Apharitis Cilissa (Mt. Meron, Protected) (4)

Apharitis Cilissa butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Meron, Israel

Yes 4. We might not have posted 4 images of Apharitis Cilissa, but we realized that these little Hairstreak butterflies are rare and Protected, fly only 1 month a year, and are 7,000 miles from my home in Pittsburgh, PA, USA

I entered the trail at 7:30 in the morning. June 10th, alone on this trail, naturally, as the song lyrics went. The morning was warm and comfortable. Mosquitoes and flies were absent. Almost perfect. Perfect would have been to not be alone, and to encounter all NEW butterflies. Soon, these tiny hairstreaks (Lycaenidae) were here, then there, then there, too. Looked like Leps back in Pennsylvania, until I approached. Bingo! New! New to Jeffrey! Had not seen these at the base of Mt. Hermon (closed because of War! on the north face of the mountain = Syria 2013), not seen at SPNI Hermon or at the several sites I explored nearby. New!

My film Canon camera got a workout. Pop! Pop! Pop! I worked A. Cilissa, shooting lots and lots of exposures. Hand-held and a butterfly that is almost always moving as it nectars but in the first ½ hour that I worked those trails, I met several males enjoying the morning, as the male is doing in the image before you. Why, because as with most butterflies, their night roosts are cool, and to get a good morning’s start that includes nectar and patrol for mates, they need to warm up. Flying without warming up could mean flying a reduced speed, and that could mean disaster if chased by a bird, or ambushed by a spider hiding in a blossom or by a Mantid frozen in place near blossoms.

Is that fellow not handsome with a capital H? A dandy with bright lit wing oranges, black spots rakishly arranged, intact wings with understated white borders, talk-of-the-town striped abdomen, well-turned antennae and those 2 pairs of tails. Can you imagine how much he accomplished that very morning?

May all of us have a Happy and a Healthy New Year. 2014! OMG! And may you resolve to ‘Like’ when you like and ‘Comment’ so that Jeff can know that you stopped by.


Pearl Crescent Butterflies Rank Among the Under-appreciated

Pearl Crescent Butterfly at Raccoon Creek State Park

Pearl Crescents are smallish butterflies that we see at clearings along trails, in cut areas in public parks and in our home gardens.

In the Eastern U.S., Commas, Red spotted-purples, Emperors and Pearl Crescents are the dependable butterflies that monitor and escort you as you hike trails.

Phyciodes tharos ranks as an under-appreciated butterfly, more often than not registering disappointment when it is firmly identified and forecloses the possibility that you’ve seen something ‘special.’

Our female is nectaring on an Oxeye Daisy flower. Pearl Crescents are categorized as generalists because they will sip at a wide variety of flower species. Our female verifies this, feeding on Oxeye daisies. When such nectar pumpers as Milkweed, Teasel, Dogbane and Butterflyweed are in bloom, she is at this Oxeye Daisy. The other wildflowers have heavy traffic coming and going. Oxeye Daisies can go 30 or more minutes without a butterfly, bee or fly setting down to feed. Does she visit there to avoid the crowd?

Her wings are intact. She lacks the damage that many butterflies endure to the trailing edges of their wings. Believe it or not, the academics are yet unable to explain what if anything causes them to suffer little or no abuse from predators.

At August 12th at Raccoon Creek State Park’s Wildflower Reserve on Rte. 30, two miles north of Janoski’s Farmstand, please join us from 1:00 to 3:00 Pm for our 7th Annual Butterflies of Western Pennsylvania presentation/field walk? We know that our friends in Canada, the U.K., India, Israel and Australia won’t be able to make it, but we hope you will join us. Swim at the Park lake, get your picked this morning produce, and enjoy our visual menu of winged beauties.