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.
I thought that it was too late in the season to meet up with the Satyr butterfly, but here we are together, on an August 2014 morning. They are sooo predictable, flying just above ground, just where forest meet trail. They almost never fly onto the trail, always moving along the outer tree line.
When you see Megisto Cymela and you’re like me, camera at the ready, there’s that predictable debate = Jeff (to myself), you already have several good images of this satyr, save your film (Fuji slide, ASA 50 or in this case ASA 100). You see the result, the boy in me wants to capture those eye spots, besting any in the slides in my Neumade slide cabinet.
Time to vote? OK, Yes, I love this butterfly. It’s brown reminds me of the delicious hat store I used to frequent on Madison Avenue in NYC, in an earlier life. You know those eye spots transfix me. Thirdly, this is a very comely butterfly. Guilty as charged, magistrate.
Cech and Tudor, in their superb Butterflies of the East Coast, share a happy bit of new, that Little Wood Satyrs are “a successful species.” Good news that, no?