We travel and we await all that’s new. Travel some 1,800 miles from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Phoenix, Arizona, and my visits to White Tank Mountains Regional Park, west of Phoenix delivered just that. How exciting to anticipate new butterflies, new plants, new birds and new lizards at any moment, any minute, anywhere! How much more fulfilling to find new, new, new.
Imagine. Imagine my surprise to find a ‘friend’ there, a butterfly that I’d see occasionally back home then, in Pittsburgh. I was working my way along an arroyo (dry river bed . . . Shhh! That I was not supposed to be down in, because of flash flood! risk . . . Angelic Jeff?) strewn with big rock. It was bone dry, and there were few, very few flowers at all. What flowers there were, were visited by butterflies and bees. I stationed myself at those flowers found, and here is an example of the reward I reaped, for patiently waiting on butterflies to arrive.
I was impressed much that the American Snout Butterfly was near identical to those back at Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania. It was sort of nice to meet a ‘friend,’ so far away from home, and in a mysterious, a bit risky dangerous and drier than dry bone arroyo.
This Post here in part because of memories it elicited, I there visiting my Mother-In-Law, Eda Lehman A”H, who lived near there in Sun City West, Arizona, a Phoenix suburb. Eda Lehman was a slave in Nazi concentration camps for 5 and 1/2 years, somehow survived those killing fields, and passed away 3 days ago, having lived to 100 years of age. Butterflies can come with memories and such . . . .
A bust out! butterfly for me, 7,000 miles from my home, there he is, I found this one and some others. The Blue Arab butterfly, Colotis phisadia. Tel Aviv? No. Jerusalem? No. The Mediterranean coast? No. Galilee? No. Golan? No.
To see this unusual ‘white’ butterfly, you had to travel in Israel, to its eastern borders, at the Dead Sea, or to the eastern Sinai desert, where for sure you’d be kidnapped by who knows what terrorist group, or by just as interesting locals.
Me, I took a train from Binyamina, Israel south to Beersheva, then a bus to Ein Gedi. I stayed several days in the SPNI field houses there. I hiked from the field house where I stayed to this Wadi (sizable dry river bed). Along the side of the wadi I found them, Blue Arabs. Sooo difficult to approach, nearly impossible to get a good macro- image, and the sun pouring down hot all the time.
I wanted my own images of the Blue Arab. I had hoped that you’d enjoy seeing a butterfly that is different, and that won’t come to you. You’d have to come to it, in the boiling sun, in wadis far, far from Madison, Pittsburgh, Brooklyn, Frewsburg or Silver Spring.
Congrats! for you’ve seen the uncommon Blue Arab butterfly. Other places to see them? Jordan, that Sinai ( again, loaded with terrorists ), and Saudi Arabia.
Southwest Airlines flew me from Pittsburgh to Phoenix, Arizona. Depart from the temperate eastern United States to the southwestern desert that’s most of Arizona. Oak and maple slip away from my view, replaced soon by cactuses and a host of plants that are new to me.
Here in the White Mountains Regional Park, I park my rental car and hike to this arroyo (dry river bed). I’ve been here before. It is a source of fascination for me and here I’ve found a large number of butterflies.
That’s the wonder and mystery of this habitat. Hiking in an arroyo is generally not promoted. If there were to be an instant storm above, there is Big risk of raging floodwaters surging down through the bone-dry arroyo, and you’d risk being swept away. Gone. So the element of distant danger, even on such a day as this, is understood.
We’ve noted the relative abundance of butterflies in earlier arroyo posts. I’ve not studied arroyos. Are there aquifers resting below? Is that why plants endure the dry arroyo bed? Do the steep banks of the arroyo carry down the morning dew? Is there morning dew? Let us hope that we will find answers to these questions, from Comments made by our Arizona friends.
Working the rock strewn arroyo, you are constantly reminded of the presence of mammals, reptiles, birds, insects, spiders and more. They peek out at you, or dart away as you quietly traverse the rocks. There is scat here and there, both tiny scat and sightings of considerable scat. I found both herbivore scat and carnivore scat. I walk this arroyo in the morning. Who and what move in it during the black night?
I like the arroyo. It never disappoints.