His Favorite Butterfly?

Apharitis Cilissa butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Meron, Israel

I went there in June, that my plan well before I flew to the HolyLand, Israel. I wanted to see this butterfly, this Very Rare, Protected butterfly. Apharitis Cilissa flies in June only, and only in the Upper Galilee. I went to Mr. Meron, stayed in a SPNI Nature field house, and when I worked the trails on SPNI’s refuge reserve, I found them!

They’re tiny, gorgeous in the Middle Eastern sunlight, and finally, after following them (my timing was perfect, for I found a fresh flight of them), I met this one, I’m thinking a female. Nectaring on a pretty bloom, she moved her wings to and fro, as some do, and here we have much to see. She exposes her richly hued upper wing, and we see so much of her detail, including her tails and the metallic spots on her wings, they excitingly reflecting the strong Middle Eastern sun.

Little doubt have I that Jesus and the Prophets made similar treks, from their nearby homes, to see A. Cilissa and to be motivated and moved by the magnificence of G-d’s creations.


Hunting Fritillaries in the HolyLand

Fritillary Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Iron Falls, Metullah, Israel

Way, way up at the northern edge of the Galilee, I stood there looking at Lebanon. Hostile now, with the historic Lebanese at the mercy of the deeply entrenched Hezbollah hordes. Sad that, looking at a once peaceful, prosperous country overrun with terrorists, who boast, get this, that they have “100,000 rockets.” The boast of modern barbaric.

Yes, it was sunny and beautiful, and the war toys of those primitives remained in their storehouses. Good. I was in Metullah to see rare fritillary butterflies. Saw none in Metullah, and left there to visit Iron Falls, a park just outside the town.

Drove the few minutes to Iron Falls. Parked and worked the trails and agricultural field edges. I can’t say that I saw much to get excited about. The falls were spectacular, and it is amazing to see real water falls in the arid Middle East. Mt. Hermon did still have some snow cover, and the Galilee and Golan were awash in the product of the slow melt on Hermon.

4% discouraged, I headed to my Hertz rental car in the parking lot. Stopping at park benches that surround the lot, I took out one of my beloved Coca Loca bars, and 2 bites in, What!! I watched a sizable butterfly fly toward the picnic tables and descend down to the ground near me. Battlestations! A fritillary. Which one? One of the rare, protected species of frits? Would this day’s jaunt be a home run and a major success?

I slowly left my bench, protected my Coca Loca’s last couple of bites, and robotically approached the fritillary. It stayed at its spot. I carefully went knee down. The butterfly tolerated that. I shot Fuji ASA 50 slide film exposure after exposure. Some 13 or so exposures later, my heroic fritillary butterfly took off, as a rocket, and was gone.

Is this one of the protected, rare fritillaries found only in the northern Galilee and Golan? I am working to determine that!