Mexican Fritillary Engaged

Mated Mexican fritillary butterflies photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

“Almost always a brighter orange-brown than Variegated Fritillary” writes Jeffrey Glassberg about Mexican Frits in his A Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America (Princeton University Press, 2017). This was one of a pair of mated Mexican Fritillaries. The other one remains hidden under those cool wings. We were in the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, some 2 miles north of the U.S. – Mexican border.

When I saw them, just some inches above the ground, my friend shared that they were Mexican Fritillaries! That got my attention, for they so look like Variegated fritillaries. Glassberg’s field guide highlighted the difference between the species. Mexican Frits lack much detail in the center of their dorsal hindwings, and they are so much “brighter” than Variegated.

I spent several unforgettable days in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, each day making the acquaintance of many Lifers for me. There were times too, when others in the NBC shared that folks just a little earlier had seen Dingywings and other butterflies that I’ve not ever seen before. No regret there, for I was a Happy Boy! in the LRGValley. I came to see and I saw!

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