifted With . . . (Neve Ativ/HolyLand)

Lycaena Thersamon butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Neve Ativ, Israel

We’re sure out there looking for things. Most, I’d think are looking for a) Rare Butterflies. b) Butterflies We’d Seen Once or Twice Before  c) Butterflies Blessed With Exceptional (Special) Beauty. When you’re out in the field, and you spot such, your blood pressure goes wuuupP up! Me, then, I talk to myself, in my head, tell myself what I need to do to maybe, maybe capture a good image of the extraordinary butterfly before me.

This was such a butterfly, Lycaena Thersamon, in a meadow at the edge of a small moshav (town) on the slope of mighty Mt. Hermon. The Upper Golan region of the HolyLand has many many rare and many many fresh butterflies. The snow covered mountain feeds streams that descent Mt. Hermon and water the entire region for many months after. No wonder the habitat, drenched in sunshine daily, is just plain . . . gorgeous.

I Love the color of his wings. My goodness.


A Copper Butterfly Near the Israeli-Syrian Border

On The Ground, Neve Ativ, Israel photographed by Jeff Zablow

Melanie posted images today of rare Hairstreak butterflies she saw in Washington State. Javier and Mike share images of rare butterflies they find in the LRGV (Lower Rio Grande Valley) of Texas. Vitaly shoots butterflies of Alabama. Sertac and Aytac photo butterflies in Turkey and Deepthi’s images of butterflies are those of Sri Lanka. Laura takes hers along the Georgia coast.

Yaron shares his photos of Israeli butterflies on Facebook. It occurred to me few Americans, Sri Lankans, French enthusiasts, Chinese, Estonian, Canadian or Hungarian folks ever, ever get to see photos of Middle Eastern butterflies. Get to see the butterflies of the HolyLand/Israel.

I am pleased that many have visited wingedbeauty.com and Facebook, and have seen and enjoyed our images of Israeli butterflies. That thought warms me. Family is puzzled that I have produced wingedbeauty.com so these many years, but here is one Good Reason among many, for our ongoing sharing.

This Copper butterfly was seen in Neve Ativ, a moshav (village) on the slope of mighty Mt. Hermon, in the Israeli Golan. Just on the other side of Hermon is the killing field that was known as Syria. I continue to hope that she is a rare Copper, but know that she may be of the more common Lycaena Thersamon.

Butterflying alone in the vast, sparsely populated Golan, with thousands of elite Israeli troops nearby (very nearby) and down the other side of Mt. Hermon? Syrian troops, Russian troops, Iranian troops, Hezbollah terrorists, Chinese, North Korean and Pakistani ‘Instructors’ and only G-d knows who else.

Jesus grew up a not very long car ride away, in Capernum.

The places I’ve gone. Holy Spaghetti!


Searching For Rare Botany

Barbara Ann Case, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Allenberg Meadow in New York

She was methodically searching the grasses and sedges that surrounded the Tamarack Shagnum Moss Bog, looking for rare, hard-to-find plants. Barbara Ann Case (A”H) passed this year, and we’ve lost a naturalist who loves to seek rare and beautiful wildflowers, orchids, ephemerals, ferns and more.

This was at that magical acid bog that we’ve posted about recently, secluded in far western New York, near Frewsburg. Where was I? The bog open water begins just beyond the foreground of this photo. Me? I’m searching too, at the bog pond’s edge, looking for Bog Copper butterflies. Their single flight a year coincides with the appearance of the dwarf Blueberry bushes upon which they will lay their eggs. When the blueberry bushes grow, the Bog Coppers eclose. To ever see them, you must visit a bog like this one, at the correct time, remembering that Bog Coppers fly no more than 3 weeks each year.

The Pitchers plants and Sun Dew plants there fascinate me, they do. The high acidity of the bog, the result of its Sphagnum Moss and other acid-rich botany, insure that the bog continues unspoiled. Few plants and animals can tolerate, nor do they enjoy the extreme acidity.

That same acidity, and its fabled reputation for preserving whatever drops into it, causes your mind to create strange daydreams of what may be down in its depths, preserved in nearly mummified state for what, 500 years? 1,000 years? 2,000 years?

Wow! stuff, and the very same reason that such a bog should not be visited alone, for if G-d Forbid one fell in, and sank down, would it take 250 years for you to be . . . ?