Pattampoochi - Butterfly Magazine Pattampoochi - Wings 1 Veins 3 2017 - Page 17

Butterfly Walks: Valparai Butterfly Walk in Valparai A team of 4 namely Nishanth CV, Kishore Kumaran, Muthu Vivek and Theivapraka- sham H explored Anamalai Tiger Reserve on 01 May 2017. The day started with a cool breeze, clear and bright sky. As a motivating factor, the activity of Common Emigrants was seen increasing from 8.00AM. With the help of forest officials, the team reached a river stream at Anamalai Tiger Reserve and started its butterfly walk at 09.30AM. The team witnessed the mud puddling of Papilionidae like Common Bluebottle, Common Jay, Common Mime, Red Helen, Common Mormon and Lycaenidae like Common Lineblue, Tailless Lineblue, Dingy Lineblue and Common Hedge blue on the crocodile’s waste. Soon Common Nawab and Indian Sunbeam joined the Mud puddling crew. Emigrants were seen slowly moving towards western direction and some mass mud puddling of emigrants were seen on the way of River stream. We saw a similar look- ing butterfly like Common Albatross with enriched black marking and dull base col- our. I alerted the team to have an eye on Lesser Albatross butterfly. The river stream edges had plenty of Acacia torta plants where we were looking for a Malabar Flash. Suddenly a Clipper appears from the canopy of the forest trying to lay eggs on an unknown climber plant. We heard Nishanth calling us loud after sighting his new lifer of Tawny Rajah butterfly. He also alerted us to have a close watch on Five-bar Sword Tail butter- fly. The river becomes deep and we had to take a shortcut through the forest to reach back the river again. The forest path was full of leeches and suddenly appears Dusky Partwing butterfly. We came out of the forest after getting some leech bites on shoulders and necks. It was hot scorching sun at 11.30AM, and the migration was at full swing with mud puddling seen at river banks. We found 100’s of Common Jays and Bluebottles. To our surprise, we saw a huge butterfly in between the Crew. Yes.., it was Five-bar Swordtail mud puddling in between other Papilionidae. The flight was rapid and unstable. Nishanth was quick enough to grab a photograph of Five-bar Swordtail where I captured those moments with my eyes. Sometime later we heard Anti Poaching Watcher calling us to see the yellow butterfly with tails. Yamfly and Indian Ace were puddling on the bird drop- ping. We also saw Cruiser, Rustic, Tamil Yeoman and Leaf Blue puddling on the bird dropping on the leaf in the nearby tree. As the clock ticks 12.30, we took some rest in a shady rocky place and witnessed the migration of emigrants towards west- ern direction. The butterflies were seen moving in chains of ten numbers continuously. To our surprise we also spotted Malabar Banded Swallowtail rapidly wandering and mud puddling for few seconds. As the clouds started turning dark, we started to return back to the starting place. One the way back we saw 100’s of Pieridae butterflies mud puddling on the River Banks. We also spotted the rare Lesser Albatross butt erfly in between those hundreds of butterflies. After capturing photographs of this mud puddling crew, we saw the rare Fluffy Tit butterfly on the dry tree bark lying in the River Stream. The flight of Fluffy Tit was swift and very difficult to track after it flew up the tree. As the rain started pouring, we returned back to starting point by 1.30PM. The butterfly walk started at 9.30AM and ended up by 1.30PM due to heavy lashing rains. A grand total of 103 butterfly species were recorded during the walk. Summer Migration of Pieridae especially Common Emigrant, Common Albatross, and Common Gull were seen in thousands moving in chains from east direction towards west direction along the river streams. Rare butterflies like Malabar Banded Swallowtail, Five bar Swordtail, Malabar Banded Peacock, Lesser Albatross and Fluffy Tit were seen. Future walk will surely bring rarities from this unexplored butterfly rich area.