We met along those rough agricultural roads in Mishmarot, Israel. Amidst agricultural orchards planted with orange, grapefruit and tangerine trees, lined up as far as your eye can see.
A dainty Israeli blue butterfly is common enough in the HolyLand. The seeker of butterflies toiled in his brain, Don’t I already have good images of this Lampides?
Blush, for even though that is true, this sweetie sipped nectar so slowly, so regally, that up came the 100mm/2.8 Macro- lens, and I shot away. When an eye pleaser like this one, a fine example of its species, and fresh out of its ‘make-up’ before camera shoot session presents itself, there remains no other choice than to Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!
Absent a steady menu of butterflies, my mind and my eyes scan for beauty, the new, the yet unknown, and I forever look for the inexplicable. It’s the inexplicable here in the native growth along the berm of an unimproved agricultural dirt road in Mishmarot, Israel.
My Handbook of Wildflowers of Israel – Mediterranean Flora by Darom and Shmida, is written in Hebrew, so I am at some disadvantage. Nonetheless, this would be Notobasis syriaca, and the timing is right, with this viewed in April 2017.
The oft asked question, for me, is, is this film worthy? Your response, remains a question for me. Me? The color, severe angles and impressive armament of this plant evokes much for me, mostly of a life in Brooklyn, and on the subways, when I too carried long cold steel, in my pocket.
Standing there, shooting away, trying for a good look ar Notobasis, I rattled off in my mind the HolyLand Patriarchs and Matriarchs who must surely have also stopped at these wonders of Creation, and admired, just as I did.
Panning through our Media Library of images (those that stayed while the other 45,000 or so were culled), I stopped several times, to reminisce. Those of you who have been traveling with us for years now, remember this one.
You who joined our adventures more recently, quickly know that it’s a Danaus. But which one, where?
We stopped here, mostly because last week I saw no fewer than several thousand milkweed Danaus butterflies in the Rio Grand Valley, in Mission, Texas. The numbers were staggering. Thousands of Queens, dozens of Soldiers and a handful of Monarchs. It was extraordinary, seeing big beautiful Danaus, 3 species no less, in the last week of December. The boy from Brooklyn was blown away by the thought! butterflies at Christmas time, and in huge numbers.
This one seen here is the Plain Tiger butterfly, in Mishmarot, Israel. Probably also seen in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt, but that I will never be able to personally confirm. Nor do I wish to see you travel there, for the risks are as real as the risks were back when I was a kid.
What can you say when you admire a fresh Danaus?
Know from earlier posts, that we remain impressed by the saber-sharp armament borne by HolyLand thistles, and many, many other wildflowers in Israel. This healthy flowerhead was so armed. The needle-sharp points and the attractive purple of the whole flowerhead earned a long look. I searched a goodly number of these flowers, and chose this one, abutting the agricultural fields of Mishmarot, Israel. A 20-minute drive west to the Mediterranean Sea, and a 55-minute drive to Tel-Aviv, this valley bears rich farmland, and wildlife.
Shooting a goodly number of exposures, to insure getting a suitable one, this honeybee showed up, and that was good. The oranges, tangerines, pomegranates, lemons, grapefruit, grapes, figs and other fruit of this valley all depend on these honeybees for pollination. It’s that thing about being in the Land of Milk & Honey.