Lasiommata Megara Emilyssa (Mt. Meron)

Large Wall Brown butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Meron

Fascinating. Here you are, working the trails near the top of Mt. Meron (Israel). Morning after morning, as in southern Florida and the Phoenix-area, the weather is sunny,  sunny,  sunny. As I remember being told many years ago by Moshe and Yona in Israel, “You must to drink.” I have flown to Israel many times since then. That advice applies all year round. In November or March, you must remember to carry water with you. You see Israelis going about their daily activities, and they generally don’t have water on their person. Explanation? They are conditioned to their arid climate. Jeff is not. Whether in Jerusalem, Ein  Gedi, Binyamina, Tel Aviv or Mt. Meron, I take water with me…including when I happily skip into the Tel  Aviv Museum of Art. How these butterflies fly as much as they do without any obvious source of water astounds me. I must “to drink” or I soon have bells and whistles internally reminding me that the water gauge is reading too low.

Lasiomatta megara emilyssa is an Israeli satyr butterfly that I met along several of these Mt. Meron trails. Most or all that I found were males, patrolling the trails, guarding their chosen spots, all this to maximize the chance of meeting a receptive female. Upon approach, they would flee their chosen rock, fly at high speed into the surrounding vegetation, and reclaim their perch 2 or 3 minutes later. Do they nectar? ? Visit scat? ?

So once again we beg your indulgence, 4 days of shooting the butterflies of these trails offered only images captured from moderate distance. His eyespots, patches and ripples of brown pleased the eye. Fresh and a fine exercise using browns as the medium.

They fly from Jerusalem north to be found all along the northern borders with Lebanon and Syria. They are not found in eastern or western Israel. Imagine how many of the most famous men and women in the history of the world . . . also marveled at these chocolate samplers.


Here was a Butterfly I had Never Seen Before: a Lesser Fiery Copper

 Lesser Fiery Copper butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Binyamina, Israel

Here is a reminder of one of the reasons that some of us love to photograph butterflies. It’s November in Binyamina, Israel. My family has hosted us, and it’s a joy to be there with them. Regrettably, we haven’t rented a car. So, on several mornings we walk a moderate distance and explore the agricultural roads that surround Binyamina. What can we expect to find in mid-November, with the fields dormant and wildflower bloom limited on our left and on our right?

Camphor weed (Heterotheca Subaxillaris) was the only significant bloom extant. Several species of butterflies were coming in to eat nectar, in waves, so to speak. Large Salmon Arabs, Caper Whites and Small Whites, plus one or two Plain Tigers. They would suddenly fly in, and 10 minutes later all would be gone. Then 15 minutes later, they were back again. Were they the same ones I suppose?

On this mid-morning, I did a double take. There was a butterfly I had never seen before: a Lesser Fiery Copper. She was fresh, vividly colored and eating nectar with great energy and movement. I shot as many exposures as I could, following her from one plant to the next, from this side of the road to the other. Then she flew away and that was that. It was a chance encounter with Lycaena Thersamon, or was it? It was a small butterfly and oh, such a pretty one. This one does not waste a single second. It’s a butterfly of purpose.