Caper White Butterfly (HolyLand)

Not Dayton Ohio or Missoula, Montana. The coastal plain of Israel, the HolyLand at the village of Binyamina. Some 10 miles from the Mediterranean Sea, near Dina & Misha’s orchards.

Studying this Caper White, requires that I continue to remind myself that this is NOT a U.S. Cabbage white butterfly.

I must too remind myself that the number of butterfly species that one can find defies your imagination. G-d is a prolific painter of beauty, is what I often think.

Jeff

Middle Eastern White Butterfly

Lycaena Thersamon Omphale Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in Binyamina, Israel

Seen in the coastal plains of Israel, the HolyLand, Anaphaeis aurota caught my attention, it so different from Israel and U.S. butterflies. The white was milk white and his contrasting black wing margins stood out, much.

Found in Israel, the Egyptian Sinai region and presumably Jordan and Lebanon, A. aurota flies from June to December.

Another that Jesus, Joshua and Aaron surely also enjoyed seeing. Binyamina, Israel, near Caeseria and Netanya.

Jeff

2nd Dibs At Rare Butterflies?

Levantine marbled white butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Hermon, Israel

Jackpot! is how I felt when the very rare cousin flew to this wildflower. This tiny nectar pump of a bloom must have delivered enough nectar to keep this Parnassian there long enough. Long enough for me to shoot her out, and earn several good exposures of her. There at the peak of Mt. Hermon, with my hired guide, I relished these moments, knowing how much I wanted to see and photograph Parnassius mnemosyne. If I had found one at all, I would have expected it to be a male, for male butterflies are much more active then females, most spending 91.83% of their times flying, searching for hidden female suitors. That she came out when I was nearby, well, that was super terrific.

Doesn’t it take some reckoning to accept that she is closely related to swallowtail butterflies? More akin to a tiger swallowtail butterfly than to a cabbage white? How’d I get to the only place in the Middle East that P. mnemosyne can be found? A long drive up a mountain road that twists and turns, some of them nearly 90 degrees cut out of the mountain, and then a cable car ride up the mountain, challenging my, lets’s call it concern re: heights, and then a long hike across the peak of Mt. Hermon, arriving there on this arid peak, in 93 degree heat and unrelenting sun. And there was that land mine that Eran found, right where we were tracking butterflies.

Just back from Israel 6 days ago, this 2008 memory reminds me that we who search for butterflies, birds, darners, moths, cats, martens, snakes, . . . . probably all weigh a question. That question is: Though I have seen this Very rare butterfly some years ago, and copped some good images, . . . why is it that I keep thinking that I’d like to see her again? Is there any sound reason to search for her, and see her, again?

In this case the peak of Mt. Hermon looks down to the carnage of . . . Syria. A guide would again be needed, and even so, the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) closes the mountain top to us, as necessary, and often without warning. Further in this case, there is the ‘icky’ knowledge that if you could return there, say 12 days ago when I was on the mountain, you would have been under near constant surveillance by the IDF, the UN, and Syrian, perhaps Russian, perhaps American and perhaps Iranian, and perhaps ISIL and perhaps Salafist . . . . Risky? All to see Parnassius mnemosyne and 10 or 11 other protected butterflies???

Jeff

No Anaphaeis Aurota, Irregardless

Caper White Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow

Years fly by, and as they do, we learn more, and understand more. Several years ago, I was charmed by a sizable flight of Anaphaeis aurota in picturesque Binyamina. This Israeli town is now much sought after by new homeowners, and houses are being built throughout the town. Found north of Tel Aviv, it is a short drive from Caesaeria ( with its Roman and Greek ruins, tony  restaurants and newly built villas ) and Netanya ( featuring a French Riviera type beach ), and with a train station there, Binyamina is an easy train commute to Tel Aviv.

Binyamina is located in a vast, fertile valley, that provides Israel with much of its beloved crops: oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, avocados, mangos and bananas. The government wisely has insured that extraordinary valley’s farmland remains agricultural, and that is good, for those same farmlands give nurture to butterflies and wildlife along its margins. This sweetheart of a male was seen and photographed along a dirt road amongst those Binyamina orchards.

Home just days now, , I so wanted to meet Anaphaeis aurota again, and get good looks at females, they slightly larger than males, and a bit differently marked.

But time has taught me that you can’t will that you see a butterfly, for . . . though your visit is finite, butterflies fly when they fly, and this one flies in Israel from the middle of June to early December. I arrived in late March and flew home to Pittsburgh on April 25th, departing from Ben Gurion airport at just 45 minutes after midnight.

Irregardless of your schedule, butterflies have theirs. They fly when their hostplants are about, and to see them, you must do the same, fly in when the plants that their caterpillars eat are in full vigor, and when the adult butterflies can do as this one is doing, nectaring on suitable flowers, or drinking available sap, or depending upon sufficient scat, dropped here and there.

Jeff

 

September 2016 in the Briar Patch Habitat

Jeff Zablow at Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch, Autumn 2016, Eatonton, GA

Just 31 hours ago, I pulled into my Pittsburgh home. Three weeks (3) in Eatonton, Georgia at the Butterfly & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat. Three glorious weeks with butterflies . . . everywhere!

Northeastern USA groaned, with few butterflies of any species aloft. Georgia had the opposite. Butterflies were in abundance everywhere where I went.

Never, ever have I seen more butterflies at one time then I did here at the Habitat. Not even in museum, conservatory or aviary enclosures, have I seen what I saw there, for all of those weeks. It just took words out of you. My tops for this trip was 26 different species in a single morning. Back in August, it was a whopping 29 species in a morning. Holy Molley!

Here, we had spotted a rare, uncommon Checkered White butterfly. I photographed this male, all the while, Virginia C Linch (the founder of this miracle! in central Georgia) recorded me.

Did you hear my whispered Thank Y-u’s from your perch in Pennsylvania, France, New York, Georgia, Ohio, Toronto or Israel?

I’ll be back full force in several days, with lots of new images, and no shortage of sharing.

Jeff