Flora and fauna

Danaid Eggfly (Scientific name: Hypolimnas misippus (Linnaeus) NYMPHALIDAE)

A beautiful butterfly, which is a widespread species. The male is blackish in colour and has white spots that are fringed in blue. The female is in multiple forms that include male-like forms. An inhabitant of open country with moderate rainfall, it is a strong and fast flier. Males are more common than female. Mainly found across Africa, Asia and Australia, this butterfly is commonly spotted in the gardens of Pune. One can also see this species in the University of Pune.

Blue Pansy (Scientific name: Junonia orithya)

The male is a unique colour combination of blue and black, while the female is purple-brown in colour. The adults are found in open areas, often sitting on bare ground. This species has a stiff flap and glide style of flight and maintains a territory, driving away other butterflies that may enter it. It is found throughout India, more in dry open plains than in forests. During daytime, it is very active and visits the flowers such as aztec marigold, bachelor’s button, lantana etc. Blue Pansy lives on dry riverbeds and stony paths. Commonly spotted around the Sinhagad area. If you don’t want to go that far, just climb up the Law College Hill (popularly known as ‘tekdi’) and be on the lookout.

Chinkara

 

A species of gazelle found in South Asia. It lives in grasslands and desert areas in India. It is also known as the Indian Gazelle (Gazella gazella bennetti). It is a shy animal. It can go without water for a very long time. It gets the necessary fluids from plants and dew. This animal is mostly seen alone, but can sometimes be spotted in groups of up to four. This animal is very beautiful, esp. its horns are very attractive. Chinkaras are mainly found around Pune near Saswad or on Solapur road. Unfortunately, their population is decreasing due to habitat loss. Also, they are often hunted for their beautiful horns.

Gloriosa Superba

 

Gloriosa superba is the national flower of Zimbabwe (where it is a protected plant) and also the state flower of Tamil Nadu state. It is commonly known as the flame lily or fire lily due to its shape and striking fire-like colour. This root of this herb has medicinal qualities. One can see this flower in the Sinhagad area and on the roadside while going towards the Tamhini Ghat.

Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher

One of the smallest Kingfishers, the Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher (ODKF for short) is a riot of beautiful colours. It is also known as the three-toed kingfisher (because it has 3 toes as the name rightly suggests). It visits areas around Pune (particularly Mulshi) during monsoon. So the next time you go to Mulshi, look out for a tiny jewel fluttering around at great speeds. But, be sure not create disturbance as it is very sensitive and shy.

Greater Flamingos

 

The Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) is the most widespread species of the flamingo family. An extremely slender bird, which is very graceful. It is the state bird of Gujarat. It has a pinkish-white body and dark pink / red feathers. This bird resides in mudflats and shallow coastal lagoons with salt water. It stirs up the mud with its feet, then sucks water through its bill and filters out small shrimp, seeds, blue-green algae and microscopic organisms. Flamingos generally migrate from North to South during winter, when it is warmer in the South. Thus, you will see flocks of flamingos at Bhigwan, which is a small town near Pune on the Pune-Solapur highway. Once you reach Bhigwan, you have to take help of the local fishermen, who will take you to see the flamingos by their small boats. If you are lucky, you might also get to see the flamingo dance, which is a treat to the eyes!

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