Hermon Iris Revisited (Protected)

Hermon Iris (Protected) butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Northernmost Golan, Israel

On March 28th, 2017 I fly El Al back to Israel. Regretably, you will not be sitting on either side of me. I pledge though to search for worthy images, like this one, enjoyed in 2013. to share with you when I return. This ’13 post evoked other memories for me: my youthful things for redheads with green eyes and . . . my time spent in the dressing room of the Rockettes! Butterflies & rare irises can do that to you, connect to extravagant beauty heretofore unthinkable.

Winged Beauty Butterflies

Hermon Iris photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Northernmost Golan,  Israel

Don’t we all have memories that warm us up when they flash into our consciousness? This image of a Mt. Hermon Iris just did that for me. It brought back memories of a certain moment on a streetcorner in Manhattan (New York, NY), one morning on  campus in college, a stand of native Columbine I once had, and sooo much more. Oh, and then there were the magical minutes when as a college-poor messenger, I  was given a package to deliver to a Rockette at Radio City Music Hall…and instead of taking it from me, the Rockettes’ staff said, “Yeah, take it in there to her”…into the Rockettes’ dressing room I went…’Nuf said?

This was such an experience. On a trail is northernmost Golan,Israel, near the security fence insuring that Israel and Lebanon stay safely apart, we turned a corner of the trail, and there they were…Iris

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Fabriciana Niobe Philistra (Protected) (Mt. Hermon) … 1 in 5,000,000,000,000 ?

Melitaea Persea Montium butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow on Mt. Hermon, Israel, 6/16/08

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.

Jeff

Blue-Spot Hairstreak (Mt. Meron)

Blue-spot hairstreak butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Meron

This is too much! Moments after I left my quarters at SPNI Mt. Meron, the trails through the field station/refuge challenged me with butterflies, everywhere I went. We know the problem this happily brings, How do I manage…? Wait a second. Almost none of you shoot film, and many of you have never shot film… Well, the challenge is conserving the film that you expose, because you will be abroad in Israel for 10 more days, and you want to be prepared for the unexpected, for butterfly opportunities that are unexpected, and that could be the chance of (almost?) a lifetime. A very recent post of the Israeli swallowtail is a good example of the need to be ready!

Strymonidia spini were almost everywhere. I had to put a limit to the number of photos that I took of them. Look for only those that are handsome and all positioned. That’s what I did. This male wanted me to photograph him. He had good pose, tolerated my approach and cooperated during this ‘photo shoot.’ Some time ago, in New York, we approached a portrait photo shoot of me. I was amazed then that the fellow who photographed me (arranged through a SoHo acquaintance) insisted that he must have a serious number of shots of me. The one finally selected was excellent, but oh, so many taken, and it finally became tiring.

Found from Jerusalem north to the Mediterranean and then along the northern tier of Israel to Mt. Hermon, this hairstreak flies from April to June. Syrian thistle (Notobasis syriaca) can be seen above and to the left of our Blue-spot. These butterflies fly low along the ground, and when they flee, it is only to some 10 feet away. Wait a minute or three, and the males return to the same perch where they were first found. The females’ flight is to a more distant place, usually more difficult to be seen.

I probably saw 75 to 100 Blue-spots that morning. A ‘tail’ on each hindwing, pleasant markings of white, black, blue spot and hindwing red. Like most hairstreaks, you get few looks at their dorsal wing surface. Little sweeties.

Jeff

 

Lesser Fiery Skipper Butterfly (Mt. Meron)

Lycaena thersamon butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Hermon, Israel

Serendipity on Mt. Meron in northern Israel. June 10th was a beautiful day. I worked the trails at SPNI Meron, happily encountering one fresh butterfly after another. Not bothered by crowds or even another person, it was special.

This male sought to support the fun that I was having. He posed on his low perch, sharing his warm, deep oranges, gray, black, and white motif. He was so vivid that I’ve had to spend a little additional time perusing the Israeli field guides, because their printed images do not go to the colorful extremes that this fellow flashes, tails and all.

A grown man and his butterflies….Yummy!

Jeff