We’re on Mt. Meron in the Upper Galilee Region. Jews, Christians and Muslims value this region, at the very northern edge of Israel today. Me? I’m finding butterflies the entire time up on Meron.
I’ve already met some of them, most of them. Every once in a while, I catch a fleeting glimpse of a butterfly I do not know. One I never met before.
This one, Sherlock Holmes, is one new to me. Israel’s field guides? They’re helpful, but they are mostly written in Hebrew, and they have years to go before they can be described as ‘Excellent.’
This one is grouped with the Satyrs, but it differs much from the images in Dubi Binyamini’s landmark field guide.
Israeli Butterflies flee on approach, most when you’re 10-15 feet away. That to anticipate your curiousity, ‘Why didn’t Jeff get closer?’
I hope that Yaron or Oz or Dubi will come along and help us here. What is this HolyLand satyr?
These trails in the Ramat Hanadiv nature reserve were loaded with activity that morning. Most were fast fliers, defying this photographer of butterflies. Most Israeli butterflies fly at great speed (males) or hide with great success (females). About an hour northwest of Tel Aviv, and almost within view of the azure Mediterranean Sea, this expansive preserve of rolling hills is lovingly maintained and monitored, going back to its founding by the Rothschild family.
My hunt was for beautiful butterflies and wildflowers and the shy, elusive orchids that were here, this March 2016. Only the gentlest of breezes, full sun and a wet enough winter past all enabled the possibility of good images ahead.
Bingo! I saw them, and they were Fuji slide film worthy. They were locked together. A quick examination of this pair told me that they had chosen well. Both were healthy, complete and fine specimens of Poloymattus icarus zelleri. This species of Blue butterfly surely flies in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, though 2 of those 3 countries are Uber dangerous for Americans and the third, well I will never travel there either . . . So this image will do just fine.
The shades of red and orange, the bullseye black, the Isle of Capri blue and that spectrum of grays, well, Good for that.
The trails near the base of Mt. Meron, and the trails near the mountain’s peak were teeming with butterflies. They were of many different species . . . and they were mostly fresh! Like plain bagels coming out of the bagel oven on Clarkson Avenue, Brooklyn in the late ’60’s (aroma and taste that still float in my subconscious – Hey, those were real water bagels, and the guys working there were 3 guys name Moe), the beauty of almost all of the butterflies that we encountered was startling.
I was battling with my Canon camera, whose built-in photometer was failing to advise me. The morning was near perfect, it was June 2013, no wind, no 300-lb. boar and no native wild dogs. All this by way of preparing you to embrace the reality of this image. He may be common-named Common Blue, but there was nothing common about this Polyommatus icarus. He had flown since 6:30 A.M. and he was exhausted. Finding shy, hidden females required many meters of flight, and occasional stops to rest. While doing that, he opened his wings to capture the morning sun.
What can’t we say about this male. Is he not gorgeous. Please tell us where else you have seen such blue?
Perhaps my main objective those 3 days was to photograph the largest butterfly found in Israel, the ubra beautiful Two-Tailed Pasha. As you already may have read, I saw 3 of them, and they saw me first, zoooooming away at great speed, off into their hosptlant, strawberry trees. I learned there that they fly at first light, say 6:30 in the morning, and by 8:00-ish, they remain up in the trees, unseen until the next day. Comes the question: should I return to Mt. Meron in May, and capture the image that I never got some months ago?
Anyway, Common Blue may be eh! in Tel Aviv, but they are happy encounters on Mt. Meron…and they are sweet views.
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!
This morning, breakfast was enjoyed while re-reading Pyle’s Mariposa Road (a 3rd read is not out of the question). Among the incredible butterflies recalled in this stretch of his book, was the Desert Orangetip. Great! We’ve posted that pretty here in wingedbeauty.com. Breakfast finished, here I am posting, and what better image to share than this Protected orangetip, found only in northernmost Israel. It may also be found in Lebanon and Syria, but butterflying there amongst Hezbollah, al-Queda, the warring sides in the Syrian slaughter grounds, etc. would require a significant risk of not being heard from again.
This snappy gent was busily nectaring in a small nature reserve that March morning. The fine parking lot accommodates cars and buses for touring school excursions. As in most cases, the head of trails in such places (with no park rangers) are heavily worn and often too littered, but once you’ve hiked the trail for some minutes, all you encounter are the occasional serious esthete and wildlife. The orange of his wingtips was deep and easily reminded of several tasty fruits and gourds that share this zippy orange coloring. Female A. damones must swoon over this fellow.
Look how he allowed me to approach! Other such wingtips were seen, but this one was the freshest and I shot away.