A Copper Butterfly Near the Israeli-Syrian Border

On The Ground, Neve Ativ, Israel photographed by Jeff Zablow

Melanie posted images today of rare Hairstreak butterflies she saw in Washington State. Javier and Mike share images of rare butterflies they find in the LRGV (Lower Rio Grande Valley) of Texas. Vitaly shoots butterflies of Alabama. Sertac and Aytac photo butterflies in Turkey and Deepthi’s images of butterflies are those of Sri Lanka. Laura takes hers along the Georgia coast.

Yaron shares his photos of Israeli butterflies on Facebook. It occurred to me few Americans, Sri Lankans, French enthusiasts, Chinese, Estonian, Canadian or Hungarian folks ever, ever get to see photos of Middle Eastern butterflies. Get to see the butterflies of the HolyLand/Israel.

I am pleased that many have visited wingedbeauty.com and Facebook, and have seen and enjoyed our images of Israeli butterflies. That thought warms me. Family is puzzled that I have produced wingedbeauty.com so these many years, but here is one Good Reason among many, for our ongoing sharing.

This Copper butterfly was seen in Neve Ativ, a moshav (village) on the slope of mighty Mt. Hermon, in the Israeli Golan. Just on the other side of Hermon is the killing field that was known as Syria. I continue to hope that she is a rare Copper, but know that she may be of the more common Lycaena Thersamon.

Butterflying alone in the vast, sparsely populated Golan, with thousands of elite Israeli troops nearby (very nearby) and down the other side of Mt. Hermon? Syrian troops, Russian troops, Iranian troops, Hezbollah terrorists, Chinese, North Korean and Pakistani ‘Instructors’ and only G-d knows who else.

Jesus grew up a not very long car ride away, in Capernum.

The places I’ve gone. Holy Spaghetti!

Jeff

HolyLand Butterfly ID?

Hipparchia pisidice butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Meron, Israel

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?

Jeff

Middle Eastern Eye Candy

Common Blue butterflies, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Ramat Hanadiv, Israel

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.

Jeff

Common Blue Butterfly (Israel)

Polymattus icarus butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Meron, Israel

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.

Jeff