The Steady March to . . . 2017

Cardinal flower wildflowers, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Jamestown Audubon Center in New York

Enjoying the images shared by so many on Facebook these recent days, it reminds how patiently we endure these cold, snow-showery days. Blessed we were to so enjoy our 2016, with its sunny days, and luxuriant fauna and botany.

These years, we travel more, bust-out more, and if you’re here now, want, want to see more butterflies, fresher butterflies and butterflies just NOW re-discovered in the corner of some not too far away privately-held farm or tract. ’16 in the butterfly-bank, we allow ourselves the luxury . . . thinking ahead to that place you will, will, get to in 2017, and get there not to early, nor too late, but just when they are aloft.

I’m certainly with you there, and there are several places I have in mind, so long as life, and fund$ and folks to guide, remain good for this. Pardon the slip, but I much want to see very, very rare Showy lady’s slipper orchids this year, and I have a very good chance of success.

This was met at Jamestown Audubon Center in western New York state. Their reserve included sizable wetlands, and I just had to stop and admire this tight little stand of cardinal flowers. I grow natives in my home garden in Pittsburgh, but these were so richly red, so hotly sensuous, that I clicked away. I was there for some minutes, but no ruby-throated hummingbirds showed up. Back in Pittsburgh, it’s every hour on the hour.

The steady march to 2017 is in progress.

Jeff

Hairy Pink Flax (Israel)

Wildflower, photographed by Jeff Zablow in Society for the Protection of Nature Hermon, Israel

I was up there, March 2015, near the base of Mt. Hermon, in the hilly reserve of SPNI Hermon. The trails was busting bountiful with wildflowers, and the butterflies that I came to see and photograph. I’d brought 53 rolls of Fuji slide film (ASA 50/100) through Security in Pittsburgh and JFK New York and again through Ben Gurion airport. Each time Security and I spent more time together than most, with my “Hand Check!”requests, usually met with frowns and shrugs. My film did not get x-rayed once, despite some pleas that the irradiation does effect film. That a chance I do no wish to take.

So it was supposed, supposed to be butterflies only, but . . . the wildflowers could not be denied. New to me, fresh and beautiful.

These Hairy Pink Flax (Linum Pubescens) were just so pretty, perky and inviting. Why they are not pink, Quien sabe? Three field guides seem to ID them as such.

I love butterflies, wildflowers, cantaloupe, black russians, babaganoush, Breyers mint chip, . . . .

Jeff

Middle Eastern Wildflower ID’d

Lizard Orchid (Protected), photographed by Jeff Zablow in Rosh Hanikra, Israel

Butterflies, it was butterflies that I was after. Good enough that I was finding them here in Rosh Hanikra National Park, at the very northeastern tip of Israel, right at the border with Lebanon.

I was also discovering many wildflowers that I had never seen in Israel. Stop and expend valuable slide film each time? And time, that too was limited (always limited in the field).

When I noted this extraordinary tower of bloom, I stopped. I’d expect to see such an other-worldy plant, like maybe on Mars. How could I not photograph it? It’s an orchid, No?

I have searched my field guides of Israeli Wildflowers, and awaited word from Israel. Well, enough waiting. Without word from expert botanists abroad, I determine that this is NOT an orchid, but a bloomhead of . . . Syrian Bear’s Breech (Acanthus syriacus). Different. Reallllly different.

I’m telling you, come visit Israel, see the HolyLand, and leave some time to split off and work the OMG! habitats that have awaited your visit for 1,000’s of years. You’ve worked too hard, and this trip is deserved. No doubt about that.

Jeff

They’re Back from Kansas

Parnassius mnemosyne butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Hermon, Israel
Rare, and closely related to swallowtails, this Parnassius Mnemosyne butterfly flies on the top of Mt. Hermon, at the northern tip of Israel’s Golan Heights. It’s ancestors dodged countless firefights on the mountain, in 1967. Happily, some survived, and our female here thrilled me when she flew in to nectar, right in front of me. Happy even though it was very hot up there in June, and we had to carry many liters of water to endure this field work. Continue reading