Brown Argus Butterfly (Upper Galilee)

Polyommatus Icarus butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mt. Meron, Israel

After a magical morning on that trail on the upper slope of Mt. Meron, the morning heat combined with that 6:30 A.M. start, were starting to impact me. The frustration of seeing Two-tailed Pashas, and failing to get anywhere near enough to photograph them . . . weighed on me. 7,000 miles of travel, second year trying, equaled a bit of frustration. Don’t I usually get what I’m trying to get?

So I began working my way back on the trail. It was not easy going, with the trail littered with branches of Eastern Strawberry Trees, blasted from their trunks during an especially violent week of winter storms.

The thing is, you know when you search for butterflies, or owls, or terns, or bear, or snakes, that you see what you see. You can only be where you are at the moment, only at one place at a time. If your sought after butterfly happened to be flying where you are not, well what can you do?

This time though, there was an especially strong stand of wildflowers near the trailhead, maybe 30 yards from the end of the trail. There were many very small butterflies flying to those wildflowers, butterflies I’d photographed to my satisfaction. Suddenly . . . Whoa! what was this tiny beauty that flew from the surrounding botany onto a tiny flower? Something new and different. I approached. I followed my Technique protocol. Pop! pop, pop, pop, exposure after exposure. Good, he was kind to me and continued to eat nectar. The Brown Argus (Aricia Agestis). A protected butterfly, uncommon and a very good find. Nice.

Jeff

Banded Hairstreak Butterfly

Banded Hairstreak Butterfly at Raccoon Creek State Park

Meeting Hairstreaks is always a pleasure, and rarely can be anticipated. On July 7th we had this chance encounter at Raccoon Creek State Park. Satyrium calanus was resting on a shrub leaf at the edge of a mixed, deciduous forest. Most of its time is spent feeding high up near the treetops.

I don’t remember seeing them nectaring , although it is reported that they do so on milkweed and dogbane. It’s fun to locate a hairstreak! If your mind was somewhere else while you were walking that trail, your brain immediately goes into overdrive! Am I looking at (remember they are very small) a Striped, a Hickory, a Banded, a Gray, an Oak, or an Acadian?

Found from Florida north to Canada, but not widely found, Hairstreaks contribute to making butterfly identification the challenge that it is.

Jeffrey