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

Publicado por savita savita, 11 de junio de 2021

Comentarios

Thumb

Nice writeup.

Publicado por vijaybarve hace 11 días (Marca)
Thumb

Thank you Sir :-)

Publicado por savita hace 11 días (Marca)

Agregar un comentario

Acceder o Crear una cuenta para agregar comentarios.