When You See A Rare One In The HolyLand

Nordmannia Myrtale butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Hermon, Israel

Eran Banker was my guide, who went with me to the top of Mt. Hermon, in the HolyLand (Israel). Israel on the south face of the mountain, Syria on the north face. Why? More than 10 species of butterfly are found on that mountain peak, but no where else. That really enticed me. Eran lugged liters of water that 95F day, and we spent many hours up there, in full, unrelenting sun.

Did we see ’em? Yes, I saw many rare, Protected Species. Not a one nectared peacefully on those sparse little blooms up there. All flew in fast, nectared faster, and left just as quickly. I was unable to photograph many, trying to negotiate large rock . . . and later, a bit shaken when Eran called me over to show me a landmine, lurking there for decades. Landmines? set just where the butterflies fly. Hmmm.

I tell you, seeing and being able to shoot Protected Species is a very satisfying experience. You pause after, to applaud yourself for your great success, and soon you dwell on how privileged you have been to have met such a rare winged beauty.

Our female Nordmannia myrtale evoked such joy and introspection. It flew in, landed on that flat leaf, and happily suffered my cautious approach.

Me, the street kid from Brooklyn, on the peak of Mt. Hermon, with G-d’s winged gems . . .

Jeff

Going Back to Try Again

Mourning Cloak Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in Toronto Canada
So beautiful, and so difficult to photograph. This image of a Toronto, Canada Mourning Cloak is the most satisfying one that I have in my slide storage cabinet. . . and yet when I examine it, I long for the next opportunity to improve on it. This species of butterfly is among my favorites for many reasons. Totally unexpected when you meet one, at times approachable and often very skittish, colors that dazzle, and that session I had with one some years ago, after my wife passed.

Last year, in June 2013 I was on Mt. Meron, in northern Israel. I was there to meet for the first time with another bedazzler of a beauty, the Two-Tailed Pasha (Charaxes Jasius) butterfly. OMG! I only saw 3 during my 4 days on the mountain. They must have been trained by the IAF (Israeli Air Force). Each was resting on the trail, each would not allow me any closer than 30 feet, and each disappeared to Eastern Strawberry Trees at incredible speed.

I am going back to Israel again, on June 18th. Back to Mt. Meron, back to capture images of Two-Tailed Pashas. I will not be posting on wingedbeauty.com until my return to the States on July 17. Hopefully we will have celebrated the birth of a grandchild, and I will return with photographs of many butterflies, including Two-Tailed Pashas. Also . . . hopefully Iraq, Syria, Jordan and Iran will not ‘boil over’ while I am there, or forever, for that matter.

Au revoir!