Finding Rare HolyLand Satyrs

Pararge Aegeria Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in Northern Golan, Israel

Scouring the Upper Galilee region of Israel for butterflies is a Joy! that I’ve done, many times. 99% alone, the entire time, amidst fields of fresh Spring wildflower blooms, I Thank G-d for the opportunity. I tell you I often stop, scan the meadows of the Kedesh trail, and struggle to understand why more folks don’t do the same? Thousands of years ago, They stopped their important missions, to amaze at those same species of butterflies, and here I am fortunate to do the same.

I am especially fond of Satyr butterflies, and this trip to Kedesh trail produced a good discovery. I was scanning the tiny stream that runs along part of the trail, it mostly dry, but recent rains left the stream bed wet enough to nurture a brown satyr that flew in. I quickly made my approach. Daddah! A handsome satyr butterfly. I carefully moved in and was thrilled to see this was a rare, Protected satyr, Parage aegeria aegeria.

Hot diggity dog! Those in my field guides bore tiny white eyespots, but this buster’s eyespots featured big, prominent white centers. I shot away, and quicker than that, he flew. Away and out of sight.

I love finding rare HolyLand satyrs. No scholar I, but, I have no doubt I’d just shared moments treasured by Them, thousands of years ago. I like that.

Jeff

HolyLand Spots!

Maniola Telmessia (female) photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mt. Meron, Israel

Mt. Meron is excellent for finding Upper Galilee butterflies, especially satyrs. I’m always on the lookout for images that highlight their tantalizing spots. A great long-term goal, for they don’t enjoy close approach, and nearly each and every time you find a fresh one, with those spots and eyes aglare, it’s gone before the first shutter click.

Persistence often rewards, and this time, I was Ga Ga when I found this Lasiomatta maera orinetalis with the morning HolyLand sun spotlighted on its upper left wing eyespot! That’s a rarity in the field, and I got it, I did. Enough of the lower right wing surfaces can be seen to make the declarative satyr ID.

Surely such fascinated Them back then, as they made their pilgrimages, this just days just days before Christmas . . . Amazing to ponder, this.

Jeff

Diana & Mitchell Up A Tree Kiss . . .

Gemmed Satyr Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Hard Labor creek State Park, Georgia

We’re a Limited Edition, those of us who love and pursue butterflies. I often wonder if wingedbeauty.com is the only true butterfly blog in the USA? I usually think that that can’t be so, for when I travel, and meet some like us on trails, I offer them my ‘business card’ (masterfully produced by Moo), I get little reaction, a brand of ho-hum. NABA too has never smiled at wingedbeauty. That’s gotta mean there are several dozen butterfly blogs about?

So my band of merry men and women I share this shot of a butterfly that Jeff thought about for many years. I had never seen a Gemmed Satyr, and should you read that post we shared, my interesting association with gems and jewelry nurtured my interesest in seeing the Gemmed. Phil guided me, in Hard Labor Creek State Park in the Piedmont region of central Georgia. Gemmeds prefer dappled shade, and this one flew lazily from one leaf to another, all in the shade of the trees above. I think I asked G-d to help me there and then, for my Fuji Velvia 100 film could not do this sweetie justice in full shade. Walla! It flew next to this leaf, presented itself to me with this excellent pose, and I saw and shot my first Gemmed Satryr.

We’re fast approaching Christmas and Chanukah, and Mr. Jeff’s mind is leapfrogging ahead to 2019. What other ‘Rare-Locally Common’ butterflies do I much want to introduce myself to in 2019?

Diana fritillaries, those very large gorgeous fritillaries in northern Georgia and Mitchell’s Satyrs in Alabama. Scoured the northwestern mountains of Georgia this 2018 for Diana, but without success.

Who’s going to guide me to my Dianas and my Mitchells? Don’t yet know. 24 years at this have found serious butterfly folks to be more than reluctant to do so. I’m just a lonely boy, lonely and . . . .

Jeff

Thoughts On Going Back

Georgia Satyr Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, Florida's Panhandle

I learned long ago don’t go back. When your life paths go different ways, don’t go back. Move on to other objectives, for this world provides what. hundreds of millions of them, be they people, pursuits or objectives.

