Friday, November 6, 2009

8th Butterfly Meet Chakrata, Uttaranchal

After the successful 7th All India Butterfly Meet conducted at Buxaduar WLS and Samsing, West Bengal; the discussion triggered about next meet. A though came that previous meets were either in north east India or south India. So next time why not explore western Himalaya?

At this point I had already visited Chakrata in Oct 2006 while I was doing PGD in natural resource management and sustainable development with Ecologicl Society, Pune. Unfortunately I didn't had camera in that trip and had very poor knowledge of Himalayan butterflies so overall documentation of the butterflies was very poor. But that visit showed me that Chakrata is promising area for butterflying and will have a different spectrum of species than previous butterfly meets. Hence I proposed the meet at Chakrata. It was scheduled from 29th September to 3rd October 2008.

Chakrata is located approximately 110Km from Dehradun. The height of Chakrata village from mean sea level is about 7000ft. During the meet we visited several places around chakrata whose altitude varied from 4000 ft to 10000 ft. We tried to cover maximum type of eco systems around Chakrata and hence at the end of the meet we could claim a checklist of 142 species. during the meet we stayed at a hotel named Himalayan Paradise which is situated about 4km from Chakrata near a place called Guasa bridge. The location of hotel is very picturesque and in the lap of nature. Large diversity of birds and butterflies could be spotted just sitting in the balcony of the hotel.

All members of the meet gathered at Dehradoon on the morning of 29th September and started journey towards Chakrata in two Sumo vehicles. Since the target of day 1 was just to reach Chakrata we were spending a lot of time in mountains. We were stopping at every place where we could spot butterfly activity. This activity gave good results. Our checklist exceeded over 50 on day 1 itself. Orange Oakleaf, Clubbed beak, Spangle, Redbreast, Spotted Sawtooth, Peacock Royal, Common Map, Common Flash were the highlights of the Day.

The second day was set to explore around Chakrata village and our hotel. We started our activity around 8am when first sunlight entered into the valley. The first important sighting was of Chapman's cupid, Common Punch and Circe. Then the walk towards Chakrata revealed the presence of Common Wall, Striated and common Satyr, Common Yellow swallowtail, Common Copper and white bordered copper. After spending about 2 Hrs on the route we traveled by vehicle directly towards Forest Bungalow. Its a remnant from British era which is now renovated. There is an excellent botanical garden around Forest Bungalow. This garden also posses wide variety of ornamental and wild flowers. This attracted a good number of butterflies like Large Silverstripe, common brimstone, Marginated hedge blue, Common Woodbrown, Common Treebrown etc. The return journey was uneventful as the weather became very much cloudy. The temperature dropped around 15 degree Celsius and the only butterflies which could be seem were Argus and hedge blues. A brief opening in the clouds gave us sighting of common beak and green sapphire. The cloudy conditions were gone after some time but by that time it was evening and sunlight was already week to boost up the temperature. So butterfly activity faded. But that created good opportunity for bird watching and I was able to spot several himalayan birds like himalayan pipit, himalayan crested bulbul, black bulbul, several variety of tits etc.

Day 3 was planned to explore lower altitude. The trail which we were going to take known as Tiger Falls trek; was a promising trail but the trekking was exhaustive too. From the experience of previous two days we worked out that butterfly activity is maximum during 8 to 12 in the morning. The activity necessarily terminates around 4pm. The trek was going to take at least 5 hours considering that we were going to take butterflying stops. So it wasn't possible to cover the top and the bottom of the valley at same time if we all moved together. So I divided our team in two groups. First group was supposed to trek from our hotel to Tiger falls via Khoya channi village. Second group was supposed to travel directly to Tiger falls by vehicle and explore the area. I was with the trekker group. Five of us started moving towards valley at 8. Valley was very narrow and hence it was almost 10 when first ray of light touched the bottom of valley. But then we had butterflies all around us. The hot sighting of this trail were Yellow Coaster, Great Mormon, Paris Peacock, Tabby, Western Courtier, Blue Admiral, Common Brimstone, spotless and small grass yellow, Glassy bluebottle and Cornelian. As we reach at the bottom of the valley and met with other team we added few more hot sightings into our checklist like Powdery green sapphire, Water snow flat, Common Nawab and Orange bordered Argus. We were back to hotel tired but satisfied.

