Photographing a Rare Butterfly on Israel’s Highest Mountaintop

Rare Copper Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mt. Hermon, Israel

Mt. Hermon is the HolyLand’s highest mountain top. We were there to find and photograph the rare butterflies that live there, and in some cases, nowhere else. On that desolate peak, we found a good number of them. All flew at high speed, so capturing images wasn’t easy. Add to that the searing heat that June day, well into the 90’s Fahrenheit, the enormity of the top of that mountain, and, after Eran, my guide, found that unexploded land mine (from the 1967 War?), the edginess of following butterflies off-trail on Mt. Hermon.,

I’ve studied Dubi  Benyamini’s A Field Guide To The Butterflies of Israel carefully, still not able to make an identification of this Fritillary butterfly seen there. Hopefully, Shalev, Oz or Rachael will aid us in its ID. Melitaea Persia montium?

Visiting Mt. Hermon in the HolyLand, via that cable car climb to its 7,000 found peak? Unforgettable.


A Very Strange Insect from the HolyLand’s Mt. Hermon

Mantid photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mountain State Park, Georgia

I’d read of them before, but had only seen such once in the United States. A mantid that lacked wings, and moved about on the ground only. A mantid not capable of short flights.

Where did I see this? On the peak of Mt. Hermon. Too bad YOU were not with me. You too would have stared and stared at this insect, like me, wondering aloud, why hadn’t G-d finished H-s work on this critter? It just looks like there was more to be added, but just no time to do so.

This mountaintop at the northeastern corner of the HolyLand/Israel is mostly closed nowadays, kept closed by the IDF (Israel Army (Israel Defense Forces)). It’s those more than 50,000 Iranian soldiers, they masquerading as Syrian soldiers, down at the northern base of Hermon, that must be watched, carefully watched.

Today Yaron Mishan shared pics of his fieldwork there, on Facebook, on the top of the mountain. Mama Mia! how I wish I could have joined him and the several others, seeking among the rarest butterflies in the world.


Another Rare HolyLand Butterfly?

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

I watched the full tourist buses enter and leave the National Park at Capernum. The entire time I was standing there, they were coming and going. Being me, I wondered how many of those folks broke lose from their tours and explored on their own.

Me? I’ve not been on an Israeli tour for decades. Really. I find much deep meaning in exploring the Upper Galilee, the Golan, Ramat Hanadiv on the Mediterranean, Binyamina and more. I’m seeking Israeli butterflies and at the same time I’m totally immersed in the Land, in the HolyLand. Few, including my own family, understand. I’m fine, for I understand. My roots there go back, all the way back to King David, Moses, Aaron, Joseph, Benjamin, Rachel, Leah, Jacob, Isaac and Abraham & Sarah.

This very rare HolyLand butterfly, Nordmannia Myrtale was shot on the peak of Mt. Hermon. I knew at the time that the top of that mountain hosted butterflies not found anywhere else, and seeing her, as Joshua and Jesus must have, Rocks! me, it does. Rocks me!