Biblical Butterflying

Blue-Spotted Arab Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in Ein Gedi Israel

Blue Arab. I still puzzle over the common name given to this HolyLand butterfly. I was determined to see and shoot them. There was this aura of different, of exotic and almost inaccessible for me. I’m not especially fond of travel, and surely don’t like traveling alone. How’d I get there? Took the train south from Binyamina, past thousands and thousands of acres of lush agriculture, to Beir Sheva University station. Took a bus from the train station, past hundreds and hundreds of Bedouin homes, then along the west coast of the Dead Sea, to my destination, the SPNI field house at Ein Gedi. 93F and bone dry.

This is the same Ein Gedi that features prominently in the history of Christians and Jews. It remains tiny, and undeveloped. It is something to behold, for there is where you get the scale and sense of what it was like, at least some sense of that time.

There was an ancient synagogue there, and it was not much like today’s centrally air conditioned types. I was near constantly tickled with the stark reality of the place. Really, I was. So many walked there, fled to there, studied there, dreamed there. The connection to us is moving, very.

This male Blue Arab butterfly denied my getting too close, though he did allow this camera click, and it nicely reveals much.


Barred Yellow Butterfly

Barred Yellow butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Harris Neck State Park, GA

On day one at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, I parked at the Refuge Office. Oddly the office was closed. August 2018. Their office butterfly garden was a good one, and it was busy with butterflies. Skippers of several species flew, a Pipeline Swallowtail appeared and disappeared.

After some 30 minutes or so, I wandered along the margins of the Park Office road, and I saw it. A tiny yellow butterfly, flying gently from one tiny wildflower to the next. It’s manner of flight was new to me, and that raise the excitement level much!

Many minutes of tracking this slow flying, but acrobatic butterfly explained why I didn’t know it. Barred Yellow butterflies are not found in western Pennsylvania nor are they found in the New York City Area. They are resident from South Carolina to Louisiana and in very southern Texas.

He was one of 3 Barred Yellows seen that morning, all on the cut berm of the Refuge Office road.

Why’d I share this image. Barred Yellows must have attended US Air Force jet fighter pilot training, for they are exceedingly difficult to follow, as they twist, turn and spin in flight. Approach them, and they fly to a new spot 15 feet away. Reapproach and that game begins anew. This image was the closest I could approach, and my Macro- lens (IS) was relieved to get so much as this!


The ‘Betty’ Butterfly?

Cloudless sulphur butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

When you’re out in the field as much as some of us are, my thoughts are dominated by “Can I find this one, will my search for that one be rewarded?” The Lower Rio Grande Valley was just that, every step, each turned corner, frought with excitement. Reminds me of the time when poor as dirt Jeff worked as a messenger in NYNY (to pay to eat while in college) and was given a package to deliver to the Radio City Music Hall dressing room, to one of the Rockettes. So I’m 19 years old, and when I get to the dressing room with the package, the guy watching the door tells me to just take it right in, and I look at him and think (((WHAT!!!)). So I go in with the package, and truth be told, I could barely breathe what with the . . . Given a choice, I’d still choose the RCMHall dressing room over the National Butterfly Center, but Oh! how similar they were to me.

With all this seeking/searching/scoping and scanning habitats for butterflies, rare, protected, short of flight butterflies, it often strikes me that we sure overlook lots of ‘common’ species. Photographing in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat I in Eatonton, Georgia, the extensive beds of Senna produced squadrons of these Cloudless Sulphur butterflies.

Each day from June to October, these gorgeous, big yellow butterflies surround you and you begin to ignore their presence. When I searched the Media Library of, I stopped here, for it struck me, made me consider how we rush past these beauts, with their large white as milk spots, and almost never choose them to share with you. Why hesitate to share? For fear that you, our audience will recoil, thinking Oh yeah, and discount them on sight, as though she’s the Betty, the girl in the Archie comic book series, living next door to Archie, but might as well be invisible to the catchable red headed hero.


My Sleepy Orange Entry

Sleepy Orange butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat I, Eatonton, GA

Several years of driving down to Eatonton, Georgia, and I have not ever been satisfied with my captures of Sleepy Orange butterflies. I can’t even guess how many times I crouched down to photograph them on diminutive wildflowers, or stretched to get a Sleepy while it was nectaring on the Butterfly and Blooms in the Briar Patch’s Tithonia. 200 times? Maybe more.

You didn’t see much of my Sleepy campaign, for mostly I was not pleased with what I got.

Pleased I am now to share this look at Eurema nicippe. A smallish yellow butterfly, very camera shy, especially when approached by a big lug, sporting a Canon Macro- lens, with the chutzpah to want to approach ‘OL Sleepy just 18 inches from lens to antennae.

Sleepy? Yep!


A Protected Sweetheart of a Butterfly

Anthocharis Damones (Protected), photographed by Jeff Zablow on Qedesh trail, Israel

They fly down trails almost recklessly, seeking suitable mates. I wanted an image of Anthocharis damone. Other visits to this Kedesh trail in the Upper Galilee region of Israel . . . left me frustrated. I saw A. damone, but despite my pleas, they never stopped! This male did, and I shot away, scoring this ‘I’ll take it’ image as this flier made its quick stop to nectar up on this member of the pea family. This was March ’15, and that’s when they fly. A rare, increasingly difficult to find butterfly. Jeff, in the right place and right time! Jeff, eyeing this ‘pat’ of butter on the wing, with a dab of tangerine on each forewing tip.

This by way of sharing. I just received a call from Paul in Silver Spring, Maryland (USA, near D.C). Paul and Aviva just added a son to their family! Mazal Tov!

All in the right time. Thrilled to revisit this exciting image from an earlier trip to the HolyLand and thrilled to shout out that I am once again . . . a grandparent!