Day 4 was scheduled for exploring higher altitudes. Here also we decided to cover two locations. First was a trek to place called Budher. Second location was a place called Devban. The trekker team went to Budhre caves and another team went to Devban where direct approach by vehicle is possible. Budher caves are high altitude meadows with Deodar and pine forest on the lower slopes. Deoban is typical Deodar forest at high altitude. Budher has a very beautiful cave consisting of stalactite and stalagmite structures while at Deoban you can see a deodar tree with girth of 640cm. This day opened up with cloudy sky but with intermediate opening.

During Budher cave trail, thousands of Common woodbrowns were spotted involved in basking and puddling activity. Along with that Dark Clouded yellow, Common Satyr, Hill jezeble, Dusky Hedge Blue, Chestnut Tiger were important sightings. The most important sighting in this trail was Queen of Spain fritillary. The deoban trail gave a rare sighting of lesser punch. Other sightings were similar to Budher caves. Only things is that large congregation of woodbrowns was seen only in Budher trail.

The night of day four gave a surprising sighting of Forstein's Cat Snake at our hotel. It was trying to enter into a room when it was spotted. Being a non-venomous snake it was easy to capture and handle. So I took liberty of that and got pretty nice photographs of the snake.

The fifth was our last day and we just eplored around our hotel in the morning. By noon we were already on the way to Dehradoon. But rather than taking the same road by which we arrived we took a road towards Mussoori and then towards Dehradun. When we came at a lower altitude we added few more in our checklist. Zebra blue, Malayan, Common line blue, common pierrot, Clear sailor, commander were the highlights. We reached Dehradoon around six and we had about 3 hrs before we board in the train but since it was time to part we were making most of it. It would be another year before we meet together.

