Back to the National Butterfly Center?

Erato Heliconian Butterfly on Grass photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

It is a jolt, seeing way different butterflies at the southernmost tip of Texas. The National Butterfly Center (NBC) in Mission, Texas near the border wall is visited by many dozens of butterflies that are native to Mexico. Now more than 6 months after we visited there, I easily remember the excitement that was unleashed when we saw this Erato Heliconican butterfly.

Yes it’s a bit far away, but this is a “rare” visit to the NBC. This butterfly is rarely seen there. We were there, and sooo Happy to enjoy it’s shocking beauty.

Other rare and uncommon butterflies those 6 days? Red-rim Butterfly, Tropical Greenstreak, Malachite, Mexican Fritillary, Julia Heliconian and those I could not shoot.

Mike, Javier and lots of other folks frequently share Lower Rio Grande butterflies that are new to me or that are very rare, i.e., not seen in the U.S. for 5, 10 or more years.

The desire to return there in 2018 is real. The expenses are also real: Delta flight to San Antonio, Enterprise rental car, and rental apartment all add up to big buck$.

It does rival Florida, because you can find butterflies there in November and December . . .

Think it’s easy when you have the lust to go and find spectacular butterflies?


Walking the HolyLand . . . . Searching for Butterflies

Mt. Hermon Seen from Menroh photographed by Jeff Zablow at Menroh, Israel

The request was made several times. While you are on this trip to Israel, please share pictures of the HolyLand that you can. March to April 2017, 4 weeks this time. Visiting my grandsons, Hillel and Boaz, not too far from Caesarea and the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and, searching for Middle Eastern butterflies. It’s not just me. You see, even you could not  roam Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt or Syria, those nations bordering Israel. You can’t presently roam around hunting for images of butterflies. Uh uh. If those governments were aware that you were roaming around, as we do so freely here in the U.S.A., they’d quickly have security fetch you up. Those that might allow you to do so would require that you be escorted 24/7 by ‘guides.’ The risk of roaming in those lands, include kidnapping, robbery, murder and rape.

So HolyLand butterflies? Israel. Where it all began. Wherever you drive, hike, walk in Israel, everywhere, you know, sense that your Patriarchs and Matriarchs actually walked there before. We are spoiled by our cars. They? They walked, very very long distances. To teach, to see, to teach, to follow the Word.

We here are in the village of Menroh,  at the northern reaches of the Upper Galilee region. We see here across the valley know as the Golan and in the distance, is majestic Mt. Hermon. It is April, but snow can still be seen on the peak of Hermon.

Jeff was on that vast peak in June of 2008. Near boiling hot. Cable car ride up. Eagles soaring around that cable car. Super rare butterflies. Land mine! Then, what? Cattle grazing way up there, owned by Syrian farmers just down the other side of Mt. Hermon. As you are reading this, men and women are killing one another just on the Syrian side of Mt. Hermon. This image. Peaceful. What we can’t see on the other, distant side of that beautiful mountain? War! War! War! Rockets. Mines. Syrian regulars, irregulars, armor, jets. Hamas, Hezbollah, Russians, lots and lots of Iranian regulars & irregulars, U.S. ‘advisors’, thankfully now, the remnants of ISIL and a whole slew of mercenaries that we will never know about.

The beautiful, scenic, serene, inspirational and spiritual HolyLand. Here Th-y once walked. Here their presence can be felt. Just beyond the other side of that mountain range, as sadly has been the history of this nexus of our world,  Death, Chaos and Destruction.

Jeff . . . there for the . . . Butterflies

Your HolyLand Geography Lesson, circa March 2015

Mt. Hermon, Israel photographed by Jeff Zablow from Qedesh trail, Israel

I’ve travelled alot this 2015, at least alot for a guy who is kind of reticent to travel to very new places. Me, “the solitary traveler,” makes trips to Georgia, Florida, Western New York, and as seen here, Israel.

I’ve met alot of interesting people this year, and surprise, surprise, the topic often moves from finding butterflies to the current nasty state of the U.S., and to . . . Israel.

I’m amazed at the number of Christians out there, who share zeal (Yep, zeal) for Israel. I didn’t always, hearing not much about Israel when I was a kid. Now, with good belief underpinnings and a daughter, son-in-law and 2 tiny grandsons there, plus extended family . . . Well, that’s why I visit it year after year.

Like U.S. butterflies, Israeli butterflies are beautiful. The other bonus is that Israel is so small, that you can travel north or south in a matter of hours. Butterflies that are found in the Upper Galilee, Golan Heights, Negev, Ein Gedi, or Jerusalem are within a moderate drive from my daughter Rachel’s home.

Seen from Qedesh trail, mid-way across Israel’s northern border, Mt. Hermon greets us at the center of the image. At 7,000 feet, that snow you see prevented my going up there to find butterflies. Remember I went to the peak in 2008, and yes, there were super rare butterflies flying up there. it was a Wow! experience for me, the widow who months before lost the mother of my children.

Though the airfare rates on El Al are OMG! low today (The problem! has emptied the shops and hotels), I still have yet to convince a single Christian to get up and go there. That despite my recounting the crush at Ben Gurion airport, with thousands of Christians coming and going, mostly in groups, from Slovenia, Uzbekistan, Bolivia, Canada and Tanzania.

So, for a quickie HolyLand Lesson, we are standing on this verdant trail and looking due north. Directly on the other side of Hermon mountain is Syria, where tens of thousands of crazed and desperate men are killing one another. To the left, beyond Hermon is Lebanon, that once beautiful country that is buried deep now in Hezbollah, another killer franchise. Somewhat to the sharp right is Jordan, armed to the hip, but with a very resolute leader, keeping all working nicely. Directly south of us, to our back is Jerusalem. On the way to Jerusalem, are many stops that you learned about in Sunday school. Also behind our back, and to the left is Tel Aviv, as hip a city as exists, anywhere.

Any questions?