Chaucer’s Favorite Butterflies

Coupled Copper Butterflies I photographed by Jeff Zablow at Neve Ativ, Israel

Imagine how big the smile on Jeff’s face. Almost 2 hours in the meadow on the slope of Mt. Hermon. Jeff chasing Israeli blue butterflies, coppers and other Lycaenidae (the smallest of the butterflies, excluding the skippers). Sure there were many on that sunny morning in March 2017. There just weren’t any ‘new’ ones to be seen.

A sea of small yellow blooms, perhaps 100,000 across the extensive meadow. You who do what I do know how your eyes must constantly scan, scan the meadow flowers that grown no tighter than you ankles.

What am I thinking, that whole time. I’m asking G-d to please not let me be ‘skunked.’ Please enable me. Allow to to go home and share exciting butterfly views.

That was about when this coupled pairs of Lesser Fiery Coppers caught my eye. Lycaena thersamon. They, almost frozen in place, barely moving over perhaps 15 or 20 minutes. Me? I shot, shot, shot, shot. Sun to my back, moving slowly to find good angles, Pop pop pop!

I was ecstatic. Not that I know that Chaucer never visited the slopes of Mt. Hermon, as mentioned in the Bible, but if he did he’d Love these beautiful winged beauties.

Shooting methodically some 40 or so exposures of film, I thought how much I’d like to score a usable image, and one day share it with Cathy, Roger, Virginia, Angela, Marcie, Kelly, Deepthi, Peggy, Patti, Jim, Beth, Mimi, Susan, Mary, Sylbie, Phil, Leslie, Sandra, Linda, Nancy, Barbara Ann, Dave and you.

Jeff, seeking to please, in the upper, Upper Golan, 3 miles from the barbaric war raging  in Syria.


Israel Shoots Down Syrian Warplane

Mt. Hermon, Israel photographed by Jeff Zablow from Qedesh trail, Israel

Some of us go beyond, way beyond to find and photograph . . . butterflies. Ian is currently abroad, doing just that.

Me? Two years ago I was standing right at the base of this photo, trying to score this shot. Was in a village in the upper Galilee, and we are looking to the northeast. That is Mt. Hermon, snow covered that March morning.

This morning, USA time, the Israeli IDF (Israeli Defense Forces’ IAF) intercepted and shot down a Syrian fighter jet that flew into Israel. On the north face of Mt. Hermon, Syria is at war with its own “rebels.” It’s more complicated than even that, for the Syrian Army has Iranian regulars, Hezbollah, Russians, North Koreans, Pakistanis and more fighting with them. Who live on the face and base of this Mt. Hermon? Israelis in bucolic little villages, with one or two small cities widely separated.

In 2008 I was there on that 7,000 foot high Mount Hermon, photographing very, very rare butterflies.

Butterflies and air battles? Not a wholesome mix. No?

Funny. I so often see TV reports with crowds of people yellling for “Peace.” Tsk! that they are too Pollyana to understand how to achieve that of which they yell for.


When You See A Rare One In The HolyLand

Nordmannia Myrtale butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Hermon, Israel

Eran Banker was my guide, who went with me to the top of Mt. Hermon, in the HolyLand (Israel). Israel on the south face of the mountain, Syria on the north face. Why? More than 10 species of butterfly are found on that mountain peak, but no where else. That really enticed me. Eran lugged liters of water that 95F day, and we spent many hours up there, in full, unrelenting sun.

Did we see ’em? Yes, I saw many rare, Protected Species. Not a one nectared peacefully on those sparse little blooms up there. All flew in fast, nectared faster, and left just as quickly. I was unable to photograph many, trying to negotiate large rock . . . and later, a bit shaken when Eran called me over to show me a landmine, lurking there for decades. Landmines? set just where the butterflies fly. Hmmm.

I tell you, seeing and being able to shoot Protected Species is a very satisfying experience. You pause after, to applaud yourself for your great success, and soon you dwell on how privileged you have been to have met such a rare winged beauty.

Our female Nordmannia myrtale evoked such joy and introspection. It flew in, landed on that flat leaf, and happily suffered my cautious approach.

Me, the street kid from Brooklyn, on the peak of Mt. Hermon, with G-d’s winged gems . . .


8 Years And No ID On This Moth

Moth photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Hermon, Israel

What you remember amidst all that you forget. It’s been 8 years since this moth flew toward where I was standing, on the peak of Mt. Hermon. The south face of Hermon is war ravaged Syria, just to add some spicy irony to this setting.

It’s not a butterfly, yes, but the peak of this mountain supports many very rare butterflies, and I thought, Hey! this might be a very rare moth! So I shot away, that June 2008. You see my image of this beautiful creature. posted this photo, asking for ID from our moth experts.


Of course I try one more time. Anyone able to ID this Middle Eastern moth? found on top of Mt. Hermon?