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A BLACK RAJAH ON A COAT BUTTON

By on July 15th, 2017

There are fairies on earth. They flutter around flowers and tempt you to touch their vibrant wings. Butterflies are magical little creatures make your heart go pitter-patter. I looked forward to meeting lakhs of these beauties at a butterfly park after the rains. Armed with my Canon SX 60 HS, I stepped through a giant butterfly. Sounds like Alice’s wonderland?

(Tridax Procumbens, commonly known as Coat Buttons)

It was actually a butterfly shaped gate that led to paradise. I had built up plenty of patience, for the art of butterfly spotting is quite challenging. I walked down a narrow passage surrounded by lantanas, powder puffs, pink snakeweeds, coat buttons and tubular hibiscuses. Sounds like a scenery straight from an Enid Blyton book? You might almost believe it when you see these butterfly-attracting plants and their fluttery visitors.

One Spot Grass Yellow

I spotted hordes of One Spot Grass Yellow Butterflies soaring up and down like the musical notes that Mozart wove his symphonies from. They settled down on a muddy puddle to suck their morning dose of salt and amino acids.

Plain Tiger

Tawny Coster

Common Lime

Common Emigrant

I saw gorgeous orange-brown Plain Tiger and Tawny Coster hovering around the rain-refreshed coat button flowers. Then my eyes settled upon a black and yellow butterfly that flew in from nowhere and drank from a flower bud, then hopped from flower to flower like a slow-motion film. It was the Common Lime, a mesmerizingly beautiful creature.I noticed something unusual. A bunch of leaves was perched on lantana flowers! Then I realized that they were Common Emigrant Butterflies.

Common Pierrot

I saw a Common Pierrot whose wings reminded me of 101 Dalmatians. It seemed like the creator had taken a pristine white canvas and whimsically splattered it with black. The cute butterfly played hide and seek with me, before I finally caught him on camera.

Black Rajah

A Black Rajah butterfly was perched on an overripe fruit. This butterfly was truly the king of all butterflies, with his wings colored in a brown and yellow pattern with bits of black, like tie-and-dye fabric and silhouette looks like a king’s crown. He was getting his dose of carbohydrates and minerals from the fruit. He was probably bored of the same old nectar. He had a full-course meal and flew away. It was already past noon. I was about to settle down on a bench, but I was distracted by a flash of red and white. It was a Crimson Tip Butterfly, who looked like he was spray-painted gray and white, with vibrant wingtips.

Common Crow

Then I spotted a Common Crow, except that this one had a polka dotted body and black wings bordered by white patterns. You guessed it. I am talking about a butterfly! The Common Crow settled on the Ixora flower and enjoyed a sumptuous lunch of nectar.

Humming Bird Hawk Moth (Moth Species)

Then, I saw a bird, or was it a queen bee? No, it was the Hummingbird Hawk Moth, with startling hawk-like eyes. He was quenching his thirst by drinking nectar with his straw-like proboscis.

I was distracted by a “tuk tuk tuk” birdcall. I turned in that direction and saw a bird that looked like a child had upturned poster colours on his head. That child was the creator himself, and the bird was a Coppersmith Barbet with a bright red head, a yellow throat and whimsical green streaks on his wings.

Coppersmith Barbet

Then my eyes flew to a butterfly that wore the hues of the crimson dot on his wings. His black costume was edged with a white pattern. He was fearlessly flying above us, and the butterfly was Crimson Rose.

Crimson Rose

Lemon Pansy

I sat down to refresh myself when I suddenly spotted something that reminded me of a popular saying. When life gives you lemons, look for a Lemon Pansy. Of course, I made up the last part. I had just laid eyes on the Lemon Pansy butterfly, wearing brown wings sprinkled with black and lemon yellow eyespots interspersed with stripes. He was sucking nutrients from a mud puddle which I was sure he would later transfer to his mate, to help her eggs survive.

Crimson Tip

Isn’t it incredible that every butterfly has a unique wing pattern? The wings cleverly attract the opposite sex and simultaneously confuse predators so that they’ll leave them to their private world. As I was reflecting on this, I spotted a Crimson Tip Butterfly again. It was my last sighting for the day. I half-heartedly bid goodbye to the winged wonders and flew away to my world.

Do join me when I fly back to the Butterfly Park or a bird sanctuary. Drop a hello at askthebirdman@gmail.com or call +91 9790721279

Photos by Siluvai Amalan | Content Written by Niranjani Ravi & Siluvai Amalan

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