Things to do in Chennai when it rains: Butterfly walk in Adyar Poonga
A walk amongst mother nature in an effort to spot the tiniest, most beautiful butterflies
The wet ground, fresh with the previous night’s rain saw chirpy birds and welcomed the much-awaited butterfly season. Organised by Thicket Tales (TT), the Bangalore-based environmental group conducted their second public butterfly walk in Tholkappia Poonga (Adyar Eco Park) in a move to encourage nature conservation and help learn a little bit about butterflies.
The group has reportedly been holding private walks to curate an itinerary for butterfly enthusiasts over a year, whilst simultaneously documenting the habitat for conservation purposes. They also work with the forest department and a series of home-grown NGO’s like the Tamil Nadu butterfly society and Madras Naturalists Society.
The smell of rain gripped the petrichor addict on the walk amongst nature as the group of 40 aged three and up came together on Saturday morning to celebrate natures’ most colourful and innocuous winged creatures, the butterfly. The event saw participation from excited families, nature lovers, and the keen photographer.
A very passionate Vikas Madhav, the tour guide and volunteer at TT, led the team around the reserve explaining in detail how to spot, identify, and understand the behaviour of each insect. However, he started the tour by giving insight into the reserve itself, “Most of the Adyar river sediments used to come here and it was a very polluted area. Once the government took up the area, they did a restoration program along with the Chennai River (Restoration) Trust and today it’s one of the best places in the city where you can find around 78 species of butterfly and close to 50 species of birds.”
He also adds that, “Right after rain is when the migration starts, so, if we’re lucky we’ll even be able to see directional movement. You’ll see a lot of butterflies of the same species moving along one same direction,” but long story short, butterflies were scarce and there was seldom more than three butterflies at any one point. The event, however, did not have a dull moment, as Vikas managed to take the group along and helped spot various species of butterflies with the help of his handy, colour illustrated book that managed to capture the younglings’ interest.
The walk was held during the day when the sun was moving slowly upward, but the tree-lined reserve provided sufficient shade and housed multiple hut structure for rest stops. Considering the vast area of the park, Vikas with help from his colleague, split the group in two giving the option for a comparatively shorter route for the willing. Both groups spotted nearly 10 different species, and the longer route got the advantage of sighting a butterfly lay eggs. As the crowd hovered around the minuscule spectacle, Vikas once again spoke in detail about the life cycle and birthing process of the egg, albeit, in gross detail.
The event ended with a conversation amongst the newly enlightened attendees, and the smiling faces of the young ones reiterate that nature is the best digital detox one can gift themselves.
The group hopes to hold more of these walks soon, so keep a lookout for them on their Facebook ‘conservation and conversation’ and Instagram page @thicket_tales. They hold awareness programs, campus events, and outdoor activities like this walk.