Show Stopping Vanessa (Israel)

Painted lady butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Ramat Hanadiv,  Israel

Dubbed the “world’s most widespread butterfly (Cech and Tudor, 2005),” this hunk is shown as he was seriously patrolling his territory at the remarkable arboretum, Ramat Hanadiv, in Israel. Imagine, the images of Painted lady butterflies shared in Butterflies of the East Coast (Princeton University Press) are nearly identical to this photo, despite the nearly 7,000 miles that separate these populations.

Sporting a wardrobe pleasing list of Vanessa cardui‘s best looks, including good-sized white spots amidst a wash of full black, eye-pleasing orangey-brown, white wing fringes, and hindwing eyespots dabbed with centers of baby-blue. All carefully patterned together to insure that we savor this show-stopper. Surely, receptive females will take note.

These gardens at Ramat Hanadiv are among my favorite destinations in Israel. The perennial gardens are lushly planted with gazillions of nectaring blooms, and, after a morning of photographing butterflies, the excellent cafe/restaurant is … right there, at the entrance to the planted beds. I have been going there for years now. Shoot until the sun gets too high…then walk 50 feet into the air- conditioned eatery for tasty gluten-free (for me, regular for y’all) selections + (of course) … dessert. Then walk another 100 feet to the generous parking lot, and off you go, satiated, smiling and mission accomplished. Good.


At Phipps Conservatory, a Eastern Tailed-Blue Butterfly Warms Itself in the Morning Sun

Eastern Tailed Blue Butterfly at Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh

When you’re searching for large, photogenic butterflies your eyes are trained for movement and keen to see activity on nectaring wildflower. After much time spent doing this you find that you are also wired to notice smaller, yet unexpected photographic opportunities.

This is such a find. Our female Eastern Tailed-Blue butterfly has minutes before left her night time hiding place in the Outdoor Gardens of the Phipps Conservatory and now warms herself with the morning sun’s gentle rays. There is little activity around her at this morning hour (9:20).

This is the view you will enjoy of Everes comyntas. Note her white wing fringes, the sweet orange hindwing dots surrounding black dots. Her gray is rich and her ‘tails’ mostly gone, as the result of?

Very often people stroll over from nearby (very nearby) University of Pittsburgh and from Carnegie Mellon University to sit on the welcoming benches of the Outdoor Gardens and to stroll through the Gardens to collect their thoughts, prepare for their lecture and ponder their research path. Our Eastern Tailed-Blue helps relax them and reminds them to remain grounded and enjoy the rewards of being an esthete.