Rare Large Yellow You’ll Never Get To See

Gonepteryx farinosa butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Hermon, Israel

He’s a rare, very yellow butterfly, that you will never, ever get to see. Gonepteryx Farinosa flies in one of the 3 most violent places in the world, the peak of Mt. Hermon.

Crazy no? Here we are anticipating the year 2020, and this exotic large yellow, nectaring on one of Israel’s many species of thistle, lives on huge Mt. Hermon, lives surrounded by Israeli military personnel and sophisticated equipment. Why? Just below the peak of Mt. Hermon, on the northern base of Hermon, are killers. Killers of men, women and children. The last remnants of ISIL, the Syrian military, Hezbollah killers, Iran “advisers” and Iranian irregular killers, Hamas killers from Gaza, Pakistani advisers, North Korean advisers, Chinese advisers, possibly Cuban advisers, Russian advisers and who knows what other maladjusted men and women from the world’s savage countries.

You are unable to ascend Mt. Hermon. The Israeli military will not let you go up to see the 10, 11. or 12 very rare species of butterfly up there.

Me? How did I get this image? I went up to the peak with a guide, Eran, in June 2008, months after Frieda A”H (OBM) passed. My head not doing so well then. This unbelievable trip helped me, much. Was it safe then? It was before Syria was overrun by its own Rebels and by ISIL and the rest of the savage murderers. Even so, I was constantly off the trails (made over thousands of years by domestic cattle that roamed the mountain peak.), and I will never never forget when Eran called me over, to show me an untripped land mine quietly waiting for me to chase a butterfly its way!! That devil of a land mine was left over from earlier hostilities, on that magnificent peak.

Thank G-d for the safety of America and for the safety of nearly all of the 80 nations that some of you live in.

Jeff

992,117.693 Or 4,227,483,097 Phoebis Sennae?

Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly on Pickerel Weed, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, GA

Glassberg’s Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America cites our large, bright yellow Cloudless Sulphur as the “most common Phoebis.” I think that Jeffrey is right. At this moment, September 18th, we have as many as 15 of them flying in our 303 Garden (20 of them?).

They’re a joy to see, flying in shade or 98F sun, moving from our native flowers to our Tithonia (Mexican Sunflower) or Giant Zinnias. They are mostly kind, tolerating the presence of camera lens.

We notice that aren’t much shared here and on Facebook and other sites. That’s not the way it ought to be, for they are numerous, polite and pretty.

This male was seen on Pickerelweed blooms in a pond at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, near the Georgia (USA) coast. Our boots came from there soaked, but no alligators bothered us. Don’t know who the much smaller butterfly was at the bottom left of the pickerelweed flowerstalk?

Jeff

A HolyLand Yellow

Large Salmon Arab Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in Binyamina, Israel

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.

Jeff

Anthocharis Damone Syra in the Galilee

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

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?

Jeff

 

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.

Jeff