It’s gotten very cool here in central Georgia, and butterflies flew here in the backyard just 2 days ago, Checkered skippers, Cloudywings, Carolina satyrs and others. Looking out this window, I admit that I miss the Monarchs that were here 3 days ago, the Palamedes swallowtail seen in October, the squads of Gulfs all over my natives garden and the exciting singletons including: Pipevinve swallowtails, Spicebush swallowtails, Giant swallowtails, Great purple hairstreak, Variegated fritillary, Long-tailed skippers and dozens of others. This garden that I dreamed of, for what? 25 years or more, has been realized. Dozens of host plants enable to to hope that next year, their 2nd year in, will be Gangbusters!

Why ‘gangbusters?’ When (and if?) my treasured Hackberries, Cedars, Hercules Clubs, Hop trees, Native Black Cherries, Asters, Hibiscuses, Coneflowers, Black willows, Spicebush, Pipevines, Hollies, Milkweeds, Clethra, Pussytoes, Mountain Mints, Sassafras, Tulip Poplars, Crotons, Magnolias . . . Yep, there all in, and if they go through this winter OK, OMG!

Where’s this headed Jeff? Well I scoured our Media Library here on wingedbeauty.com, and I saw images I am proud of, images that I knew are fine, for I knew how difficult it was to capture them, and yes, images like this one of a Georgia Satyr butterfly at Big Bend Wildlife Management Area in the Florida Panhandle. It was late August, and when I got there, sunny, hot and no wind, it was everything that the article in the Spring/Summer 2015 issue of American Butterflies had suggested, loaded with southeastern butterflies.

I was there to expand my bank of good images, and to see new butterflies. Georgia satyrs, “LC” (Locally common) as per Jeff Glassberg in A Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America, were at the top of my list. They were there, and that side tram, 2 or 3 to be found. They were very docile, and allowed approach (Macro-).

I had on a fine coat of Off! so mosquitoes did not bother me. But, the humidity was brutal, and the sweat was overrunning my headband, onto my eyes and my glasses. I remember thinking that this was Nuts! I had travelled those 4 and 1/2 hours down from Eatonton, for just these moments, and now . . .  I could barely see clearly. If only Gunga Din was there with me, handing me fresh, dry glasses every 3 minutes.

That, and the built-in light meter in my Canon film camera was not working properly. I think I remember laughing there, what can happen next, a Burma python or 11′ ‘gator appearing from the swamp, just 10 feet away? I was on my belly, and disregarding my father’s teaching: Keep your guard up, protect your face, hold your ground.

So I share this image of the Georgia with you, knowing that only the really in-to-it haver stayed, this far into this blog post. Are there schools of thought for ‘Going back?’

I am stoked for 2019, my own garden lighting me up, and the strong inner push to get back there in April 2019, when that NABA article written by David Harder, Virginia Craig, Dean Jue and Sally Jue noted that Georgia’s fly once again. Florida Fish and Game took my call and they looked forward to Big Bend being workable soon, after that terrible Hurricane several weeks ago.

If you’ve read this far, I owe you a large lollipop, for sure!

Jeff

HolyLand Butterfly ID?

Hipparchia pisidice butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Meron, Israel

We’re on Mt. Meron in the Upper Galilee Region. Jews, Christians and Muslims value this region, at the very northern edge of Israel today. Me? I’m finding butterflies the entire time up on Meron.

I’ve already met some of them, most of them. Every once in a while, I catch a fleeting glimpse of a butterfly I do not know. One I never met before.

This one, Sherlock Holmes, is one new to me. Israel’s field guides? They’re helpful, but they are mostly written in Hebrew, and they have years to go before they can be described as ‘Excellent.’

This one is grouped with the Satyrs, but it differs much from the images in Dubi Binyamini’s landmark field guide.

Israeli Butterflies flee on approach, most when you’re 10-15 feet away. That to anticipate your curiousity, ‘Why didn’t Jeff get closer?’

I hope that Yaron or Oz or Dubi will come along and help us here. What is this HolyLand satyr?

Jeff