11 de junio de 2021

First Butterfly Walk for 2021

11th June 2021

Yesterday Neha shared a photograph with me. Looked like some blood drops on a ber leaf. I thought she got pricked with the thron while taking the photograph, she thought it was some butterfly egg so she took picture to check with me.

We both had a hearty laugh at our imaginations and then suddenly felt we are missing butterflying for so long. The day we decided to visit Sihagad and ARAI, Corona lockdown hit and it’s been a long wait. We decided to take calculated risk today to venture out.

For the Butterflies of Pune WA group members, they are familiar with Neha’s Aho. So our concern of ‘how to reach’ the spot Neha has been asking to visit for several months now was solved. We went triple seat (butterflying ke liye ye risk bhi liya) till the spot.

Ab spot tha kaunsa? Locally known as DY Patil College hill or Khandoba Mandir Tekdi (there are three hillocks running together, from DY Patil College side of medium height, then we graduate down to a flat hillock and the Khandoba Mandir tekdi needs a bit of muscle power. We climbed from DY Patil College side. BTW officially its called Mauje Lohegaon Reserve Forest Area (from the board pinned up on the hillock)

Day was quite windy, hills are barren (no huge trees to break wind speed), butterflies we saw were struggling to take hold on ground/vegetation however it was hard for them to get the foothold. Hard for us to photograph them. The first sighting was of a tawny coster, trying to grip its hold on stone as wind made it difficult to fly. Next to struggle for hold was a mottled emigrant. We had another challenge here. Two officials from the plantation department were telling me how to photograph a butterfly. Neha took the time to focus on the tawny coster then, and as I rushed to photograph the tawny coster, she chanced on the mottled emigrant while the officials kept telling us, how to photograph butterflies. Anyhow, we slowly distanced from them and get back to exploring the vegetation on the hill.

Next on the surprise list was a plumbeous/common shot/ scarce shot silverline. I could just get a glimpse when it flew away before we could photograph it. Looked for it a bit, did not find so we started walking ahead. The butterfly popped up again right infront, but again tested our patience with hiding act right infront. We went ahead and spotted our first Capparis sapling on hill. Yet to identify the species, definitely not C zeylanica that we keep observing on our other hot spot. We were hoping to see pioneer or gull caterpillars on the plant but it was clean.

With couple of showers right from beginning of May month, all the ground vegetation is breaking its dormancy and popping up. There were interesting grass species all set to hold up the mud during heavy rains. Tiny nail head sized flowers have started blooming and attracting butterflies 10 fold its size to come and nectar on it. We spotted another silverline on the rocky patch. It was really tired of the wind and wanted to rest. So it was trying to dig all its three pair of leg onto the rock or grass that the high wind pushed it across. We were also pinning ourselves flat to photograph it.

We saw couple of more silverlines and danaid eggflies flying around us, as if to hold us back. They were successful but again we picked up pace to explore more things around. Spotted another Capparis species (this was growing like C zeylanica but the leaf shape was quite different. Need to consult expert to confirm id) that had plenty of pioneer caterpillars in all instars. Further ahead we spotted a female trying to lay egg on plant but the winds made it difficult for her to get a foothold on the leaf. We also saw couple of Woodfordia fruticosa saplings along the hills. Both are hosts for common sliverline at least. Perhaps the reason also why we saw the butterfly around. Need to inspect the hostplant association more frequently though. The winds now gave way to rains, we could see it coming from a distance as we were on the highest point. If not for the scare of catching cold now, in times of this Pandemic we’d have not rushed but enjoyed the drizzle. Even while running we eyed this Capparis and found plenty of pioneer eggs everywhere.

Now we’d reached hill no 3, Khandoba Tekdi that has Khandoba temple. The rains had stopped and suddenly it became sunny, with it the tawny and the danaid were basking or say luring us to photograph them. Spotted a little orange tip here, first sighting in Lohegaon for both of us, but as destiny has it, we could not photograph it, despite the efforts put in. It was 3 pm, we were happy but tired and decided to call it a day. Neha’s Aho were patiently waiting for us, without uttering a single word of impatience. We climbed down, looked up at the temple and made a promise to come back again, more frequently to enjoy nature and document the bio diversity around. As this visit taught us, explore the world but heart is where home is. Lohegaon is our home and our heart. More we explore, more we find and more we share with you all 😊

List of butterflies we recalled during the walk
1) Tawny coster – plenty
2) Mottle emigrant
3) Lemon emigrant
4) Lime swallowtail
5) Common silverline – plenty
6) Plumbeous/Common shot/Scarce Shot silverline
7) Little orange tip
8) Small Cupid
9) Common Cerulean
10) Common grass yellow (surprisingly not many as we see in city)
11) Danaid eggfly – plenty

Ingresado el 11 de junio de 2021 por savita savita | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

21 de enero de 2020

ARAI Butterfly Walk for January 2020

Time: 9:00 am to 11:30 am

Members who attended: Sanjay Date, Rupa Rangan, Rucha Patil, Sekhar Chavan, Shabbir Karu, Shreya Diwan, Savita Bharti

Sanjay Sir’s update on ARAI was inviting to conduct a butterfly walk that was missing out for past couple of weeks. It was first Sunday off for Shabbir Sir from his gardening classes and he grabbed the opportunity to come for the walk, along with his classmate Mr Sekhar Chavan. It was first PBG walk for Shreya Diwan and Rupa Rangan as well.

