Pune Butterfly Groups walk on ARAI Hill, Kothrud, 19th 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 Family/Scientific name/Common 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

Posted by savita savita, January 21, 2020 03:56

Comments

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Great going :)
@sanjaydate, @rupasrirangan @savita! Good to see the host plant observations, which will help in understanding butterflies and their ecosystem.

Posted by swanand 3 months ago (Flag)
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Thank you Swanand :)

Posted by savita 3 months ago (Flag)

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