Coppers In The Galilee (Really)

Lycaena Phlaeas butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Nahal Dishon National Park, Upper Galilee, Israel

We have many wingedbeauty Followers who love to see posts of butterflies in the HolyLand (Israel). I am happy to share some, for photographing in the pristine, almost unspoiled wilds of the Upper Galilee, Golan and the Golan’s Mt. Hermon, is thrilling, truth be told. To think that They walked these same ancient trails, and stopped to examine/admire the same butterflies, is very sobering, very profound.

So it was here, an encounter with this male Lycaena phlaeas timeus, a copper, met in Nahal Dishon National Park in the very Upper Galilee. He’s very vivid in color and marking, and he sports those classy blue spots, seen on the outer margin of his hindwing.

Photographing butterflies in the Galilee and the Upper Golan, wild, you don’t see anyone for hours. You’ve never done that yet, have you?

Not showing off, just stating the facts, M’am.

Jeff

Back to Big Bend (Florida)

Sign = Big Bend, Spring Creek Unit photographed by Jeff Zablow in Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, Florida's Panhandle

Viet Nam? No. Mongolia? No. Costa Rica eco-tour? No. Sao Paolo and then to the Amazon watershed? No? Alaska? No. Turkey? For sure no. Even Washington State, had to be scrubbed.

Where then in this 2019? Truth be told, I had an unforgettable 5 days at the amazing Florida Panhandle place, Big Bend Wildlife Management Area.

Mobbed by Palamedes Swallowtails, challenged by Georgia Satyrs (Bet you can’t cop a good image of me, ’cause the sweat is pouring down your forehead, and streaming over your sweatband). Tiny blues of several species led me in long hide and seeks. Monster Giants and Monarchs.

This month, April, me and ‘Eagle eyes’ head back to Big Bend. Destination? The other smashing unit at Big Bend, the Hickory Mound unit.

The possibilities? Infinite. Butterflies of what, 50 species? 60?

Spanking new Florida fishing licenses, for the little river running alongside the VRBO rental must be swarming with fish to fry.

Jeff

My Birthday Butterfly

Plain Tiger butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mishmarot, Israel

My Fuji slide film (Velvia 50)? I love it, even as its price continues to climb. My eyes are so attended to the hundreds of hours that I spend in the bush. When I get my images back from Parsons, Kansas, the rich color pleases me, for it is 100% true to the real-time butterflies that I see.

Yes, tomorrow is my birthday, and it will be a quiet one. On the eve of B-day, I’ve decided to share an image taken in the HolyLand, at Mishmarot, Israel, north of Tel Aviv and 15 minutes from Caeseria, and the Mediterranean Sea.

This Plain Tiger butterfly (Danaus chrysippus chrysippus) is closely related to North America’s Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus). This Israeli one is much more difficult to approach than our Monarch. Scoring the image was not easy, and closer approach was not to happen.

I often wonder how you entertain my frequent sharing of HolyLand butterflies? Me? I think of Who? and How? Th-y saw them back then, and truth be told, I am moved by that. But with my Birthday hours away, I am going to hope that . . .

Jeff

Rare Middle Eastern Parnassian

False Apollo butterfly in Nahal Dishon National Park, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Upper Galilee, Israel

I drove my rental car up, up into the hilly Upper Galilee of Israel. Lacking any guidance, I came upon Nahal Dishon Park. Drove in, and parked. Nahal in Hebrew mean stream. The Nahal Dishon stream moves its water from the higher elevations in the Golan, south westerly. People were coming and going from this park, mostly following the Dishon stream toward its origin. Me? I went in the opposite direction, and was soon alone, naturally.

March is a super time to traipse the Galilee and the Golan, for the snow capped Mt. Hermon range generously waters all below it, and the wildflowers were all around me, lush. The landscape blanketed by vegetation, verdant green everywhere.

I was seeing butterflies, a lot. I’ve been coming to Israel to shoot, since 2008. Most butterflies were now familiar to me. Truth be told, I came to see rare Middle Eastern butterflies. I was in high excitation, for the Upper Galilee is home to many of them.

Bingo! Here’s the most exciting meet-up that morning, a female False Apollo, the Parnassian Archon apollinus. She’s fresh and festooned with reds, blues, black, yellow.

You know that my approach, armed with my Macro- lens, was robotic. She held to that rock, and reluctant to risk all, I stopped a prudent distance from her, and shot, shot, shot, shot, shot.

Female butterflies are generally more relaxed than males and don’t fly like maniacs, as males mostly do. She held her rock perch. I smiled, and Thanked G-d for this opportunity.

A rare, hard to find cousin of our Swallowtails.

Have I seen a parnassgan butterfly in the U.S.? Nope, not yet. They only fly west of our Mississippi River, and mostly in high mountain. If you were along with me, I might do high mountain. Otherwise heights bedevil me.

Jeff

Schooled By Little Metalmarks

Little Metalmark butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Shellman Bluff, GA

There they were, finally. Little Metalmark Butterflies. Shellman Bluff, Georgia, along the eastern coast of the USA. Months of anticipation, and there I was with Nancy and John. I should have expected them to be tiny, but truth be told, I was taken aback, for they were smaller than tiny. They were tinier than tiny.

They were methodically nectaring on tiny yellow blooms, and they all but posed, as they slowly worked the flowers, one after another.

I’ll admit to a bit of personal bravado, me thinking that I will leave there with several excellent exposures of these flying gems. I especially wanted to capture images with those silvery hindwing bands, smartly reflecting the strong Georgia sun.

And? Well I’ve studied and restudied the 6 or so exposures that I didn’t pitch into the trash. This one, for instance does Pop! those silvery bands, features other decent Little Metalmark shares (one good antenna, an OK abdomen and a decent eye capture).

17% overconfident Jeff, got schooled by those Metalmarks. Why?

They were so tiny that they required that I crouch over in a very uncomfortable position, that awkward twist of body became increasingly difficult to sustain. They did move across the flower, forcing frequent movement and camera adjustment, then they would fly some 2-3 feet to another flower, sending me following them, into yet another and another pronounced crouch. Soon the sweat begin beading up on my forehead and then, sweat would trickle down over eyes, the Georgia morning humidity soon semi-blinding me, salt in the eyes.

This was before I upgraded to my Canon 100mm/2.8 IS (Image Stabilization) lens. IS lenses compensate for the almost imperceptible sway that moves the camera lens when you shoot such tinies in such challenging shoots.

So, yes, those Little Metalmarks schooled me, learned me good, to not come into the field fully expecting to land the big one, so to speak. Beware specks of butterflies on minuscule flowers, on steamy hot mornings , for the odds of copping a dropdead gorgeous image of the bejeweled Little Metalmark favor Las Vegas, and not the boy from Brooklyn!

Jeff