Link to the Photographs of Chakrata Meet

Checklist of the Meet is as follows

Day 129th September, 2008Chakrata Road - CHR

Day 230th September, 2008Chakrata & Forest Guest House - CH

Day 31st October, 2008Tiger Fall trek route - TF

Day 42nd October, 2008Budher Cave - BC & Deoban - DB

Day 53rd October, 2008Mussourie Road - MRd

SerialFamilyCommon NameScientific NameCHRCHTFBCDBMRdVery CommonCommonRare
1PapilionidaeCommon RosePachliopta aristolochiaeYYY
2PapilionidaeCommon JayGraphium dosonYY
3PapilionidaeTailed JayGraphium agamemnonYY
4PapilionidaeCommon BluebottleGraphium sarpedonYY
5PapilionidaeGlassy BluebottleGraphium cloanthusYY
6PapilionidaeCommon MormonPapilio polytesYYYY
7PapilionidaeGreat MormonPapilio memnonYY
8PapilionidaeLime ButterflyPapilio demoleusYYY
9PapilionidaeCommon BatwingAtrophaneura varunaYY
10PapilionidaeSpanglePapilio protenorYYY
11PapilionidaeRedbreastPapilio alcmenorYY
12PapilionidaeCommon Yellow SwallowtailPapilio machaonYY
13PapilionidaeCommon PeacockPapilio polyctorYY
14PapilionidaeParis PeacockPapilio parisYY
15PieridaeCommon WandererPareronia valeriaYYY
16PieridaeCommon JezebelDelias eucharisYY
17PieridaeHill JezebelDelias belladonaYYY
18PieridaeSpotted SawtoothPrioneris thestylisYY
19PieridaePsycheLeptosia ninaYYY
20PieridaeIndian Cabbage WhitePieris canidiaYYYY
21PieridaePioneerBelenois aurotaYY
22PieridaeCommon GullCepora nerissaYY
23PieridaeCommon EmigrantCatopsilia pomonaYYYY
24PieridaeMottled EmigrantCatopsilia pyrantheYYYY
25PieridaeSmall Grass YellowEurema brigittaYYYYY
26PieridaeCommon Grass YellowEurema hecabeYYY
27PieridaeThree-spot Grass YellowEurema blandaYY
28PieridaeSpotless Grass YellowEurema laetaYYY
29PieridaeDark Clouded YellowColias fieldiiYYY
30PieridaeCommon BrimstoneGonepteryx rhamniYYY
31LycaenidaePeacock RoyalTajuria cippusYY
32LycaenidaeBlue TitChliaria kinaYY
33LycaenidaeCornelianDeudorix epijarbasYY
34LycaenidaeCommon FlashRapala nissaYY
35LycaenidaeCommon CopperLycaena phlaeasYY
36LycaenidaeWhite-bordered CopperLycaena pavanaYYYYYY
37LycaenidaePowdery Green SapphireHeliophorus tamuYY
38LycaenidaeGreen SapphireHeliophorus androclesYY
39LycaenidaeSorrel SapphireHeliophorus senaYYYYYYY
40LycaenidaeCommon Ciliate BlueAnthene emolusYY
41LycaenidaeCommon PierrotCastalius rosimonYY
42LycaenidaeZebra BlueLeptotes pliniusYYY
43LycaenidaeCommon LineblueProsotas noraYY
44LycaenidaeCommon CeruleanJamides celenoYY
45LycaenidaePea BlueLampides boeticusYYY
46LycaenidaeDark Grass BlueZizeeria karsandraYYYYY
47LycaenidaePale Grass BluePseudozizeeria mahaYYYYY
48LycaenidaeGrass JewelFreyeria trochylusYY
49LycaenidaeTiny Grass BlueZizula hylaxYY
50LycaenidaeLime BlueChilades laiusYY
51LycaenidaeChapman's CupidEveres argiades diporidesYYY
52LycaenidaeRed PierrotTalicada nyseusYY
53LycaenidaeQuakerNeopithecops zalmoraYYY
54LycaenidaeMalayanMegisba malayaYY
55LycaenidaeGram BlueEuchrysops cnejusYY
56LycaenidaeDusky Hedge BlueOreolyce vardhanaYY
57LycaenidaeMargined Hedge BlueCelatoxia marginataYY
58LycaenidaePlain Hedge BlueCelestrina lavendularisYYYYY
59LycaenidaeOrange-bordered ArgusAricia astrarcheYY
60LycaenidaePlains CupidChilades pandavaYY
61LycaenidaePlum JudyAbisara echeriusYY
62LycaenidaeLesser PunchDodona dipoeaYY
63LycaenidaeTailed PunchDodona eugenesYY
64LycaenidaeCommon PunchDodona ouidaYYYYYY
65NymphalidaeCommon BeakLibythea lepitaYY
66NymphalidaeClub BeakLibythea myrrhaYY
67NymphalidaeDark Blue TigerTirumala septentrionisYY
68NymphalidaeCommon TigerDanaus genutiaYY
69NymphalidaePlain TigerDanaus chrysippusYY
