This is what it’s all about. There is no predicting what we will find when we set out to discover butterflies. It is a brew of timing, location, weather, habitat health, and your luck quotient. This view shot that thought through my mind, ‘Do you see what I see?’ A solitary figure on that agricultural road in Mishmarot, Israel, the question was a sweet one for me, although it could not be shared at the time.
The time was perfect, 6:50 AM. Perfect because the July 14th morning sun rises quickly. The location was good, this field remained unplanted, and hardy wildflowers flourished. The habitat? Almost all habitat in the Holy Land is desert hardy, and the previous winter had been wet enough. The Luck Quotient? I was in Israel. It is more beautiful than . . . . Well since few of you have been there, I can share with impunity that this Land is more beautiful can you can imagine. There I was, grandson just born, daughter so happy, sky blue, air super-clear, butterflies abundant, family hosting me and showing me around like visiting royalty.
This shot of the Fritillary butterfly Melitaea Trivia Syriaca engaged from some distance, an insurance shot, is sugar to my eye, truth be told.
Wonderful! A working image of this rare, protected butterfly on… Mt. Hermon, at Israel’s northernmost border. He was not approachable … until he spotted these groundcover blooms on the mountaintop. So irresistible their aroma must have been, for he sped to these blossoms, and spent precious moments on each, taking in the sugary nectar.
This is another image that I am sharing, taken in June 2008. I had experienced a life-changing personal loss months before, and my daughter had relocated from Washington, D.C. to Tel Aviv. As I planned to visit her, I pushed myself to go for it, do something radical with my camera. Eran Banker was contacted, and off we went from Tel Aviv to … the peak of Mt. Hermon! Quite a few of my photos from Mt. Hermon can be seen here on wingedbeauty. Never, never will I forget that trip. Eagles flying by us as we took the lift to the mountaintop, butterflies like this one, found nowhere else, a landmine (where there were not supposed to be any), OMG! views of Syria and Lebanon, the cattle, grazing 7,000 feet plus on the mountaintop, and the knowledge that we were being watched, surveillance was watching us.
A rare Fritillary this one, flying May through July, on a mountain that you and I cannot visit because of a certain civil WAR, in Syria.
The caterpillars that they produce are hidden out there, equipped to endure frost. The last frost is now behind us, and surely those caterpillars have been busy, …………………………………………………
So it’s just the right moment to post this stirring image of a Great Spangled Fritillary nectaring on butterflyweed flowers. We count the weeks before we see butterfly and wildflower together.
Speyeria cybele is among the largest of the fritillaries.
The freshest of them (males) make their appearance first, then the females make flight.
We see them in our gardens, parks and in sylvan settings that offer them wildflowers.
I used the word esthete this morning in an email.
You are viewing this blog and clearly that distinguishes you as an esthete.
It’s early afternoon at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Cambridge, Maryland. As a rule I only photograph in the morning. I try to quit by 11 A.M., before the sun overhead denies my images of all of the creases and shadows that make an image memorable.
But there I was at Blackwater…and it was teeming with fresh butterflies of many different species. So there I was on October 6th…I had lots of water and so I violated my own working rules = don’t photograph after 11:30 A.M and stop when it gets hot. So I shot away!
Euptoieta claudia so reminds me of why I enjoy doing what I do. It is as beautiful as any fine jewelry produced by the finest jewelry designers. When I’m 12″ away and see what you’re seeing…it’s very uplifting. Yes it is.
And like magnificent jewelry…you see it…you admire it…and then it’s gone.
They are just spectacular. This one is resting before it continues its search for nectaring passionflowers.
They are very abundant in our Southeast. This morning at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge I saw many Gulf Fritillaries.
I once spotted one in the Outdoor Gardens of the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh! That was more than 10 years ago. It was hundreds of miles north of its usual range. Hmmm! The previous months had been warmer and drier than usual and … the Outdoor Gardens featured… Passionflower. So does that explain the appearance of a Southern butterfly in the North?
That’s what I love about what I do. You never, never know what you’ll see next.
When you study this photo of one of the most beautiful butterflies in the U.S., what do you think about…when you click on this image and view the enlarged version?