Been to the Arava Valley, Dead Sea area? That’s the arid strip that has Israel on its west and Jordan on the east side. That’s where you’d have to go to see this Blue-Spotted Arab Butterfly.
I went there. I took the Israel train to the Beer’sheva University station and caught a bus for a nearly 2 hour drive down a gently descending landscape, to Ein Gedi.
Blue-Spotted Arabs were why I went there. They looked so different, so exotic.
I stayed in the SPNI Ein Gedi guest quarters. Didn’t have a rental car, and glad of that, for the bus ride from the train station passed hundreds of homes whose Bedouin residents probably . . .
Here we go again. Jeff? Why don’t you share images of this butterfly that are more easily seen? Well, Elvira, they prefer rock strewn habitat, and each and every time you attempt to cross over the rock to exercise your Macro- lens, they would 23 skidoo!
They were mostly seen along the ‘walls’ lining Wadis (bone dry riverbeds) and that was a crapshoot, for the wadis sported signs Warning!!! all to not enter the wadi, for should a snap! storm hit, those wadis suffer surges of water of incredible ferocity. I’m here with you, so good, there were no such that day.
In the last year I’ve walked down streets in Pittsburgh, PA; Savannah, GA; Irvine, CA; Brooklyn, NY; Jerusalem, Israel and New York, NY. People watching is quite interesting. I always see an infinite number of faces, shapes, dresses, types of walk, etc. You never know who you will see next. Will they exchange glances? Will they greet you with a “Hello!” Will they reciprocate your joy of living, joy of experiencing live in its fullest, and for the near future, joy of your freedom from chaos, mayhem and evil?
So it is when you move through a habitat to find and photograph butterflies. You already know most of them, and they don’t vary much from one to the next, until? Well this female caught my eye while I was photographing the site of an 800 year old, excavated synagogue in Ein Gedi, Israel. It was a tiny butterfly; her proboscis was actively collecting nectar from this bush, and she tolerated my careful approach. Azanus Ubaldus populations are found from the Dead Sea south to the tip of the Sinai Peninsula and then along the western coast of the Sinai (D. Benyamini, A Field Guide to the Butterflies of Israel). Moments later, she is gone!
The feeling of satisfaction that follows an encounter with a butterfly I’ve not ever met before is . . . Well you know the feeling. We all experience it, however it is triggered in each of us.
This is our fourth post of Colotis Phisadia, otherwise known as a Blue-Spotted Arab Butterfly. Hours of travel and three mornings of dedicated pursuit yielded a good result. Residing in Wadi David at Ein Gedi, this is one dedicated butterfly.
The Blue-Spotted Arab Butterfly has spent much of this morning making his rounds, never flying too far from his starting point. In full rich color, he patiently waits for the opportunity to display his primacy and his genetic finery to potential mates.
The Wadi David at Ein Gedi was bone-dry. It’s inevitable that at some point we pause and ask, “How do these butterflies satisfy their need for water?” The sky drizzled rain drops the next morning, for just about five minutes.
For those of you who haven’t yet seen the three other posts of Blue-Spotted Arab’s, we photograph with a Macro Lens, using a hand-held camera. This is one tough butterfly to approach, especially in the Wadi. Our images were the result of much negotiation. The butterfly allowed us to approach within four feet, and we agree not to come one inch closer. A successful negotiation in the Middle East. Good.
The Colotis Phisadia males have been already been posted. Happily, we can introduce this female Blue-Spotted Arab Butterfly. You might be wondering about the wildflower she is sitting on. It’s not known.
In my travel, males were much more numerous and available for photographing than females. The males spent many more hours flying and resting. She has different goals. Her primary one is eating nectar. We discussed how skittish this species is. It’s well and good that this one allowed a moderate approach by a photographer.
Females show a more pronounced yellow. Of the photographs we took, we prefer this image, with its display of both ventral and dorsal wing.
I miss those December mornings at Ein Gedi. Like any exotic habitat that you are lucky enough to visit, you never know what you’ll see one minute to the next. How do you know when you are so blessed? You know because you find yourself frequently checking what time it is, reluctantly acknowledging that morning is quickly slipping away. In the afternoon, there’s way too much sun to capture images of winged beauties.
Our second post to-date of Colotis Phisadia in Wadi David at Ein Gedi, Israel. He has spent a good deal of time scouring his tight territorial perimeter for suitable female mates, and he’s now taking a brief rest.
Followers of wingedbeauty.com will now understand that Blue-Spotted Arabs are loathe to be approached. Are they skittish? Yes. So with 3 mornings of photography fieldwork, this is the dorsal (upper) exposure that I will share with you.
Is he flying in an oasis? Sounds like a dreamy existence. Don’t we often view television and video commercials teasing us with the vices of oasis life: drink, sun, and sensuality? Our boy butterfly doesn’t quite seem to have it that good. Nevertheless, he looks pretty handsome, well nourished, and content that he doesn’t have to spend a $$$ ransom to travel to his Wadi from the U.S. or Brazil or the U.K. or Tokyo or Sydney.
They sure gave them a name, didn’t they?
For our followers, 2013 will be a fine year. I am looking forward to photographing butterflies from the National Butterfly Center near the Texas/Mexican border, and if the military situation doesn’t change, from Israel’s northern-most part of Golan– plus a surprise or two.