Getting Back to Those Very Rare HolyLand Ones

Parnassius mnemosyne butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Hermon, Israel

Jeff overcame his concern of heights that day, when he and Eran rode the tram up those 7,000 feet to the peak of Mt. Hermon in the HolyLand. We trudged those miles across Hermon’s peak, to find some of the rarest butterflies in the world. We had no GPS, no guidance, no one who told us where to search. It was 95 degrees F that day, full sun on Hermon. Eran is a bull of a guide, and he carried some many liters of water for us.

We were alone up there, except for a group of kids who came up later, briefly, and a German with his own guide, traversing this world birding site. That was good, for when good butterflies appeared, Jeff easily went off trail to follow them. Those trails were made by cattle, Arab cattle (Syrian or Israeli Arabs ?) that have cut those trails amidst the rock, for what, thousands of years? Off trail Jeff became on-trail Jeff when later in the day, Eran call me over to show me a land mine that had been missed by the sappers who clear those tools of war.

Did we? Yes. We saw many rare butterflies, including Parnassius mnemosyne syra, shown here. She incredibly closely related to the swallowtail butterflies! I love this image, and I remember this moment.

It’s been years, and I want to go back. Problem is that war is raging just down the north slope of Mt. Hermon, and some of the most notorious mass murderers on this planet are down there, seeking to kill.

If I could return to that mountain peak, with its extraordinary butterflies and habitat . . . would you go too?

Jeff

 

Orange Delight

Coral Hairstreak Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Fort Indiantown Gap Military Reservation, PA

What a way to make a day! Come upon a Coral Hairstreak butterfly nectaring at Butterflyweed. Las Vegas won’t take the bet on this one, for even they know that this scene is a long shot. How often do you find both the Coral and the Milkweed that is Butterflyweed, in full mettle, and at the same time. There are years when you can’t find Corals, they just don’t support a flight that year.

We were at Ft. Indiantown Gap to see one of the rarest butterflies east of the Mississippi River, the Regal Fritillary butterfly. Not only did I see squads of Regals, but those rich meadows in central Pennsylvania boasted much much more: Corals, Monarchs, Pipevines, Eastern Black Swallowtails, and Great Spangle Fritillaries.

Some days ago, I posted here to provide a heads-up to anyone who wanted to visit the Ft. Indiantown Gap Military Reserve this June 2018. They usually open the base to those who want to enjoy seeing the Regals.

Seeing Regals and such Corals? Excellent therapy!

Jeff