Middle Eastern Swallowtail Butterfly

Papilla Machaon butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Ramat Hanadiv, Israel

So many trips to Israel, and so few chances to photograph Papilio Machaon Syriacus. I’d think of how pleased I’d be to bring you a good image of these swallowtail butterflies, found throughout the Middle East. That was tempered by how difficult it is to shoot a butterfly like this one, a butterfly that refuses to allow you to approach it.

The excitement that I experienced here was electric. I was on a trail at Ramat Hanadiv, the heavily visited wildlife preserve north of Tel Aviv, and very close to the Mediterranean Sea. These yellow blooms were aplenty along the trail, and he flew in to nectar. He must have been very hungry, for he allowed me to approach (robotically) and he tolerated my many shutter clicks.

Fresh, spectacular and for several moments, tolerant. The yellow, the black, the blue and the red-orange . . . Yummy!

Jeff hopes to return to Israel in 2020. Jeff, Thankful.

Jeff

Lycaena Phlaeas on the Slope of Mt. Hermon

Lycaena Phlaes Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Neve Ativ, Israel

I was seeing a whole lot of Lycaena thersamon those 3 mornings on the slope of Mt. Hermon. Two threatened Coppers, Lycaena asabinus and Lycanea ochimus fly there, but they begin to eclose in June. I was there in April. No problema. I was sure that sooner or later I’d spot another Copper, Lycaena phlaeas.

Three mornings of driving up that torturous mountain road, big time driving for me, reaching sharp curves and would you not know it, enjoying (?) 18-wheelers come down as I meet the near hairpin turn! Nope. Not giving into my mountain road discomfort. Learned that in Ft. Dix, New Jersey. Press on, show confidence and feel confident. You can do it. I mostly have, ever since Papa Company.

Day 2 on the mountain, in the fields surrounding Neve Ativ. Scoping the tiny Coppers as they worked these itty bitty yellow blooms, and there he was, finally. Lycaena phlaeas. A handsome looking male, and he was serious nectaring intently.

He’s a play in orange, black, white red, black spots and more.

Coppers on the biblical Mt. Hermon, way, way up on the mountain, thankfully on the peaceful side. No rockets or mortars coming over those days. Just coppers and more.

Jeff