Met The False Apollo Butterfly in . . .

False Apollo butterfly  Nahal Dishon National Park, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Upper Galilee, Israel

It is difficult to accept, but this False Apollo butterfly is closely related to our Swallowtail butterflies. That I never saw one in the U.S. is explained by the absence of these Parnassian butterflies from much of the United States. They fly here in the western United States, mostly in mountainous areas.

I was 7,000 miles from home that early morning, in Nahal Dishon Park in Israel. That’s why I was there, to meet this eye-pleasing, new for me, butterfly.

Pleased I was to find such a fresh, vividly-colored False Apollo. Happy too I was, to be afforded those many moments that I was given to successfully capture it’s image.

I found, without a guide or guidance, this Protected HolyLand Parnassian butterfly.

This is the kind of experience that I Love.



Shocking Black Beauty

Earring Series - Blackswallowtail butterflies coupled, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GACounting the number of eye-pleasing views in this Eastern Black Swallowtail butterfly image, much pleases me. Early morning in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat I in Eatonton, Georgia and I was happily shocked to discover this coupled pair amidst a perennial bed.

She was above here, and she had those 2 sought after looks: fresh and magnificent.

They soon after fled, ending up as seen in the ‘Earring’ series that we feature here in ‘Earring’ series remains my most favorite series of butterfly photographs. I think this is a better image of the pair, with the female’s dorsal side in view.

Shockingly pretty, this, no?


Large Salmon Arab Butterfly

Large Salmon Arab Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in Binyamina, Israel

I’m not sure how to explain what happened. Working the agricultural field roads north of Binyamina, Israel, Madais Fausta flew in now and again to eat the nectar on Camphor weed blooms. They appeared in groups of two or three. Within minutes they were gone. Ten minutes later they reappeared. This behavior continued from about 9:45 A.M. until about 11 A.M., but that’s not what continues to puzzle me.

What I cannot fathom is why I methodically photographed these butterflies on three sunny mornings with no wind, good sun and little or no distraction from man, beast or donkey, and yet I scored less than a handful of “keepers.” Keepers are slides that meet my demanding requirements: excellent wing exposure and detail; good positioning of the butterfly (never with the posterior end facing you); vibrant color in both the butterfly and wildflower; as sharp as possible images of eyes, antenna and abdomen. I photographed more than 45 slides and yet I have only two or three keepers? Por que?

Monarchs in the U.S. are superb subjects. I am more than pleased with the many images of them in my library. Hairstreak butterflies photograph quite well. Tiger swallowtails, spicebush swallowtails, eastern black swallowtails, pipevine swallowtails all constantly move their wings violently as they nectar, but even so, I have been able to photograph very satisfying images. Tiny blues and azures also deliver terrific images.

Large Salmon Arabs are very pleasing to the eye. They are a sweet, sweet yellow with nicely contrasting black markings. Somehow, the camera lens does not like them. How can this be?

Photographing children reveals that the camera lens loves some of them and never seems to be so kind to other youngsters. Is that why top models succeed and other aspiring models do not?

Here then is a smallish butterfly that flies much of the year in Israel and the Sinai.  It is like a dab of sunshiny butter on the wing. It is also very serious about eating nectar.



Breath-taking Red-spotted Purple Butterfly with Orange-red Markings Near its Forewing Apex

Red-spotted purple Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in Eastern Neck National Wildlife refuge, MD

What say you? Is she not breath-taking? It’s mid-morning in August, at the Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge. Two hours from Washington, DC and eye-pleasing no matter in which direction we turn.

The butterfly’s orange-red markings near the forewing apex signal that she’s a looker. The camera lens registers her beauty and provides her the same extra something that it does for top models.

Limenitis arthemis astyanax in Pennsylvania spend most of their time on the ground, nectaring sparingly. Those here on the Delmarva Peninsula behave differently each morning, flying early in the morning and spending a great deal of time working the perrenial flower beds of the Butterfly Garden.  Interesting.

Again, the absence of significant wing damage in these National Wildlife Refuge butterflies was difficult to dismiss. Why were they so free of evidence of having barely escaped predators?

The mornng was a pleasant temperature. There was no wind. The sky was blue. The raptors occassionally flew overhead, Dave was working the Butterfly Garden and the butterflies were for want of a better word? Beauties.


Tall Verbena Plants are a Magnet for Butterflies

Eastern black swallowtail butterfly photographed at Phipps Conservatory Outdoor Gardens, Pittsburgh, PA

Our Papilio polyxenes is nectaring on tall verbena. His wings are moving faster than the eye can see, as Eastern black swallowtails do as they hover over flowers.

We’re a bit distant from him considering we are shooting macro- but the end-product is eye-pleasing and those swallowtail tails look quite handsome!

Solitary like many swallowtail species (see our posts of Tiger swallowtail, Spicebush swallowtail), a fresh one is quite a remarkable sight and tears you away from whatever else you were searching for.

Tall verbena planted in a good-sized grouping is a magnet to draw so many butterflies. Nectaring from May to October, they are one of the best investments still available for the prudent gardener. About 24″ tall, the flower head provides photos that are extraordinary, because when you shot with one knee resting on the ground, you can include your home, your barn, your pup, your kitten or . . . in the background.

Enjoy our 4 earlier posts of Eastern Black Swallowtails.

Our instant photo was taken in the middle of the city of Pittsburgh. What say you to that?