Birds, Butterflies and others, Alappuzha, Kerala

August 18, 2010

Post dedicated to Karthik

When I went to Alappuzha, I certainly didn’t imagine that I would be seeing birds or butterflies…but the lovely Kayaloram resort gave me just such an opportunity!

Someone had actually decided to make a “Butterfly Corner” on the campus, and put up photos of the butterflies that could be seen there. However, the receptionist (Mary) told me, “This was done some time ago…it’s all dried up now, Madam, you can’t see any butterflies.”

Thankfully, her information was completely inaccurate….with the possible exception of a few of the butterflies listed, (Eg. the COMMANDER and the PEACOCK PANSY) I saw EVERY butterfly, even the beautiful


which is the largest butterfly in India! Here’s a quick shot I got of it, fluttering past:

southern birdwing kayaloram 150810<

Here are the helpful butterfly posters: this, b'fly list 1 120810 this, b'fly list 2 120810 and this: b'fly list 3 120810 How helpful it is to have someone take such an initiative! I found these two SKIPPERS proceeding in an orderly line on a leaf: skippers on leaf 120810 and one on a leaf alone: skipper 150810 the SOUTHERN RUSTIC was a new butterfly for me, and I was thankful for the help in the id: southern rustic 120810 the MALABAR RAVEN was listed as the "Malabar Ravan" and I was wondering if, indeed, Rama's archenemy had come to be named among the butterflies, before I realized that it was the Raven! malabar raven 120810 The COMMON MORMON (not the Moron!) sat around, I should call it the Mormo as its tail seems to be missing! common mormon 120810 The GREY PANSY was relatively easy to photograph as its flight is not quick: grey pansy 120810 another Pansy that was around was the CHOCOLATE PANSY: chocolate pansy 120810 the BLUE TIGER was also easy to catch, while it sat on the flowers: blue tiger 150810 So, too, the COMMON CROW: common crow 150810 The COMMON EMIGRANT also co-operated: common emigrant 150810 But there were two butterflies which were VERY difficult to catch. One was the BLUEBOTTLE: bluebottle 120810 and the other was the TAILED JAY.... tailed jay 150810 I didn't get even a half-way satisfactory shot of it!....these two kept flitting about in the most infuriating manner, and while I was concentrating on them, the Southern Birdwing suddenly flew past...oh, I was one frustrated photographer for a while, until I decided I wouldn't bother too much! common mormon120810 Uma tells me this dragonfly is the COMMON PICTURE WING (male) - (Rhyothemis variegata): un id dragonfly 120810 I am waiting for her to help out with this one, too...she did, and this one is the female! :) un id dragonfly 120810 I also got these flies on the flowers: flies on flower 150810 The common birds were all around me, and it was a delight to watch this WHITE-CHEEKED BARBET enjoying the mango fruit! barbet eating mango 120810 Of course, the GREATER COUCAL skulked around just out of sight, but I got this quick shot of the bird on a cottage roof before it skulked off again: coucal kayaloram 120810 DARTERS are not that common near Bangalore, so it was nice to see a lot more of them on the backwaters, sitting on the floating pieces of wood and Water Hyacinth: darter 120810 In the resort, this RUFOUS TREEPIE jumped around in the arecanut palm trees, and was easy to capture: rufous treepie 120810 Along the waterways, there were far less Common Kites than in Bangalore, and several beautiful BRAHMINY KITES ...this one sat next to our resort, and often fished in the waters (never very successfully, as far as I could see!) brahminy kite 150810 LITTLE CORMORANTS are, next to Crows, the most common bird in the area, and here's one preening itself after being in the water: cormorant preening 150810 This STORK-BILLED KINGFISHER kept flying in and out, and in the pouring rain, this is the only shot I could get: stork-billed kingfisher 150810 and high up in the trees of the resort, this BLACK-HOODED ORIOLE appeared in a flash of yellow: black hooded oriole 120810 Another tree at dusk yielded the sight of this large FRUIT BAT: fruit bat 120810 The flora, too, was varied and beautiful. These MOSS SPORES on the Lily leaves looked so pretty: spore on lily leaf 150810 High up on the tree where the Oriole was, this BRACKET FUNGUS bloomed: bracket fungus 150810 The resort had several plants of BIXA ORELLANA which I had seen earlier in Agumbe: Bixa orellana 150810 I was told that this plant was called "Oddalam" (it looked a bit like Frangipani): oddaLam plant and flowers 150810 ..and that the fruit was extremely poisonous...! oddaLam fruit 150810 Right in front of our room, this HAMMERHEAD SLUG slowly made its way to the soil: flathead worm 150810

Of course, this


which always seems to glow from within, makes a lovely closing shot, of the various living things that I was privileged to see in Alappuzha!

water lily 120810