Here’s our 2nd image of the rare Pararge Aegeria we found in that dry spring bed in the Golan region of northeastern Israel, the HolyLand. He’s sporting Jeff’s beloved browns and coffee-browns, with neat white ‘eyes’ in the two left upper wing surfaces that we see here.
Rare to the Middle East, Jeff was beyond happy! to find him. Want to meet-up with him? Head to the foothills of mighty Mt. Hermon, and today, know that more than 50,000 Syrian soldiers are just 4 miles or so away, they masquerading as Syrian soldiers, and driving vehicles masquerading as Syrian military vehicles.
War-like peoples don’t give a hoot about the butterflies and the pristine habitat, do they?
Serendipity! Those times when you set out to find a rare HolyLand butterfly in the Golan region of the HolyLand, Israel . . . and you do, you find one! Pararge Aegeria. The reckoning of what you are seeing, knowing that this butterfly is endangered and its existence is fragile, very much thrills me.
Know that I could not control the locale that P. aegeria flies in, here the shaded bed of a nearly dried creek.
I live in the U.S.A. and know that Israelis may have seen this rare Golan region butterfly, they having to travel the 2+ hours from the middle of Israel or the 3+ hours from Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. Me? I had to travel the 7,000 miles from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Seeing P. aegeria for me? Exhilarating.
March 2012 in northernmost Golan region in Israel. Never been along this trail before. Lush vegetation on either side of the trail and a good number of Israeli butterflies nectaring on very healthy looking wildflowers. There had been ample rain during the winter that recently ended, and this luxurious habitat was the payoff for ample precipitation just weeks before.
We had looked forward to our 2nd chairlift ride to the top of Mt. Hermon, but it was covered with a blanket of snow. (We’ve booked for May-June).
So here we were not far from the base of that mountain, shooting exposure after exposure of familiar and not seen before butterflies and wildflowers.
There was a small stream that could just barely be seen from the trail. Off I went to search its banks and was soon rewarded with my first encounter with Pararge aegeria aegeria. Chocalatiers would enjoy the rich browns that bounce off of his wings to your eye.
This butterfly is found only in the northern Golan and we don’t have an english name to share, because the available field guides don’t included one.
What we can share is that this individual remained on exposed rock surfaces in the stream and upon approach flew from the middle of the stream to the banks along it, but never more than 10 feet from water.
As with almost all of the butterflies in Israel, it was difficult to approach. So I followed it from rock-top to rock-top to shore to nearby shore to rock-top to shore to shore….never able to close the distance to ideal macro- range.
So I am delighted to present this image to wingedbeauty’s followers. A superior image would require (for lots of us) a 13-hour flight followed by a 5 hour-drive and the right season and even then you’d be bouncing from rock to ……..