Monsoon ARAI was all wet and slippery, post monsoon it looked all lush green and the walk on 19th the hill has turned a shade of light brown and one patch of black due to grass burning. Therefore, unlike other times the first sighting was after a bit of walk near the waterhole Sanjay Sir is maintaining for birds. A pea blue flew and settled somewhere in grass. The light brown and white bands merged well with the grass making it difficult to spot. The female enjoyed the morning sun and slowly opened the wing for basking, so we got our first photograph of the day.

The Cadabad fruticosa Sanjay Sir mentioned in one of the group posts earlier was just opposite to the waterhole. The other plant growing around is shedding its leaf so the flowering Cadaba is seen very clearly. He even spotted a clump of eggs (gone bad) on one of the leaves. We couldn’t make out though, whose it could be.

A plain orange tip flew around as if guarding its territory. It gave all of us a good run around but it was worth it as we all got its photograph. Around same spot we got three plain orange tip female, so well merged within the dry grasses that it was difficult to spot it. All the time I heard Rupa calling out, “Where is it?”

The next member to be spotted was from same family, a little orange tip. The sightings were not rushing in but whatever we were finding was like a gem. The Salai (Boswellia serrata) plant is flowering and fruiting now. We got some lessons from Sanjay Sir on using mobile manual mode and fixing focus to one point. Interestingly we all had this feature on our smart phones but never made use of it. The Salai flower was our first subject to try out the feature from our mobile.

Little ahead we found the white orange tip. Like always it settled inbetween the growth and though it was stationary, the undergrowth made it difficult to photograph it. From here we went to the last point, what we call the crimson tip adda. A little sapling of Capparis had a little common gull caterpillar feeding on it. An empty chrysalis of maybe a Crimson tip or the Little/plain orange tip was spotted by Sanjay Sir under a leaf of Cadabad. Few eggs were also seen but they were so tiny to be identified with naked eye.

Sir had to rush back now, so he took our leave and rushed ahead. We all also decided to call it a day and return back. While we took our time to walk back, I got a call from Sanjay Sir to rush immediately to the agave plant clump. A crimson tip was spotted by him. We all rushed, but when we reached there, the tip has gone. None the less a tawny coster was giving a beautiful pose balancing on a dry grass twig. I hope someone got the picture and shares on the group. While we got busy clicking this, Sanjay Sir went ahead. Again I received a call to come down and as we rushed we did spot a crimson flying around.

It was some mad rush here and there but we all managed to get a photograph of it. Shabbir Sir was most amazed and I guess enjoyed the best just observing the butterfly flutter by. This was his fist sighting of a crimson tip and I could see how much he enjoyed watching it fly. A gull and pioneer distracted us a bit in between Shreya managed to photograph the pioneer.

We decided to walk down as it was getting sunny and later for our next engagements. As always, I lost the track and had to get the team down from a thorny patch! It turned out to be good as we saw a common rose pass by like a glider. Also the point we again found back our walking path, we spotted a Flacourtia having three common leopards hovering over it. The plant has recently started getting fresh tender leaves and flowers. Maybe a good sign for the leopards to breed. If we keep a record for an annual cycle, we’d learn the breeding pattern along with seasonal changes here 😊 Maybe we keep periodic documentation as a futuristic goal of PBG.

As I am visiting ARAI for past one year, I see a lot many man made changes which are impacting the natural habitat of wildlife on the hill. From photograph walks to getting pets on the hill to constructions right at the base of hill and now I see the burning of dry grasses around. This feels so sad, few plants are cropping up from group as its their time to grow (includes tiny Cadaba fruticosa hosts to all tips from the hill) the periodic burning takes away the little chance these plants get to survive. With the burning also goes their habitat to rest/roost and breed. I wonder if something more constructive can be done about the Gliricidia plants around than the dry grasses posing no potential harm to the habitat.

Attached butterfly list we were able to document during the walk and
link to butterfly photographs https://www.inaturalist.org/calendar/savita/2020/1/19

Serial no Scientific name

Lycaenidae/Blues

  1. Euchrysops cnejus cnejus/Oriental Gram Blue
  2. Lampides boeticus/Pea Blue

    Nymphalidae/Brush footed

  3. Melantis leda leda/Oriental Common Evening Brown
  4. Ypthima asterope Mahratta /Indian Common Three-ring
  5. Acraea violae/Tawny Coster
  6. Phalanta phalantha phalantha/Oriental Common Leopard
  7. Junonia lemonias lemonias/Chinese Lemon Pansy
  8. Junonia orithya swinhoei/Pale Blue Pansy
  9. Hypolimnas bolina jacintha/Oriental Great Eggfly
  10. Tirumala limniace exoticus/Oriental Blue Tiger

    Papilionidae/ Swallowtails

  11. Pachliopta aristolochiae aristolochiae/Indian Common Rose

    Pieridae/ Whites & Yellows

  12. Catopsilia Pomona/Common Emigrant
  13. Eurema hecabe hecabe/Oriental Common Grass Yellow
  14. Eurema laeta laeta/Indian Spotless Grass Yellow
  15. Cepora nerissa Phryne/Dakhan Common Gull
  16. Belenois aurota aurota/Indian Pioneer
  17. Colotis aurora/Plain Orange-tip
  18. Colotis danae danae/Indian Crimson Tip
  19. Colotis etrida etrida/Indian Little Orange-tip
  20. Ixias Marianne/White Orange-tip

Ingresado el 21 de enero de 2020 por savita savita | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

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