Visit Family and Photograph Butterflies

Skipper butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow in White Tank Mountains, Regional Park,  AZ

I was visiting my mother-in-law in Sun City West, on the outskirts of Phoenix, Arizona. The sun rises there at about 6 A.M. and I myself must leave the arroyos by 10 A.M. If I linger past 10 A.M., I risk a repeat of the morning that I almost didn’t make it out.

This is my usual destination, White Tank Mountains Regional Park, some 35 minutes from her house. Since my first trip to there, many sizable developments have been built, adding thousands of homes to this desert. As I drive through, I often puzzle at where they are drawing their water from, and where they will in the future?

The arroyos are bone-dry creek beds, that are wet briefly during the year. You must always be aware, should an instantaneous downpour send water crashing down the arroyo.

Blooms are sparse in the arroyo, but there are some, and there are a surprising number of butterflies that come to sip whatever sugary nectar they can locate. This dusky colored skipper has done well, scoring what must be a nourishing supply of rich carbohydrates.

A morning in the arroyo, and then back to swap family news.


You Will Never See This Parnassian Butterfly

Levantine marbled white butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Hermon, Israel

She’s oblivious to the vicious fighting going on just at the northern base of her mountain home. She is oblivious to the very real presence of the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) on the mountain-top and throughout the base of the mountain. She is oblivious to the United Nations observer troops stationed nearby. She is oblivious to the super-snooping devices peppered throughout the mountain area (U.S. and who knows who else). She’s oblivious to the ISIS as they and their Iranian allies drive through southern Syria, creating mischief, mayhem and slaughtering Christians.

Now for a breath of fresh air. She is a type of Swallowtail, closely related to our Tiger Swallowtails, Black Swallowtail, Spicebush Swallowtail, Pipevine Swallowtail, the other Swallowtails and our western U.S. Parnassians.

She is Parnassius Mnemosyne Syra. She is fresh, and was nectaring with full concentration. She flies in Israel only, is protected, lives only on this moutain-top and has a short-flight time.

When she flew in to this boreal bloom, I snapped to attention. This, I knew at once, was some real special butterfly.

But . . . you will never see this particular Parnassian, because, despite the many times you thought about going to the Holyland, and despite the fact that you are blessed and can afford the trip now, you 100% believe that the Land of Milk and Honey is a battleground. Sorry, but it seems that our United States of America is becoming unstable, and Israel is in fact that . . . Land of Milk and Honey.