70NymphalidaeGlassy TigerParantica agleaYYYY
71NymphalidaeChestnut TigerParantica sitaYYYYYYY
72NymphalidaeStriped Blue CrowEuploea mulciberYYYY
73NymphalidaeCommon CrowEuploea coreYYY
74NymphalidaeCommon NawabPolyura athamasYY
75NymphalidaeCommon Evening BrownMelanitis ledaYY
76NymphalidaeBamboo TreebrownLethe europaYY
77NymphalidaeCommon TreebrownLethe rohriaYYY
78NymphalidaeBanded TreebrownNeopa confusaYY
79NymphalidaeStraight-banded TreebrownNeope vermaYY
80NymphalidaeCommon WoodbrownLethe sidonisYYYYY
81NymphalidaeCommon WallLasiommata schakraYYYYYY
82NymphalidaeLong-brand BushbrownMycalesis visalaYY
83NymphalidaeWhite-line BushbrownMycalesis malsaraYY
84NymphalidaeNiggerOrsotrioena medusYY
85NymphalidaeStraited SatyrAulocera saraswatiYYY
86NymphalidaeCommon SatyrAulocera swahaYYYY
87NymphalidaeRinged ArgusCallerebia anandaYYYYYY
88NymphalidaeHybrid ArgusCallerebia hybridaYY
89NymphalidaePallid ArgusCallerebia scandaYY
90NymphalidaeCommon Four-ringYpthima hubenriYY
91NymphalidaeCommon Five-ringYpthima baldusYY
92NymphalidaeLarge Three-ringYpthima naredaYYYYY
93NymphalidaeHimalayan Five-ringYpthima sakraYYYYY
94NymphalidaeTawny CosterAcraea violaeYY
95NymphalidaeYellow CosterAcraea issoriaYYY
96NymphalidaeLarge SilverstripeChildrena childreniYYY
97NymphalidaeQueen of Spain FritillaryIssoria lathoniaYYY
98NymphalidaeRusticCupha erymanthisYYY
99NymphalidaeCommon LeopardPhalanta phalantaYY
100NymphalidaeCommon SergeantParathyma periusYY
101NymphalidaeHimalayan SergeantAthyma opalinaYYYYYY
102NymphalidaeStaff SergeantAthyma selenophoraYY
103NymphalidaeCommon LascarPantoporia hordoniaYY
104NymphalidaeSmall Yellow SailerNeptis miahYY
105NymphalidaeCommon SailerNeptis hylasYYY
106NymphalidaeHimalayan SailerNeptis mahendraYY
107NymphalidaeCreamy SailerPantoporia soma butleriYY
108NymphalidaeClear SailerNeptis cliniaYY
109NymphalidaeCommon MapCyrestis thyodamasYY
110NymphalidaeTabbyPseudergolis wedahYYYY
111NymphalidaeAngled CastorAriadne ariadneYYY
112NymphalidaeCommon CastorAriadne merioneYYY
113NymphalidaeCirceHestina namaYY
114NymphalidaeWestern CourtierSephisa dichroaYYY
115NymphalidaeCommon JesterSymbrenthia lilaeaYY
116NymphalidaeHimalayan JesterSymbrenthia hypselisYY
117NymphalidaeBlue-tail JesterSymbrenthia niphandaYY
118NymphalidaeIndian Red AdmiralVanessa indicaYYYYYY
119NymphalidaePainted LadyCynthia carduiYY
120NymphalidaeCommanderModuza procrisYYY
121NymphalidaeIndian TortoiseshellAglais cashmiriensisYY
122NymphalidaeBlue AdmiralKaniska canaceYYY
123NymphalidaeBlue PansyJunonia orithyaYYY
124NymphalidaeYellow PansyJunonia hiertaYYYYY
125NymphalidaeChocolate PansyPrecis iphitaYYYYYYY
126NymphalidaeGrey Pansy Junonia atlitesYYYY
127NymphalidaePeacock PansyJunonia almanaYYYY
128NymphalidaeLemon PansyJunonia lemoniasYYYYY
129NymphalidaeGreat EggflyHypolimnas bolinaYYY
130NymphalidaeOrange OakleafKallima inachusYYY
131HesperiidaeIndian SkipperSpialia galbaYY
132HesperiidaeCommon Small FlatSarangesa dasaharaYY
133HesperiidaeSpotted Small FlatSarangesa purendraYY
134HesperiidaeFulvous Pied FlatColadenia danYYY
135HesperiidaeWater Snow FlatTagiades litigiosaYY
136HesperiidaeGolden AngleCaprona ransonnettiYY
137HesperiidaeStraight SwiftParnara guttatusYYYY
138HesperiidaeBevan's SwiftPseudoborbo bevaniYY
139HesperiidaeSmall Branded SwiftPelopidas mathiasYY
140HesperiidaeGrass DemonUdaspes folusYYY
141HesperiidaeVeined Scrub HopperAeromachus stigmatusYY
142HesperiidaeIndian DartOriens pseudomaesa clioYY

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