“The Most Dangerous Place . . . . “

Cow Grazing on Mt. Hermon photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mt. Hermon, Israel

Chilling. I just read that this serene, picturesque landscape is no more. I was there in June of 2008. Frieda A”H passed away in January of 2008. Rachel left her SEC job that same month, and emigrated to Israel. She joined a large CPA firm there, in Tel Aviv. I visited to see her, see family there, and find rare butterflies on the peak of Mt. Hermon. At the northernmost extreme of the Golan Region, Mt. Hermon boasts as many sas 12 species of butterflies that can be found nowhere else in the world.

I hired Eran Banker, a guide, and off we went. Rode the cable car up to the top, a HuGe show of guts, for I am very uncomfortable with heights, and 7,000 feet is very, very high. Eran is a big man, and he lugged liters of water for us up there, in sun 100% of the time, temperatures in the low 90’s, and drier than dry.

We found some of those very rare butterflies, many of those images shared here in wingedbeauty.com posts. Eran gave me a heads-up when he called me over, and showed me a very scary looking land mine, in an area on the peak that I was working, in my search for butterflies. Chilling! Waiting since the Six Day War for?

We also saw cattle browsing on the peak, cattle owned by Syrians at the base of the northern side of Hermon. This hefty bovine is calmly seeking desirables amid the rock strewn peak. Huh? I looked at them, they looked at us, and went on munching.

The background you see is Syria. Minutes before I began this post, I read that it’s brimming with Syrian army and irregulars, Syrian rebels, Iranian army regular, Iranian irregulars, Russian advisors and technicians (and ?), Hezbollah terrorists, North Korean technical advisors, Pakistani technical advisors, U.S. technical advisors and special forces and who know who else, is “the most dangerous place in the world” now.

2008 and my search for butterflies on Mt. Hermon. 2018 and war, across the very same arid land that you and this cow can see. Will this merit your Comment?

Jeff

The Culmination Butterfly

Zebra Heliconian butterfly on Tithonia II, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat I, Eatonton, GA

Valentine’s Day is waning. A disgruntled student did the unthinkable in Florida and politics wash over our USA media by the hour. I’ve just opened the wingedbeauty.com Media Library. More than 800 images rest there. Many have been used, some of them several times. This one, seen last July 2017, called to me, like the puppy in the litter than catches your eye, and waddles over to capture your heart.

It hit me. This is a classic Culmination butterfly, surrounded by culmination growth, Mexican sunflower plants in the Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat I. I took this photo just months before Virginia and crew began unearthing most of the hundred of perennials, bushes and trees there and replanted them a mile+ away, in Habitat II. We are looking at a Zebra heliconian butterfly, enjoying a brunch of Tithonia nectar.

Why is this a Culmination butterfly? This is the product of the boy from the streets of Brooklyn, not so big, but good with his hands, who grew up in brick, concrete and asphalt, with crazies on the streets. The kid who never even saw the golden spoon. The one who went to college by New York subway and had to work after classes to eat. I carried long steel on those hundreds of subway rides through bad places. I hitched with Reed from Binghamton, NY to Miami, Florida in 1962, and nearly got killed about 20 times in the 1962 Deep South. Joined the NYARNG, was a cannoneer on 155mm towed, completed OCS, married beyond my dreams and had 4 children. I left teaching after they refused to promote me and did better than good in NYNY real estate. I was betrayed by “partners,” but did not do to them what my now well connected childhood friends did to those who . . .  I sent kids to Wash U and to the Ivies and then relocated to Pittsburgh. I returned to teaching HS Biology, to rough, tough street kids. I watched Frieda A”H fight and lose to Cancer/Leukemia. Celebrated the birth of grandchildren, even one named for Frieda. Did what Frieda always told me to: work hard and do what you enjoy. I Continue to pray daily . . .

Yep, what you see here is the Culmination butterfly. Take the tale above, multiply it by some healthy multiple, and I am sure then, then you can begin to appreciate how much I enjoy photographing butterflies in Georgia, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Canada, Israel, Vancouver Island (?), Sri Lanka (?) and ???? Thank Y-u.

Jeff

2017: Can We Call it the Year of the Zebra?

Zebra Heliconian butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat I, Eatonton, GA

Facebook was electrified with reports coming from all over Georgia (USA). Zebra Heliconian butterflies! She was born in Georgia, spent her whole life on her family’s land. Now she grows her own gardens. One day, a day in 2017; there she saw something she had not seen in 62 years!! A Zebra Heliconian butterfly, sleek, flying as if they were dancing in the ballet. She was speechless! It was an exhilarating experience, for that kind of unexpected visitor knocks the ho-hum doldrums out of the park!

Joy spread across the state. Everyone quickly boned up on Zebra Heliconians. They certainly arrived from very southern Georgia and Florida. Their hostplants are native passionflowers. They prefer to not venture too far from a nearby wooded edge.

Heliconius charithonia in Georgia again in 2018? A Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America(Glassberg, Second Edition, Princeton Press) shares that they “may become established northward during warm weather, then killed off by freezes.”

This photograph was taken in the Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat, Eatonton, Georgia. It was the month of July 2017. You’re looking at Zebra Heliconian on a robust Tithonia(Mexican sunflower) flowerhead.

Just as nearly all of Georgia cheered for the UGA Bulldogs in the National Championship heartbreaker, surely finding Zebras here in 2018 will evoke countless Thank Y-u’s!!!

Jeff

Where are the Pipevine Cats?

Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillars on Pipevine leaf photographed by Jeff Zablow at Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat I, Eatonton, GA

Virginia pointed them out to me. They were in the Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat I, in the center of town, Eatonton, Georgia. A whole bunch of cats, there that July 2017 morning.

I said ‘no,’ it’d be tough to get a good image of these so tiny caterpillars, shooting my hand-held Canon Elan film camera. She, in that firm manner of hers, said, “do it.” And of course I did, and here they are.

I made no effort to herd this passel of Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars, pausing to soak in the morning sun. They would begin to consume those same leaves. Pipevines only eat pipevine plants. The Habitat I sported many pipevine plants, and so supported Pipevine Swallowtails caterpillars.

I’ve seen Pipevine Swallowtails in Pennsylvania, perhaps 2 a year. The Habitat I, in Georgia, featured 3 or 4 adults a day. When the morning sun reflects back from the top of their hindwings . . . Oh My Goodness!

(Habitat I had to be moved, when the city of Eatonton quietly sold the land under it. Eatonton did agree to give a much larger, nicely placed set of acres to the Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat, to now be called Habitat II. It’s Grand Opening is next month on the 19th of April. Consider an Arbor Day with music, butterflies, events, walks and festivities).

Jeff