From Texas to Mount Meron Israel

Blue spotted hairstreak butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Meron

Eight days in Texas, Mission, Texas. What a cavalcade of butterflies greeted me at the National Butterfly Center! At Bensten State Park and at the nearby, much celebrated ‘Wall.’ Imagine, December 21st through December 27th, and yet, we were seeing so, so many butterflies. One of those days saw the thermometer rise to 80F?

I can’t tell you how many different Hairstreaks we saw, I saw. Many fled before I could grab an image. So many of those AWOL hairstreaks were rare, and all were new to me. I did cache some really special exposures, among them Gold-bordered hairstreak and Tropical greenstreak. Very soon, I will have those scanned, and want you to see them when I do. I fly to Southern Texas, in the last week of December, and am greeted with gorgeous, rare Hairstreaks. Neat, Huh?

All that led me to thinking of HolyLand hairstreaks. This beaut, found on Mt. Meron, in the Upper Galilee, is Strymonidia spini melantho. She, as some hairstreaks do, ‘posed’ for me, as she methodically nectared.

It just reminds me how Thankful I am that, me and my Macro- (100mm/2.8) Canon lens have made so many successful approaches, and enjoyed as many good-enough hairstreak images, as we have scored.


On Pins and Needles . . .

Apharitis Cilissa butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Meron, Israel

My timing? Perfect for finding a flight of Apaharitis Cillisa, on Mt. Meron in the upper Galilee, the HolyLand, Israel.

After seeing quite a few fly, I wanted to catch a good shot of those teeny, tiny wings as they gently undulated back and forth. Why? Because when those hindwings moved back and forth, the exquisite coppery-red color of the upperwing peeked out, and it was a treat to see it. Here you see my best result, a pleasing share of both dorsal and ventral wing. I wanted to capture this sweet look, and I think I did.

Just 2 days ago, Dwayne’s Photo (Parsons, Kansas, USA) emailed me. My 27 rolls of Fuji Velvia slide film has been processed, and my slides will arrive tomorrow, NLT noontime.

Pins and Needles. That’s how family used to describe how it felt to wait for something that they really, really wanted badly.

I got my Swift Guide of North American butterflies (Glassberg) in the mail yesterday. John and Nancy strongly recommended it. Last night I poured through it. Pins and Needles!!

Will my slides be keepers? Will those fantastic exposures of mating, hard to find Mexican fritillaries be worthy of sharing. Will those of the largest, most gorgeous Monarch butterflies I’ve ever seen, shot before and during their coupling, meet my own standards?

Imagine my ‘bated breath’ as I recall shooting Erato heliconian, Red-rimmed, Malachite, Gold-bordered hairstreaks, Menstras, Fatal metalmarks, Tropical leafwing, Texas crescents, Julia heliconians and many, many more rare and new to me butterflies. Pins and needles. Needles and pins.


A Nifty HolyLand Butterfly

Lasiommata Megera butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Meron

I’m Thankful that I have been fortunate, fortunate enough to visit Israel nearly every year, since 2008. The HolyLand is where continents come together: Europe: Africa:Asia:The Middle East.

That unique location dishes up butterflies common to many of those continents. HolyLand butterflies are beautiful, swift, and many of wingedbeauty’s Followers really enjoy seeing them.

Lasiomatta Megara seen here on Mt. Meron, a strategic peak in the northern Galilee, jolted me when I spotted it, doing what butterflies do early in the morning. Spring nights are cool on a mountain in the northern Galilee. When morning sun rises, butterflies find perches in that full morning sun, and remain still, while the sun’s rays warm them. Once warm, they can fly at full speed, and avoid the numerous predators that are about.

The challenge was to make my approach in low profile, robotically, and also to not allow my shadow to cross Lasiomatta. This worked, and I got this ‘insurance shot,’ just before our subject did its disappearing act, and at considerable speed.


Lasiommata Megara Emilyssa: the image

Inching Up to Supersonics . . .

Winged Beauty Butterflies

Lasiommata Megera butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Meron Lasiommata Megera butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Meron

It’s been four years. I’ve travelled to Mt. Meron in 2013, ’14, ’15 and in February 2016. This year the Israel National Parks Department closed off my favorite mountain trail. My guess is that storm damage during the winter destroyed so many Eastern Strawberry trees, that they just decided to leave the trail as is, and forbid hikers to use it.

This image of a cool brushfoot butterfly, Lasiommata megara emilyssa was appreciated back in 2013. This photo is the best I could get, for this species flees once you approach within 15 feet of it. I was pleased with this look, with its clear eyespots, wing patterns, antennae and other features. You might be wondering, Is that my shadow to the left of the butterfly?

Good for the time being as I am confident that future visits will score closer…

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A. jesous . . . in the HolyLand (Israel)

Azanous Jesous butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Meron, Israel

Azanous Jesous butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Meron, Israel

Our paths crossed in 2013, while I was working that fabulous trail on the slope of Mt. Meron. I was seeing butterflies each of the mornings that I stayed there, and many were . . . lifers. Israel. The HolyLand. Rachel was now living there for 5 years, met Uri, married, and was Happy!

This tiny beaut flew in and began nectaring. I had no idea what it was. That’s a downside of shooting film, for this one was very quickly vamoose! and over the course of a morning of shooting, looking, watching my footing, I forget details that I saw earlier. Looking by the way across the north, right into Lebanon, into the stronghold of Hezbollah, a very, very bad bunch of boys.

When my slides returned from being processed by Dwayne’s Photo, and flipped open my A Field Guide To The Butterflies of Israel (Dubi Benyamini) and found this butterfly . . . Azanous jesous. Jesous? ID’d in 1849 by Guerin, I to this day consider this name. ?.

What did Guerin, with an accent over the ‘e,’ have in mind? Any feedback much appreciated.

Mary? Sylbie? Jim? Cathy? Curt? Joe? Kim? Kelly? Nancy? John? Robert Michael Pyle? Jeffrey? if, I’ve left you out, please feel free to . . . .