I finished reading Harry Zirlin’s article in the Summer 2017 issue of American Butterflies (NABA), and ‘Go Tell It On The Mountain’ by Zirlin is a tour of the US Parnassian butterflies. Funny that, I’ve not yet met an American parnassian butterfly, but did have that exciting meet-up with Parnassius mnemosyne syra on the peak of Mt. Hermon at the northern limits of Israel.
Harry brought back exciting memories of that day in June, and especially exciting was the moment when this beaut flew in and nectared on these ground-covering blooms!
This Israeli parnassian, distant cousin to the swallowtail butterflies, is a threatened species, and is found only on this 7,000 foot high mountain peak. It survives in an austere habitat, that also features still undiscovered land mines, from earlier battles on the mountain (Eran and I found one, before it found me!).
You do have to reflect on whether or not to post this image. Aricia agestis. The Brown Argus butterfly.
Why didn’t I pitch this slide, as I do the other 4,970 or so that I toss each year? After all, I shoot hand-held, often in a crouch or in some other awkward position.
Why? I’m 6,000 miles+ from home, it’s a spectacular day and I’m on top of Israel’s magnificent Mt. Hermon, still peppered with undiscovered land mines and probably under the supervision of telescope equipped soldiers of 2 different countries.
The mountain-top is rock strewn and it’s butterflies are the most evasive of any I have ever approached!
June is the optimum time to be on this mountain peak. Few if any people and most of its rare butterfly species are flying.
So sure I now share this image with you. I don’t know how many photos of Brown Argus on Mt. Hermon are available. This is my best and it was gone as I belly crawled forward again,on those rocks, to make my next staged approach.