Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Yeoor and Nagla according to me are butterfly hotspots near Mumbai. It may be difficult to see 120 species in one season. But the count can be surely near or cross 70 species in a day!!!!! During butterfly festival 2007 we spent entire Sunday 4 March 2007 in Yeoor and had a great wash of colors from 70 species. We were happy to play 'holi' with them instead humans.
The species you might encounter on any 'puddling' Sunday are like Tawny rajah Charaxes bernardus, Black rajah Charaxes solon, common emigrant Catopsilla pomonaf emale catilla form, common wandere Pareronia valeria female philomela form, Gaudy baron Euthalia lubentina - possibly the most elegent species of the area, Peacock royal Tajuria cippus, rare White tufted royal Pratapa deva, Monkey puzzle Rathinda amor, a uncommon Silverstreak blue Iraota timeleon etc etc.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Emigrants, spot swordtails, pansies!!!! During puddling season all species of pansies are found near the water body: Yellow pansy, Blue pansy, Grey pansy, Chocolate pansy and Peacock pansy.
Emigrants, both common Catopsilla pomona and Mottled Catopsilla pyranthe are fairly common. They sit on wet soil in flocks. Its treat to watch the yellow cloud on the soil. Chocolate pansy Precis iphita suddenly appears in the scene from nowhere and you feel like looking at some new species. This is probably as common as spotted deer in Kanha or Bandhavgad.

Zebra in India?

The larger butterfly and the one on the right is Pea blue Lampides boeticus. While the rest are all Zebra blue Leptotes plinius. The blues sit on wet soil as well as wet stone. Once I saw a stone little bigger than a coconut completely covered by blues. Line blues, plains cupid, zebra blue, pea blue, dark cerulean, common cerulean, guava blue all of them can be seen on soil.

Cupids everywhere

Plains cupid Chilades pandava is all around on the wet soil. You can sit anywhere and watch these beauties. Normally they are found in one species flock but sometimes seen with other species of Lycaenids.

Three sailers

At the top is Common sailer Neptis hylas. On the right is Short banded sailer Neptis columella and the left one is Chestnut streaked sailer Neptis jumbah. All of these sailers are in plenty during dry season. It seems like somebody is gliding around you with black and white glider. Common sailer has litttttle slow flight than other two.
Five in oneThis could be possibly the uncommon site. I happen to click five species in single frame. Starting from the top clockwise is Plum judy Abysara icherius, Common sailer Neptis hylas, Commander Moduza procris, Blue tiger Tirumala limniace and Baronet Symphaedra nais.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Idea behind it

The idea of this festival hit me in December 2006. There have been programs where you are introduced to variety of organisms. Most of field trips are for bird watching. If you want to see tiger you have to go for long journeys.
Sanjay Gandhi NP is spread over 103 sqkm. There is published record of 147 species of butterflies from the area of which I have seen 130. According to me Yeoor and Nagla block are butterfly hot spots in the area.
Among insects, butterflies are the MOST conspicuous creepy crawly fliers. So I thought lets make people aware of these beauties flying around them.
Therefore I conducted trails on four Sundays in 2007 on behalf of HOPE Thane. The response was not over whelming but was surely a success. Maithili, Omkar, Kedar, Vrushal, all of them fresh college grads attended four Sundays. Now its second year since then, they always call me on Saturday evening about Sundays outing and try to make for it.