Birders on the Peak of Israel’s Mt. Hermon

Birders photographed by Jeff Zablow at on Mt. Hermon, Israel

Eran and I were surprised to find these men on the peak of Mt. Hermon. Eran was my guide, and we were there to find the rare butterflies that called this mountaintop home. Who were these men?

Eran recognized the man on the right, he another Israeli guide. The man on the left with the Canon long lens was a ‘birder’ who had travelled from Germany to see birds as they travelled across Hermon in their annual migrations. Mt. Hermon is a crossroad for millions of birds that migrate to and from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Footprints from James Audubon, Roger Tory Peterson, James Fisher and E. O. Wilson may well also be found in this very same spot.

I’d travelled to Mt. Hermon from Pittsburgh. The gentleman on the left from Germany. It made sense to me. To you?


Photographing a Rare Butterfly on Israel’s Highest Mountaintop

Rare Copper Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mt. Hermon, Israel

Mt. Hermon is the HolyLand’s highest mountain top. We were there to find and photograph the rare butterflies that live there, and in some cases, nowhere else. On that desolate peak, we found a good number of them. All flew at high speed, so capturing images wasn’t easy. Add to that the searing heat that June day, well into the 90’s Fahrenheit, the enormity of the top of that mountain, and, after Eran, my guide, found that unexploded land mine (from the 1967 War?), the edginess of following butterflies off-trail on Mt. Hermon.,

I’ve studied Dubi  Benyamini’s A Field Guide To The Butterflies of Israel carefully, still not able to make an identification of this Fritillary butterfly seen there. Hopefully, Shalev, Oz or Rachael will aid us in its ID. Melitaea Persia montium?

Visiting Mt. Hermon in the HolyLand, via that cable car climb to its 7,000 found peak? Unforgettable.


On the Mountain Serving as the Border between Israel and Syria

Cattle on Mt. Hermon, Israel photographed by Jeff Zablow, 6/16/08

Cattle on Mt. Hermon, Israel photographed by Jeff Zablow, 6/16/08

I do. I’ll not ever forget that morning on the peak of Mt. Hermon, the mountain that served as the border between Israel and Syria. At 7,000 feet above sea level, my guide, Eran, and I expected to be alone on that June boiling hot ‘top of the world’ mountain top. Not so, for see who we shared it with?

We theorized that these were Syrian owned cattle that regularly climbed Hermon to graze on its limited fare.

We marvel at the view here. It’s history, for sure. The mid-ground and background here capture Syria before it became its present Armageddon killing fields. Before Syrian army, Hezbollah, Russian ‘advisors,’ Cuban ‘advisors,’ Hamas, North Korean ‘advisors,’ Chinese ‘advisors,’ Pakistani ‘advisors.’ bin Laden’s men and more arrived to kill, rape and force out the tens of thousands who lived there. Ugh!

Me? I was there to find and to photograph rare butterflies, butterflies that lived there, and . . . nowhere else. Did I?


Added to the experiences I’ve had that I shall not forget. Good.


“Oh Where, Oh Where Should This . . . .”

Jeff Zablow on Peak of Mt. Hermon Israel

This? One of the highlights of the last decades, JLZ, Me, on the peak of Mt. Hermon in the HolyLand. At 7,000 feet plus, you see distant Lebanon behind me. I am standing in Israel, and calamitous Syria, that killing field, is roughly at the 4 O’Clock point in this image.

Why was I there? For butterflies that fly only on the mountain top. It’s easy for me to daydream of Joshua, Jesus, Jacob, Israel, Rabbi Akiva and Menachem Begin standing on this very same stop, awed and grateful to G-d.

Butterflies will still fly here in Georgia through November, then only on mild winter days.

I am daydreaming too of next year. The eternal optimist, I’m thinking of where my quest for new new (for me), rare and gorgeous butterflies . . . to meet and photograph.

Few in the last decades have offered. Offered that I drive hundreds of miles to their home base, and join them on their trails, and their secret butterfly habitats. Now, me a bit seasoned, several have thrown out the butterfly ‘lifeline’ to me for 2021. I am Bigtime grateful to those of you who did.

I respectfully ask you where do you suggest that I travel in 2021 to meet my new butterflies? “Oh where, Oh where should this – – – – – boy go?”


Blue HolyLand Butterfly

Common Blue Butterfly at Mt. Hermon, Israel

There are several species of Blue butterflies that you might see on Mt. Hermon in the HolyLand (Israel). They are all tiny, and identifying them requires that you see both the upper (dorsal) wing and the lower (ventral) wing surfaces.

When I saw this one, there at the northeastern tip of Israel, this bluer than blue dorsal wing surface kind of shocked me. I was so fixated by this extra ordinary blue that I forget the make sure that I saw its ventral wing patterns.

Sitting here with our Israel Butterfly field guide, by Dubi Benjamin, I can’t be sure of its species. It’s blue as blue can be, and that’s just got to do. No?