Butterflies of Kasaragod

Poets have described them as moving dreams. Painters have imagined them as animated flying canvases. They represent the beauty and dynamism of nature and its endless wonders for the simple folk. Even the dullest human mind is touched and moved by the sight of a fluttering butterfly. They are fairies and magical creatures that stimulate our sense of imagination, color, movement and rhythm. But they also play important roles in the larger web of nature as pollinators and indicators of climate change. Observing them is part of our understanding of our ecology and material reality. It is part of our efforts to unravel the mysteries of nature and sustenance of life.
The first ever butterfly survey in the GCK campus was done on September 8, 2010 from 9.30am to 12.30pm. Leading butterfly and dragonfly expert V C Balakrishnan led the team of interested students and teachers all around the open grassy land and bushes inside and outside the campus wall.
We saw rare and threatened butterflies like Autumn Leaf, Buddha Peacock, Commander, Tailed Jay, Lime Butterfly, C S Sailor, Blue Tiger, Striped Tiger, Plain Tiger, Leopard, Common Crow, Common Caster, Tawny Coster, Common Emigrant, Common Grass Yellow, Psyche, Common Pierrot, Blue-banded Pierrot, and much much more. All together we observed more than forty species of painted wings.
We also had a chance to see a lot of larvae and dragonflies during the survey. A few bulbuls and a lonely damselfly were also seen. At the wooded area near the quarters we saw a solitary Orange-headed thrush in the thickets. Two pond herons were also hiding in the bushes there. We also enjoyed the sight of a Signature Spider and a Golden Forg. Plenty of Skipper butterflies were also seen.
The lofty flight of Buddha Peacocks and the dazzling movements of the lonesome Autumn Leaf were simply scintillating and lifers for me. It was also a unique opportunity to be with V C B in the field. His passion, erudite scholarship and energy simply recharged even the casual onlooker. His years of experience and keen interest in nature and conservation were also truly inspiring and illuminating for all of us, especially for teachers. It was truly great and instructive an occasion to be with such a resourceful person in the lap of nature. As he observed in his concluding note, it helps us to be young , cool and green in mind. It helps us to recognize and conserve the sources and springs of life and the world. Looking at nature with sensitivity is a great act of struggle and survival as it is the premise of conservation.

Autumn Leaf butterfly in GCK
V C Balakrishnan leading the survey
Commander butterfly in GCK

V C Balakrishnan showing a praying insect on his wrist
Like a falling leaf: Autum Leaf in GCK
Signature Spider in its web at GCK

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