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?”
Daydreaming about how much of the Americans West I’ve not seen, and will never see. What fraction of Americans have visited wingedbeauty.com over these years? I’m in no rush to calculate that. We know that an incredible number of Americans do not think about flora and fauna, nor do they yearn to see photos of butterflies, wildflowers, moths, trees, mushrooms, bees, flies, mantids, vines and more.
I do. I think about all of those things, and I Love to find them and I Love to share what I find with you, just so long as I am able to share images that are worthy of your timed interest.
What brought this on? This image. A wildflower I met in White Tank Mountains Regional Park, just west of Phoenix, Arizona. Like some (most?) of you, this look brings up a pull on me, to go there, and to go to other Arizona destinations, as for example the Chiracauca Mountains in southeast Arizona that are renowned for species of blue butterflies.
America’s west is bigger than big, and will I have the time, money and get up and go to work it for images that will get your Comments & Likes?
Scouring the America west of the Mississippi . . . a man can dream? No? Peggy? Kenne? Melanie? Sherrie? Mr. Pyle himself? Nancy? The Princess of Whidbey Island? Javier?
Someone yesterday posted their image of a Harvester Butterfly, on FBook. It is so rare that I see an image of this certified Pookie butterfly, that I stopped and examined the good image, and that led to a lot of daydreaming and reminiscing.
It’s been so many years since I enjoyed my 2 (Yes, only 2) meetings with Harvesters. Both times I was just where A Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America (Glassberg) wrote you’d have to be, “in or near wet wood, with alders.” I was on that favorite trail of mine, Nichol Road Trail, in Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania. There was a small creeklet running slowly some 12′ away, it had rained the day before, and the Harvester, the solitary Harvester was calmy taking moisture at the edge of a little puddle.
They are excellent models, holding their poses nicely and not fleeing. The thing is that they are tiny, and my Macro- lens necessitated that I get down on stomach. No complaint there, so willing a model a Harvester is.
The problem with finding a Harvester is they are so LR-LU (Glassberg’s Locally Rare to Locally Uncommon). Seeing 2 in 24 years or so attests to that.
I’ve got to add though, that when you scan a puddle that’s on a trail and near a streamlet, and you see a Very unfamiliar butterfly shape there . . . OMG!!! what’s that! Maine to the Florida Panhandle to eastern Texas and north to North Dakota. This is one of the ‘Needle in the Haystack’ butterflies, no doubt.
The tourists and vacationing Israelis were all headed to the northwest, following the Nahal Dishon (Dishon Stream) toward its source. Me? Nope, I’m headed in the opposite direction, away from the maddening crowd, to the wild, little hiked other end of Nahal Dishon Park. We’re in the HolyLand, and I’m looking for butterflies, beautiful and Protected (rare).
I made sure to get there early, before the drowsy butterflies abandon their nigh perches and fly to a prized flat leaf, to warm in the morning sun.
In the northernmost expanse of the Upper Galilee, where the Biblical giants walked, I met this spectacular Parnassian male, the False Apollo (Archon apollinus ).
I stopped short, studied him, made sure I had the sun to my back, and began robotic approach. Armed with my Macro- lens, I had to get, ideally, 18″ or closer to him. Would he bolt?
He stayed put, I used my patented ‘Technique‘ Final Approach, and gulped! He stayed put!! How shmeksy! is this young warrior, wearing well the heavy responsibility of ensuring that this protected butterfly lives to see another and yet another generation.
He was there when I scored perhaps my 32nd exposure. I was there too, daydreaming of how He too would have stopped, stopped here too, fascinated by this masterpiece of Creation.