That HolyLand Parnassian (Protected)

False Apollo butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Nahal Dishon National Park, Upper Galilee, Israel

The tourists and vacationing Israelis were all headed to the northwest, following the Nahal Dishon (Dishon Stream) toward its source. Me? Nope, I’m headed in the opposite direction, away from the maddening crowd, to the wild, little hiked other end of Nahal Dishon Park. We’re in the HolyLand, and I’m looking for butterflies, beautiful and Protected (rare).

I made sure to get there early, before the drowsy butterflies abandon their nigh perches and fly to a prized flat leaf, to warm in the morning sun.

In the northernmost expanse of the Upper Galilee, where the Biblical giants walked, I met this spectacular Parnassian male, the False Apollo (Archon apollinus ).

I stopped short, studied him, made sure I had the sun to my back, and began robotic approach. Armed with my Macro- lens, I had to get, ideally, 18″ or closer to him. Would he bolt?

He stayed put, I used my patented ‘Technique’ Final Approach, and gulped! He stayed put!! How shmeksy! is this young warrior, wearing well the heavy responsibility of ensuring that this protected butterfly lives to see another and yet another generation.

He was there when I scored perhaps my 32nd exposure. I was there too, daydreaming of how He too would have stopped, stopped here too, fascinated by this masterpiece of Creation.

Jeff

Rare Middle Eastern Parnassian

False Apollo butterfly in Nahal Dishon National Park, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Upper Galilee, Israel

I drove my rental car up, up into the hilly Upper Galilee of Israel. Lacking any guidance, I came upon Nahal Dishon Park. Drove in, and parked. Nahal in Hebrew mean stream. The Nahal Dishon stream moves its water from the higher elevations in the Golan, south westerly. People were coming and going from this park, mostly following the Dishon stream toward its origin. Me? I went in the opposite direction, and was soon alone, naturally.

March is a super time to traipse the Galilee and the Golan, for the snow capped Mt. Hermon range generously waters all below it, and the wildflowers were all around me, lush. The landscape blanketed by vegetation, verdant green everywhere.

I was seeing butterflies, a lot. I’ve been coming to Israel to shoot, since 2008. Most butterflies were now familiar to me. Truth be told, I came to see rare Middle Eastern butterflies. I was in high excitation, for the Upper Galilee is home to many of them.

Bingo! Here’s the most exciting meet-up that morning, a female False Apollo, the Parnassian Archon apollinus. She’s fresh and festooned with reds, blues, black, yellow.

You know that my approach, armed with my Macro- lens, was robotic. She held to that rock, and reluctant to risk all, I stopped a prudent distance from her, and shot, shot, shot, shot, shot.

Female butterflies are generally more relaxed than males and don’t fly like maniacs, as males mostly do. She held her rock perch. I smiled, and Thanked G-d for this opportunity.

A rare, hard to find cousin of our Swallowtails.

Have I seen a parnassgan butterfly in the U.S.? Nope, not yet. They only fly west of our Mississippi River, and mostly in high mountain. If you were along with me, I might do high mountain. Otherwise heights bedevil me.

Jeff

Middle Eastern Parnassian (Israel)

Allancastria Cerisyi butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow in Hanita, Israel

How many species of Parnassian butterflies are there in Israel? There are four of them. This is Allancastria cerisyi speciosa. It flies for a brief time in June, along the northwestern coast of Israel, with the Mediterranean Sea just miles away. It is a rare Protected species, and I played a hunch that I might find them in Hanita, a moshav in that seaside strip. My timing was perfect and here’s one of these beauties. He had just left his night-time perch, and we met as he bathed in the strong rays of the Israel morning sun.

So Israel sports four Parnassians. How many Parnassians are native to the U.S.A.? Remember the U.S.A. is what? 500 times bigger than Israel? Answer? Three Parnassians fly in the U.S.A. and of the three, only one flies only in Alaska. Then, two Parnassians fly in continental U.S.A..

I have never seen an American Parnassian butterfly. What say you?

Jeff

“The Most Dangerous Place . . . . “

Cow Grazing on Mt. Hermon photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mt. Hermon, Israel

Chilling. I just read that this serene, picturesque landscape is no more. I was there in June of 2008. Frieda A”H passed away in January of 2008. Rachel left her SEC job that same month, and emigrated to Israel. She joined a large CPA firm there, in Tel Aviv. I visited to see her, see family there, and find rare butterflies on the peak of Mt. Hermon. At the northernmost extreme of the Golan Region, Mt. Hermon boasts as many sas 12 species of butterflies that can be found nowhere else in the world.

I hired Eran Banker, a guide, and off we went. Rode the cable car up to the top, a HuGe show of guts, for I am very uncomfortable with heights, and 7,000 feet is very, very high. Eran is a big man, and he lugged liters of water for us up there, in sun 100% of the time, temperatures in the low 90’s, and drier than dry.

We found some of those very rare butterflies, many of those images shared here in wingedbeauty.com posts. Eran gave me a heads-up when he called me over, and showed me a very scary looking land mine, in an area on the peak that I was working, in my search for butterflies. Chilling! Waiting since the Six Day War for?

We also saw cattle browsing on the peak, cattle owned by Syrians at the base of the northern side of Hermon. This hefty bovine is calmly seeking desirables amid the rock strewn peak. Huh? I looked at them, they looked at us, and went on munching.

The background you see is Syria. Minutes before I began this post, I read that it’s brimming with Syrian army and irregulars, Syrian rebels, Iranian army regular, Iranian irregulars, Russian advisors and technicians (and ?), Hezbollah terrorists, North Korean technical advisors, Pakistani technical advisors, U.S. technical advisors and special forces and who know who else, is “the most dangerous place in the world” now.

2008 and my search for butterflies on Mt. Hermon. 2018 and war, across the very same arid land that you and this cow can see. Will this merit your Comment?

Jeff