Lesser Fiery Copper Butterflies in a Doomed Field

 Lycaena Thersamon photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mishmarot, Israel

Lycaena Thersamon photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mishmarot, Israel

Home again. Four excellent weeks in Israel ended on March 22nd. I played with my grandsons, Hillel and Boaz, photographed butterflies, and did what I could to prune, trim and weed their garden in Mishmarot, Israel. That’s about an hour and a quarter drive north from Tel Aviv. Israeli home cooking is fabo, especially Rachel’s, learned in the kitchen with her beloved Mom, Frieda A”H.

Did I do any field work while I was there? Do chickens fly? Me and my Avis Mazda 2 set off on 2 super trips. The first one was to SPNI Meron, my 4th visit there over he last several years. That was my base camp for scouring the Upper Galilee for butterflies and orchids. Later I drove to SPNI Golan in the Golan Heights, and again success, this time sprinkled with some rain and some healthy wind. As promised, I did come within sight of borders with Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, but got no closer than that. How was Israel’s military, which I saw alot of at those borders? Strong, young and confident. I wish I could think the same of our own US military preparedness.

41 rolls of Fuji slide film are now in Parsons, Kansas, being processed. Funny thing is that Israeli Security “Hand Check-ed” my film in record time. It took just 5 minutes. They have good security there.

Regretably, the field that this image was shot in, just a 5 minute walk from Rachel’s house, is being prepped for the addition of new homes to this section of Mishmarot. Like in the U.S., the population of Israel grows, in part because of folks who find their lives in France, the U.K., Ukraine and Belgium, increasingly threatened by what my students used to call Haters.

And get this, every corner of Israel, even the most remote locales, have excellent cell reception. Evidence of Israel’s very advanced tech abilities.


A Lesser Fiery Copper Reunion?

Lycaena Thersamon photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mt. Meron, Israel

March 2016 will find me, G-d willing, to return to Israel, and back up to Mt. Meron. My 3rd visit to SPNI Meron, the neat field house complex maintained, like others throughout Israel, to bring kids together with undisturbed habitat and wildlife. Guest houses are available for naturalists, and that’s where I’ll spend some 5 days.

Why go back there? There are many butterflies I still have not coaxed out of the bush, havn’t seen yet. I also plan to explore (never could find someone to lead me) the terrain along the Israel-Lebanese border. This exploration promises to expand my list of Israeli butterflies seen and photographed. The air is clear, the streams are quality, and the botany promises, promises so much, including March orchids. We’ll share some orchids together this 2016, Israeli (Oh, I hope!) and northeastern U.S. orchids. The Israeli ones I’m going to have to find on my own; for the U.S. orchids I’ll have expert help.

This Lycaena thersamon omphale female was an eye popper. Her colors sang out to me. Stationery on this yet to be ID’d wildflower, she was a sight.

The Upper Galilee region, just south of Lake Tiberias (Yom Kinneret) and the coastline north of Tel  Aviv . . .  and then that certain Protected rare butterfly reduced to flying in 2 limited areas west of Afula, these are my butterfly destinations. And of course, my daughter, grandsons and son-in-law, plus lots of family. The men  All served, the young women served, the older women kept the home fires burning, and fretted while their men fought to keep them safe. This is a view of Israel that the media will never share with you.

Any takers?


Middle Eastern Wildflower ID’d

Lizard Orchid (Protected), photographed by Jeff Zablow in Rosh Hanikra, Israel

Butterflies, it was butterflies that I was after. Good enough that I was finding them here in Rosh Hanikra National Park, at the very northeastern tip of Israel, right at the border with Lebanon.

I was also discovering many wildflowers that I had never seen in Israel. Stop and expend valuable slide film each time? And time, that too was limited (always limited in the field).

When I noted this extraordinary tower of bloom, I stopped. I’d expect to see such an other-worldy plant, like maybe on Mars. How could I not photograph it? It’s an orchid, No?

I have searched my field guides of Israeli Wildflowers, and awaited word from Israel. Well, enough waiting. Without word from expert botanists abroad, I determine that this is NOT an orchid, but a bloomhead of . . . Syrian Bear’s Breech (Acanthus syriacus). Different. Reallllly different.

I’m telling you, come visit Israel, see the HolyLand, and leave some time to split off and work the OMG! habitats that have awaited your visit for 1,000’s of years. You’ve worked too hard, and this trip is deserved. No doubt about that.