Where did I see this very Rare Parnassius Mnemosyne Syra butterfly? When did I see it? Why did I see it there? How confident was I that I’d see it?
I secured a guide to find especially rare butterflies, species only found on the peak of Mt. Hermon in the HolyLand(Israel). He picked me up in Tel Aviv and we drove the 3 hours to the Golan. The next day we took the lift up the 7,000 feet slope, and WOW! The peak of the mountain was so much larger and more expansive than I ever imagined. Eran lugged many liters of water for us, vital on that scorching 95F June day. We met birder there, they from Germany, who were seeking migratory birds. Eran spotted a land mine, a menacing man-made monster, in an area I was working in my search for butterflies. The mountain had been a battleground.
Eureka! We found many rare butterflies there, including this one. It was kind of exciting to know that our every move was being observed by the IDF, United Nations Observers and for sure Syrian troops.
The peak of Mt. Hermon is no longer open to us, for Syrian has recently been the world’s worst killing field, and because there are now more than 50,000 Iranian troops on the north base of Mt. Hermon, they wearing Syrian uniforms and driving Syrian marked military vehicle. That’s almost as dangerous a place to be as downtown New York, downtown Portland, Oregon or downtown Minneapolis. Irony of ironies.
I treasure this image. Really. How many have such?