Butterflies of Bhutan (Of Butterflies, Flowers & Nature) is dedicated to all Bhutanese (Our Visionary Leaders, Generations from past, present and future) who cared and will care to care for Nature. It is only because of 'the care', we have what we have today, a pristine, rich and diverse nature of which Bhutan is known for.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Ludlow's Bhutan Glory remains no more endemic to Bhutan

(First of all, many many apologies to those who were following this blog, for not being able to mantain a continuity of blogging....for I had been bogged down firstly by the 2nd Asian Ministerial Tiger Conference, that made news in 'Kuensel-the National Newspaper' for not having enough lunch left for the Ministers and then trying to get back to where I left before the Tiger-grrrr-conference. I sincerely hope that I now will be able to blog frequently on our butterflies). Anyways.......Now that I am back...

A recent discovery of Ludlow's Bhutan Glory (Bhutanitis ludlowi) in Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary expands its distribution now to Arunachal Pradesh in India. The Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary is located closest to Daifam, now named as Jomotsangkha in the fareast of Bhutan (As it appears on Google Earth).
Image from Google Earth showing Tobrang and Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary

The butterfly was photographed in the 1st-2nd week of September of this year by some Indian photographers. During that time, it was mistaken as Bhutan Glory (Bhutanitis lidderdalii) and included in the species page of Bhutan Glory in the website of the Indian Foundation of Butterflies. But later when Mr.Saito Motoki of the Butterfly Society of Japan saw the photographs, he identified it as a female of Ludlow's Bhutan Glory. Mr Saito was involved in last year's joint research of the species in Tobrang, Trashiyangtse.

Picture: Ludlow's Bhutan Glory from Arunachal Pradesh

I peronally feel that this sighting of our National Butterfly in India is of great importance to its conservation and species survival. Prior to this sighting, there has been concerns among some Bhutanese who were worried as to what will we do if this butterfly go extinct from that small area of Tobrang to which it was believed to be endemic. Now that we have confirmed its presence in Arunachal Pradesh, our worry of its ability to survive in other areas is gone and also the focus of thought of collectors who desperately wanted to get their hands on this butterfly is at least for now spread even to India.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Hunting Butterflies in Thailand

Bangkok, 24th Sept 2012: I am on my way to Indonesia for some training workshop on human tiger conflict with a colleague of mine who looks after tiger conservation in Bhutan. We are forced to spend two days here in Bangkok before we get the Indonesian visa stamped onto our passport. While waiting for the visa, two of us were getting drowned in the river of people and cars (and ofcourse today's heavy rain for about an hour, which literally changed the black tarmac road into a black out-of-the-drain river).

Amidst the busy City of Life, I am reminded of the book on The Butterflies of Thailand by Yunosuke KIMURA a copy of which was presented to me by the other two authors of this book, Yamaguchi-san and Aoki-san last December during my trip to Japan. Thinking of this wonderful book, I just started wondering if Bangkok could still be a habitat to some city adapted butterflies. I looked around to some planted avenue trees and flowers and obviously could not find any butterflies. So I had to give up looking for butterflies in the City of Life and instead concentrate on walking and not bumping onto others while on the footpath or waiting for a tuk tuk by the roadside. But my friend, who back home coordinates tiger conservation works looked at this city from a different perspective of habitat. He looked from mammalian habitat point of view (being the program coordinator for tiger conservation and larger carnivores) and deduced Bangkok as a very good habitat for mammals and went looking for his species of interest.

For me I decided that it would be best for me to retire to my room as my deduction was that Bangkok was not a good habitat from wild butterfly point of view..................... (to be contd from Indonesia) 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Three Months Old Photo Journal

On July 18th I left Thimphu for Bumthang to go farther east to Tobrang, Trashiyangtse to conduct a small study on the early stages of Ludlow's Bhutan Glory, more specifically on its pupa with Mr.Motohiro Harada, an expert on early stages of butterflies from the Butterfly Society of Japan.

