Upon Meeting A Rare HolyLand Mt. Hermon Fritillary

Melitaca trivia butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Hermon, Israel

Butterflies have so enriched my life, so bolstered me when I needed reassurance that I was who I wanted to be. Frieda’s Passing A”H, betrayal in business, enduring many life threatening situations, serving as an artillery officer when ‘Nam got boiling hot, raising children of much accomplishment . . . so much happened, and these last decades found a way to continue to be me, the street kid from Brooklyn whom few have understood, truth be told. It’s difficult to bring folks to understand who you are, isn’t it?

Searching for butterflies is a joy for me, and, when I find very rare butterflies, on difficult to work mountain tops, that joy is sweet, so very sweet. That’s how it was when I met this fritillary butterfly. I was on the peak of Mt. Hermon, a biblical mountaintop at the very northern border of Israel.

I went there knowing that more than 12 butterflies were found only on Mt. Hermon. I knew that fritillaries were among those preciously rare butterfly species. When Eran and I found this fresh Melitaea Persia montium, I was so so so excited. I just knew that we’d found a butterfly that few had ever seen, it flying only on the peak of this 7,000 foot mountain.

The late morning heat was burning (at least 93 in full Middle Eastern sun, the Hermon peak with desert like humidity), other butterflies had been very difficult to approach, that land mine that Eran found, in an area I was heading toward and the realization, gnawing in my mind, that this could be my one and only trip here for a long time (lifetime?) . . . all caused me to SOOOO plead with G-d that this OMG! butterfly enable/allow me to score images of it.

Today? I checked again and Google continues to include this image, when you or any of the world’s 6.9 Billion folks Google M. Persia Montium. That lites my fire. Yes it does.


I Was There! I Was There!

Cow photographed by Jeff Zablow on Mt. Hermon, Israel, 6/16/08

I was there, on the peak of Mt. Hermon, the northernmost boundary of the HolyLand. That cow was there too, having made its way up to the top of this 7,000 foot mountain. At the time, there was no war there, it was 2008, Frieda A”H had passed in January, and I needed this trip to recover, recover from nearly 8 years of watching Frieda’s Non Hodgkins Lyimphoma/Stem Cell Transplant take her life . . .

That’s Syria down there. No war. No war. You’re seeing what, maybe more than 100 miles into Syria. Me? I was there to find and shoot very, very rare butterflies. I did, and I’ve shared them here, for years.

Today? Just today I read that Iran has slipped more than 50,000 of its soldiers into the land you see here. They’ve had them put on Syrian uniforms, and they’re driving around Syrian military vehicles. What does this mean? It means that Iran will soon begin a war right where you are looking, in this photo.

My Dad once told me (He served in WWII) that because he and your Dad, Uncles, Cousins fought in WWII, there’d be no more wars, ever again.

These bloodthirsty Iranians, once again, dispute what Dad told me. They are there to try to massacre Israelis, in these supposedly modern, new age times. I have 2 grandsons in Israel. Who among you will allow such?


I Saw The Red Rim Butterfly

Red-rim butterfly on leaf photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

We were in the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas near the border wall. John and Nancy prepped me with the forewarning that we might, might see very rare butterflies. It was the week of Christmas, and I was puzzled. How could we see real rare butterflies in the dead of winter?

The Crosbys were so right! Here is a look at one of the rarest of butterfly visitors to the United States. The Red Rim butterfly, It stayed there in that semi-darkened stand of trees, some 15 feet or so away from me. I was shooting with my Canon Macro- lens, and struggled to cop the very best images that I could.

That broad band of red, on an otherwise black butterfly? Striking and I think that I thanked G-d for the treat that was presented before me.

I saw the Red Rim. Few can ever say they did.


Rare Butterflies in the HolyLand

Aricia Agestis Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Neve Ativ, Israel

View from Neve Ativ East to Syria photographed by Jeff Zablow at Neve Ativ, Israel

I went to the HolyLand (Israel) to see my grandsons and to photograph rare butterflies. Hillel and Boaz were such Fun! to be with, and rare butterflies?

I scored many images of very rare butterflies there in the Golan. You’d LLOOVVEE trekking the Golan Heights as they used to be called. So much of what you heard in Sunday School took place there, They walked there, and admired the very same butterflies that I found there. That thought so sobered me.

Here’s Aricia Agestis Agestis, seen in the meadows surrounding the village of Neve Ativ, on the slopes of Mt. Hermon. Listed as Protected, I smiled BiG when I spotted its telltale orange wing margin spots.

Forget your outdated mental images of Israel. This second image shows the outskirts of Neve Ativ, green and lush. Just over that hill in the background is the world’s active battlefield, intercine, bloody Syria. Israel? Safe and beautiful. Syria, like the Killing Fields of Cambodia.

The Middle East. A Conundrum.


It’s A . . . Banded

Banded Hairstreak Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in Raccoon Creek State Park

There are many things that you just don’t see too many times in your life. For me that includes Presidents of the United States, National Football League players, and red heads with green eyes.

I have seen very rare butterflies on the peak of Mt. Hermon, Diana Ross in that elevator, and my children graduate from universities. Black Widow spiders, Kirk Douglas, wild boar, Eastern timber rattlesnake, and many grandchildren.

I’ve seen this butterfly, the Banded Hairstreak two times these 25 years, this one in Raccoon Creek State Park, 45 minutes west of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and another two in a city park in Toronto, Ontario. They fly where there are oak trees and hickory trees, and they are solitary butterflies and for sure, uncommon.

Their blue and orange spots sing, and their tune is one I wouldn’t mind, some more times.