Friends in My Garden- 13

Plain Tiger Butterfly

Plain Tiger Butterfly- Male

I wonder why these delicate darlings, I mean butterflies, are given names of other animals! May be there is a reason.

Plain tiger (Danaus chrysippus) is a colourful butterfly that shows sexual dimorphism; the males have a white pouch on the underside of the hind wings. It is a cluster of specialized scent scales used to attract females. This difference can be clearly seen in the images here.

Also known as African monarch, these butterfly are widespread in Asia and Africa. The plain tiger is believed to be one of the first butterflies to be used in art.

The female of the species
She settled down on my cloth line
Flying away…like a dream

Friends in My Garden- 12

Common Indian Crow

Common Indian Crow Butterfly

Do not get misled by the name…this is a butterfly very common in my place and all over India.

The Common crow butterfly (Euploea core) is not very colourful; yet it is very lovely. Glossy black or dark brown with white spots make it very beautiful. They are slow feeders, taking their own sweet time at the flowers.

The larva of the species is colourful and possesses tentacle-like structures. Chrysalis is glossy and silvery.

I have images of these stages captured in my garden.

Larva of the butterfly
The silvery chrysalis
Common crow butterfly – emerging from chrysalis

Friends in My Garden- 11


Giant Wood Spider- from my garden

Let me introduce two types of spiders from my garden.

The Giant Wood Spider or  Giant Golden Orb Weaver (Nephila pilipes) is seen with its vertical web at the height of a floor. The Signature spider (Argiope anasuja) is an orb-weaver found among shrubs and is known as a “signature spider” due to the presence of a zig-zag stabilimentum, somewhat resembling signature, on the web.

Spiders are eight-legged predatory critters, which are great web designers, belonging to Arachnids. They bite with venom-injecting fangs to kill prey and nearly all of them are poisonous.

Giant wood spider with its prey
Argiope anasuja
Signature spider with the prey


Friends in My Garden- 10

White-cheeked Barbet

White-cheeked Barbet…having a drink on my terrace

White-cheeked barbet or small green barbet (Psilopogon viridis) is an inhabitant of South India. With their beautiful green plumage, they are difficult to be detected among the foliage.

These medium sized birds, white-cheeked barbets are generally solitary; however they are seen in pairs during breeding season. They are cavity nesters, fruit eaters and may enjoy a meal of insects as the situation demands.

Seen on trees around my home, they land on my terrace for a drink during summer days. Sometimes enjoy a bath also!

A typical pose- juvenile
Adult white-cheeked barbet

Friends in My Garden- 9


Wandering Glider- from my garden

Another misnomer, denoting these delicate flies. Dragonflies belong to the order Odonata. Fossil records suggest that they inhabited earth about 325 million years ago!

These predators are migratory in nature; powerful and agile fliers, capable of migrating across oceans, moving in any direction. It is an interesting observation that during monsoon, they appear in large groups and fly at a lower level before the rains.

They need water bodies to complete life cycle and loss of wetland habitats is threatening dragonfly populations around the world.

Wandering glider (Pantala flavescens) is the most common dragonfly across the globe. All pictures are captured in the backyard of my home.

Pied Paddy Skimmer (female)-Neurothemis tullia
Aethriamanta brevipennis- Scarlet marsh hawk (male)

Friends in My Garden- 8

Cinereous Tit

Cinereous tit

Cute little chirpy birds…Cinereous tits (Parus cinereus)  were frequenting my premises during breeding season. They were seen in pairs, but distinguishing the male and female was not possible as they looked similar.

These active birds were constantly looking for bugs in the foliage.

When thirsty, they landed on my terrace for a drink and a bath! The pair would perch on a nearby tree and each one would take turns to enjoy. On slightest disturbance they would chirp and fly away.

I had to hide in a nook on the terrace to capture some pictures of these birds.

Quenching thirst on my terrace
Splashing around
After a bath

Friends in My Garden- 7

Indian Palm Squirrel

Adorable Indian Palm Squirrel

This adorable critter is plentiful around my home; jumping from branch to branch, running around on my terrace…they are so cute!

Indian palm squirrel (Funambulus palmarum) is a nut and fruit eater. The stripes on their back make them very attractive. Very vocal on detection of any danger.

They are seen in pairs during breeding season and together they build their nests. Some of them prefer niches and corners of my  windows and roof! We can see them collecting materials for nest building, going up and down through the same trail.


Collecting materials for nest building
Feasting on Guava in my backyard    On my terrace on a summer day