The first day my travel from Thimphu to Bumthang was more or less only drive as it was drizzling all the way. And more so because i had to take control of the steering after lunch as Mr.Gyembo, an elderly man who was driving the Toyota Landcruiser Prado fell sick. Had a tough time steering its way through the dense fog of Dorji Goempa before Yotongla.

The next day was a perfect day for photographing butterflies with clear blue sky of Bumthang but as always the Chamkar Chu breeze kept the flowers swaying making it difficult for my already difficult monopod supported Canon macro lens. I treid my best and could get some little-out-of-focus pictures which I have posted for references in the future.

Chestnut Tiger (Parantica sita): With a wing span of 85-110mm, this butterfly is found in Bhutan, India (J&K to Arunachal Pradesh), Nepal, Myanmar, Afghanistan. The flight of this butterfly is strong, above tree canopy and slow dipplings at times. It is often seen visiting flowers from the month of April to December upto 3000m altitude. It is mimicked by Circe (Hestina nama) and can be mistaken as Chestnut Tiger to an untrained eye.

Indian Tortoiseshell (Aglais cashmireinsis): With a wing span of 55-65mm, this butterflies is the most commenest among Himalyan butterflies. Its distribution ranges from Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan. It can be seen throughout the year and loves sun as it can be seen basking in the sun with open wings. Its wide distribution can be noted from its sighting from the low grasslands to 5400m altitude.

Large Cabbage White (Pieris brassicae): With a wing span of about 65-75mm it is distributed within Bhutan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Afghanistan and Pakistan. It loves open places and fringes of agricultural fields. Usually seen fluttering and visitng flowers. Found between 900-4000m altitude.
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui): With a wingspan 55-70mm, it is commonly found in Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka,  Bangladesh, Myanmar, Pakistan & Afghanistan. It is swift flier and prefers open grassy land. It can be found from lowlands to 4500m altitude. It can be seen visiting over ripe fruits and flowers.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Day Trip to Lhungchutse

Lethe.sp from Dochula-Lhungchutse Trail, 11 Sept 2013
I went for this day excursion as an official escort for Mr.Yasuyuki Watanabe, a photographer and a researcher from the Butterfly Society of Japan. We began from Thimphu quite early as we had to hit the road before the clock ticks 8 in the morning. This is because today is Tuesday, which is a Pedestrian Day for Bhutan where the vehicular traffic freezes in the core area of the city at 8AM except for taxis, buses and tourist cars (Mr.Watanabe is not a tourist but an official guest so we couldnt get the Tourism Council of Bhutan's free movement sticker)
Anyway, we began from Thimphu a little before 0745Hrs to reach Dochula at 0840Hrs, only to find Dochula fogged. (not a good weather for butterflies). But the fog couldnt stop us from climbing the trail to Lhungchutse Goempa. Throughout the trail we couldn't get even a single common butterfly picture, forget about getting the picture of Teinopalpus emperialis:Kaiser-i-hind (Because i was hoping to at least see it). It was only on our way back, near Dochula we got the picture of this Lethe.sp (i have not been able to identify it). But nevertheless, I got some interesting photographs of Flowers & Nature.

For the Ones, to whom Lungdar blessing is not enough.

The crystal clear drop acts as a convex wide angle lens

The feathery inflorescence, i dont know of what. But many of these were lying on the foot path, so thought why not include this as a part of my nature collection.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Bhutan Tree Brown (Lethe margaritae): Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary, 26th July 2012

This butterfly, Bhutan Tree Brown was very recently rediscovered in Bhutan. It was first discovered in Bhutan sometime in 1930s, probably by the same guys who discovered Ludlow's Bhutan Glory.

The rediscovery was made by a team consisting of surveyors from the Department of Forests and Park Services of Bhutan along with a researcher from Butterfly Society of Japan. I was among the four who first saw this butterfly. I had joined the team to represent Wildlife Conservation Division to conduct a research on Ludlow's Bhutan Glory (Bhutanitis ludlowi) in Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary.
A Fly Feeds on another Fly: On the Way to Tala Power Station: 5th September 2012

As busy as a Bee: Sangaygang to Wangditse, 2nd September 2012