Common Blue Butterfly (Israel)

Polymattus icarus butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Meron, Israel

The trails near the base of Mt. Meron, and the trails near the mountain’s peak were teeming with butterflies. They were of many different species . . . and they were mostly fresh! Like plain bagels coming out of the bagel oven on Clarkson Avenue, Brooklyn in the late ’60’s (aroma and taste that still float in my subconscious – Hey, those were real water bagels, and the guys working there were 3 guys name Moe), the beauty of almost all of the butterflies that we encountered was startling.

I was battling with my Canon camera, whose built-in photometer was failing to advise me. The morning was near perfect, it was June 2013, no wind, no 300-lb. boar and no native wild dogs. All this by way of preparing you to embrace the reality of this image. He may be common-named Common Blue, but there was nothing common about this Polyommatus icarus. He had flown since 6:30 A.M. and he was exhausted. Finding shy, hidden females required many meters of flight, and occasional stops to rest. While doing that, he opened his wings to capture the morning sun.

What can’t we say about this male. Is he not gorgeous. Please tell us where else you have seen such blue?

Perhaps my main objective those 3 days was to photograph the largest butterfly found in Israel, the ubra beautiful Two-Tailed Pasha. As you already may have read, I saw 3 of them, and they saw me first, zoooooming away at great speed, off into their hosptlant, strawberry trees. I learned there that they fly at first light, say 6:30 in the morning, and by 8:00-ish, they remain up in the trees, unseen until the next day. Comes the question: should I return to Mt. Meron in May, and capture the image that I never got some months ago?

Anyway, Common Blue may be eh! in Tel Aviv, but they are happy encounters on Mt. Meron…and they are sweet views.

Jeff

 

War! War! War!

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

We’ve posted this image some time ago. Our bovine  was grazing at the peak of Mt. Hermon, Israel. I was there with my guide, Eran Banker, photographing butterflies. There are species of butterflies that are only found at higher elevations on Mt. Hermon and nowhere else. If you visit that post, you will be reminded that Eran encountered a land mine there, as we roamed the mountaintop. That sure got my attention, and I stopped stepping off the primitive trails  and limited myself to tried and true terra firma. That caused much frustration, because it was if they knew it, and those butterflies surely teased me from then on.

We were prevented from going back there in June. The mountain was Closed. Why? Look again at this photo. You are viewing Syria in the background. Cow foreground, Syria background. Syria is at War! with itself. War! however you categorize it. That horrific conflict has grabbed our headlines here in the U.S. and all around the world.

So Mt. Hermon is closed. That’s why when I photographed about 1/4 up the mountain this year, Israeli planes were going up and down, up and down, and up and down nearby valleys…scouring the land for any variety of infiltrator. Sad, tragic stuff, No?

We won’t be revisiting these northernmost Golan peak for years, if ever again? There are killing fields below.

We will shortly be posting additional images that we got on that peak, many thousands of feet above sea level. Butterflies living under the surveillance of Israel, Syria, Lebanon, the U.N. and surely somehow, several other nations, including the United States of America.

Crazy stuff. Violent, inhumane behavior. Butterflies flying carefree in habitat within range of missiles, mortars, cannon fire and WMD? Incredible, don’t you think?

Jeff

 

The Difference Between Bath White and Cabbage White Butterflies

Bath White Butterfly at Ramat Hanadiv, Israel

Our Bath White butterfly is enjoying the abundance of  Ramat Hanadiv, the exquisite arboretum north of Tel Aviv.

Found throughout Israel and one of the ‘white butterflies,’ Pontia daplidice is similar in behavior to the cabbage whites, but slower on the wing and a bit easier to approach.

She was one of many when I photographed her in July 2009.

The whites can be taken for granted . . . but not by us. We understand that the rich mix of butterfly species is the way it must be, and whites are a rich part of that mix.

Jeffrey