We here in the USA have a butterfly that we see nearly everywhere, one that is so familiar that we hardly notice it. The Orange Sulphur flies in meadows and gardens. Seeing a fresh one? A real pick me up, no?
In the HolyLand (Israel) a closely related yellow flies, the Large Salmon Arab butterfly (Madais fausta). It too loves to nectar on wildflowers and on garden blooms.
This male was seen north of Tel Aviv, in the village of Binyamina. I was visiting family there, and took a walk along farming roads, along the edges of orange, tangerine and grapefruit orchards. He was intent upon nectaring, and tolerated my Macro- approach some. Was it hot? Yes, some 91F Middle East hot, but the rewards for me were real and loved.
What a coup! A male Anthocharis Damone Syra butterfly, protected because of its scarcity, in the Upper Galilee region of the HolyLand, Israel. I very much wanted to score an image of this richly colored butterfly, and I met them in March 2012 and again in March 2015.
Images shared in field guides often disappoint, for in the printing, color usually loses its real life richness. I’m sitting here with an Israeli field guide for butterflies, and the images of this Anthocharis is not only washed out looking, but it’s an image of a pinned, collected butterfly.
My images are shot with Fuji Velvia slide film, and I do that for, I am told, I’m a purist, and want real-time color. The image here very much approximates the hues of this butterfly that I saw on Kedesh trail, south of Kiryat Shemona, in the uppermost Galilee.
Our next chance to revisit Israel’s Galilee and Golan regions (lush, green and hilly to mountainous = not the arid desert some imagine when they think of Israel) may well be in May or June of 2020.
Hey, did you notice that sharp little purplish bloom in the right of the image?
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.
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!
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 wingedbeauty.com, 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.