This was a half day trip to the Ovalekar Butterfly Garden, at the Owale Village, which lies a bit beyond Thane, on Ghodbunder Road.
This Butterfly park has been conceptualized, created and managed by Shri Rajendra Ovalekar and his brother, and ranges across a small 2 acre area. This small area has been thoughtfully populated by various plants, trees and shrubs, which are popular with the butterflies throughout their life stages.
Many years ago, Shri Rajendra Ovalekar went to attend a seminar on Butterflies, at the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and got interested. He converted his small ancestral property at Owale Village into a butterfly garden. With advice from the best experts like Shri Issac Kehimkar of BNHS, and being in the vicinity of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, he was able to plant 200 various varieties of trees that attract butterflies. Some butterflies prefer fruit trees, some prefer flower nectar, some like grass , and some need proper plants to lay their eggs.
Some butterflies like to hang around rotten fruit and similar organic stuff, and so there are baskets containing such stuff hung across the garden, where one has spotted butterflies.
The speciality of this Butterfly Garden is that the butterflies here are bred in their natural habitat and not in artificial environments, as in most butterfly parks. You can now spot about 132 species of butterflies here.
Shri Rajendra Ovalekar , gives an introductory lecture to visitors, explaining the life cycle and other details.
This time , there were some small kids who were part of the visitors, and they were excited to witness the release of several butterflies which had emerged from the cocoons to start a life in the Brave New World .
At the urging of Shri Rajendra Ovalekar, the kids sang Happy Birthday for the butterflies as they emerged, and the audience joined in !
I was priviledged to be there and photograph the birthday party and the various natural decorations . The flowers, the trees, the fruits, the moths and other insects.
(Ovalekar Wadi Butterfly Garden is open only on Sundays between 7 am and noon, and charges an entrance fee of Rs 50 for kids and 100 for adults. )
Introductory briefing given to all visitors to the Ovalekar Butterfly garden.
A few butterflies ready to emerge out of the pupa or chrysalis stage . The little girls were told the butterflies were being born, and that singing Happy Birthday was the thing to do. So this was clicked when the butterflies emerged as the girls and all around them sang "Happy Birthday to you !" ....
The caterpillar stage in the life cycle of the butterfly, when all that the caterpillars do is eat and eat, starting with the leaf on which they are. You can see some yellow spots on the leaves , and these are the eggs laid by the adult butterfly.
Another one having greedily eaten across the leaf.
This one seems to have no leaf to chew on, but seems to be part of some kind of caterpillar fashion show, Caterpillar India Fashion Week, where it needs to walk on a ramp, with all kinds of humans trying to click it all.
The pupa or the chrysalis , which is the 3rd life stage of the butterfly. The caterpillar , after the huge eating binge, and shedding of various skins over time, finally wraps itself in a cocoon of sorts and rests, mobilizing for the great day when it gets born as a butterfly.
The Parantica Aglea or Glassy Tiger Butterfly. Kind of fly in slow motion. They favour liquids oozing from plant stems and seed pods , which give them alkaloids. These alkaloids give them toxic qualities, which help keep birds away from them.
This is the Striped Tiger Butterfly. It is partial to flowers that generate alkaloids and likes to hang around and sip the sap.
The Delias Eucharis or Common Jezebel. Gaudily patterned in red, yellow, black and white , this is supposed to indicate their unpalatable nature to predators. Now you know from where Hindi films are inspired.
This looks like a dragonfly or damselfly. But would like someone to identify it. It seems to display what looks like a clown face. I guess you need a good sense of humor amidst all those butterflies.
The Common Rose or Atrophaneura Aristolochiae. Have elongated black fore wings, red spots, white patches, and the head, thorax and abdomen are bright red.
This is clearly a dragonfly/damselfly. But its sheer grace reminds one of Malkhamb movements and gymnastics exercises. Looks like it is wearing sunglasses. I guess if cricketers can play wearing shades, this is just fine.
The Plain Tiger Butterfly or Danaus Chrisippus. These butterflies are so toxic to birds , that any bird having suffered the effects are unlikely to attack similar colored butterflies.
Above and Below. The Gaudy Baron Male Butterfly or Euthalia Lubentina . There are baskets of rotten fruits kept across the garden for these butterflies They relish fallen, rotting fruits that are rich in alcohol . Typical.
Some pretty natural floral decorations at the Birthday Party.
A pretty red Hibiscus flower. You can see why it is considered Ganpati's favourite.
This capture actually reminds one of Ganpati, ears and trunk and all.
This capture actually reminds one of Ganpati, ears and trunk and all.
I need identification of this butterfly.
Cosmos flowers and buds from the garden
A white Hibiscus with pink striations. Probably attracts the more peaceful butterflies.
The Brown King Crow Butterfly or Euploea Klugii . Males are often seen imbibing moisture from the patches of damp ground. The females , on the other hand are seen enjoying nectar on Lantana and other flowering shrubs.
This the Red Pierrot or Talicada Nyseus. Typically a forest edge species. Found perching on low growing foliage. They hold their wings half open in hazy sunshine, but hold them completely erect in the hot sun. That day was 39 degrees, the hottest this year so far.
Somebody needs to identify these beautiful flowers . If I were a butterfly, I would , of course, know.
I need some one to help with identifying this one.
This is one of the luckiest fantastic captures of the amazing butterflies that resemble dead leaves with their wings closed. The butterfly happened to open up when I clicked. This is a very successful camouflage used against the predators. Could be the Orange Oakleaf Butterfly, or Kallima Inachus , which exhibits shades of blue when it opens up its wings.
This butterfly variety seems to be one of those that relish rotten foods. Need identification for this one.
This looks like Common Five-Ring Butterfly or Ypthima baldus. These butterflies enjoy flying in overcast conditions and light rain. Often seen hanging around leafy trash and low herbage. These butterflies are supposed to be nervous in behaviour. I wonder how they found that out .
This guy probably stood no chance at getting photographed amidst the beauties in the Ovalekar Butterfly Garden . But then he does not know me. I find all insects and their efforts , wonderful , regardless of their color, shape and ability to fly!