Green Vista: The Golan Heights

Move This To The Top Of Your Travel Plans? The Golan..

Winged Beauty Butterflies

Golan Heights Landscape seen from Yehudiya National Park, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Golan Heights, Israel

Working the trails at Yeyhudia National Park in Israel’s Golan Heights, for butterflies. March 2016 it was, and there I was alone for hours, often stopping to Thank G-d for the opportunity to walk these ancient paths. I refrain from sharing too many landscapes here on wingedbeauty. On this trip to Israel, the Land was so lush, so verdant, that I realized that this rule of mine had to be slightly adjusted.

The recently ended winter produced average precipitation, and that insured that the Land of Milk and Honey would green from end to end, from Rosh Hanikra to Eilat. For decades now, Israel has been taking the husbandry and conservation of its resources very seriously.

This is the land that Americans never see. Our media prefers to blast the orchestrated, ready for camera/prime-time noise that they sniff out. Those 5’3″ settlers who began coming in the 1890’s and continued…

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Exotic Blooms in the Land of Milk and Honey

Just One Hour To . . . Capernum

Winged Beauty Butterflies

Scilla wildflowers, photographed by Jeff Zablow in Society for the Protection of Nature Hermon, Israel

Two Unforgettable flower stalks, perched on a rocky hill edge, overlooking the verdant (OMG! green) northern border of Israel. I was determined to save my film for butterflies, but c’mon, how could I not succumb to this temptation? March 2015 in the Golan Heights region of Israel. A wet winter insured the arrival of a Spring with flowers blanketing the land, and rare wildflowers determined to capitalize on the excellent growing conditions.

These Hyacinth Squill blooms (Scilla Hyacinthoides) dotted the sides of these hills, on the SPNI Hermon Reserve. They enjoy a short growing season, and are listed as a Protected Species. The expanse of view looks to the northwest, into Lebanon. Lebanon, a country wracked with violence. A pastoral view then, with bad-boy land to the horizon.

Yes, this is primarily a butterfly blog, but . . . the camera made me do it!

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Love Me Tender in the Briar Patch

Frigid Outside? How We Long For Such Discoveries!

Winged Beauty Butterflies

Gulf Fritillary butterflies flirting, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

Dozens. I’d seen dozens of Gulf Fritillary butterflies in the Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat, in 2016. Maybe more than dozens. Maybe hundreds. If the sun shone, as it is almost always, there Gulf frits are flying and nectaring and males scouring, scouring all corners for likely females.

I’ve seen males approach females, too many times to count. I don’t recall ever seeing one of those males ever receiving the time of day from a female. I would wonder about that. Gulf frits are very numerous in the Eatonton, Georgia oasis for butterflies, so there was no concern for the future, Gulf frits would fly, but how, when, why and where did they consummate their mission: to produce progeny?

This answered many of my theories. I noticed these 2, in an area of mixed perennials and native grasses and plants. They were almost motionless, facing one another…

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Singing the Blues in Israel

Incoming . . . Blue!

Winged Beauty Butterflies

Polymattus Icasus Z. butterfly, (dorsal view) photographed by Jeff Zablow in Neve Ativ,  Israel

They would be coming down the trail or crossing the small meadows that lined this Qadesh Trail Valley. They would not heed my requests to stop, and allow me a better view, and the opportunity to capture a few precious images. Israel in March 2015, following a wet winter = good, very good.

As the tiny blue butterflies shot from here to there, I buzzed with expectation. Most would be commonly seen here, but every once and awhile, one of them would be lots more than that, uncommon to highly threatened species, and very, very photo worthy.

This male blue was good to me, pausing to very methodically nectar at these little yellow blooms. Alone there in this lush valley, my ID is Polymmatus Icarus Zelleri, the Common Blue. I’m not certain though, and I note those yellowish tips on the antennae. So, is it possible that . …

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The Butterfly of the Shadows

Northern Pearly Eye Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania

Along favorites trails we keep our eyes alert for butterflies that fly the forest edge. When the weather forecast fails, and clouds that shouldn’t, do appear, its drats! Butterflies almost universally prefer sunny to dappled sunny locales. Bring dark clouds, and butterflies disappear, as quick as that.

When it’s cloudy, or dark or slightly drizzly, there’s a strong temptation to no longer remain alert for random butterfly flight. Years of working trails has taught that when you are moving through moist wooded habitat, or habitat with active streams or moderate wetland, it’s important to not succumb to dropping your attentive radar, for  with wet conditions flanking your trail, chances are good that you will note these beauties, Northern Pearly-Eye butterflies.

Northern Pearly-Eyes are difficult to make approach to. They flee approach, not with jet-like speed, but just as effectively, as they fly their low, looping flight, and just about vanish from sight.

This magnificent Pearly-Eye was seen on Nichol Road trail in Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania. It was to my right on the trail, and the forest that began at trail edge was poorly lit, and humid.

I kept asking the Ab-ve to allow me to get my Macro- lens close to this one. It looked handsomely fresh. I approached, robotically. It held the leaf. Closer again, it remained. Slowly lowered my left knee onto my Tommy knee pad, it was still there.

I love this image, now one of my favorites. A butterfly that when seen looks bland, now revealed to be very shmeksy! when you close the distance from Pearly-eye to Macro- lens.

When I occasionally revisit this image, Oh, how I  appreciate the many features that it shares, so easily.

Jeff