Happy Pearly-eye New Year!

Northern Pearly Eye Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania

Happy New Year to All! We have grown in number and enthusiasm. Shared so much new: new butterflies, new places and new ways of seeing those wingedbeauties.

Perfect example here, this one of 3 images that didn’t get pitched into the circular file (AKA trash can). So many of us know the Northern Pearly-eye butterfly. I almost wrote them off as well, seen them, done that . . . until I met this comely Pearly-eye on that trail at Raccoon Creek State Park. Guaranteed to frustrate, this one remained in place . . . and rocked my boat!, for I saw that I was looking at a stunner! An especially handsome Northern.

I shot it out, hoping that my manual compensations for aperture and shutter speed would deliver, despite the challenging lighting.

I say to you here, I will not take long known  butterflies for granted, for amongst them, may be a Bedazzler, as I rate this one. Those hindwing eyes, with the sweet tiny white pearls in their centers, That’s why they are  . . . Pearly-eyes.

On to 2017, taking nothing for granted, and hoping to meet them . . . and You! out there.

Jeff

Levantine Marbled White Butterfly

Melanargia titea butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Hermon, Israel

A white adorned butterfly with ‘eyes’ on its hindwings. Melanargia titea is a very purposeful butterfly that flies in and gets whatever nectar it can get, and leaves. Cats and dogs have distinct personalities. They interact with us in mostly predictable ways. I find this to be true for butterflies. Years in the field have enabled me to expect certain minimal, but discernible interactions with most butterflies. The Monarch butterfly that turned to look  at me, the Mourning cloak butterfly that caused me to tear up, the jolly little duskywings that escort you down the trails you hike. I find Levantine marbled whites to be very aloof and business-like. Come, nectar, go. Unlike the female tiger swallowtails that will tolerate my presence, with some ‘complaint,’ as they work the wildflowers.

This one was on the top of Israel’s Mt. Hermon (2008) when there was unseen military presence, and Eran, my guide and I roamed the mountain top, encountering lots of butterflies, grazing cows, shy lizards, eagles and 1 ugly, old land mine.

Levantine marbled whites are found throughout the northern half of Israel. This satyr-type of butterfly flies from April to August. It’s host plants are native grasses.

Boy do I wish I could get back up on Mt. Hermon.

Jeff