As many as 228 species of birds and 170 species of butterflies were recorded in a survey held across the seven ranges of the Coimbatore Forest Division on November 12 and 13. A Maculate Lancer (Salanoemia sala), a small skipper butterfly, sighted from Boluvampatti forest range was the first record of the species in Coimbatore Forest Division, according to the organisers.
The Coimbatore Nature Society (CNS), The Nature and Butterfly Society (TNBS) and WWF-India carried out the exercise jointly with the Coimbatore Forest Division for the fourth year in running.
District Forest Officer T.K. Ashok Kumar said the data generated through surveys would form a base data for area specific, species-specific management plans. The four-year long surveys had indicated bio-diversity richness of certain specific areas with respect to birds and butterflies in terms of rarities and population. The division was exploring possibilities for special status of such areas, he said.
The Passerine group of birds formed the major portion of the bird count with 118 species. Great Hornbill, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Rain Quail, Grey-fronted Green Pigeon, Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, Sirkeer Malkoha, Indian Thick-knee- Gull-billed Tern, Legge’s Hawk-Eagle, Greater Spotted Eagle, Brown Wood-Owl and European Roller were among interesting sightings in the assessment.
Interesting butterfly sightings included that of Common Mime, Malabar Rose, Malabar Banded Swallowtail, Nilgiri Grass Yellow, Chocolate Albatross, Dark Evening Brown, Great Evening Brown and Medus Brown.
According to TNBS president A. Pavendhan, the Coimbatore Forest Division continued to be a haven for butterflies and the sighting of the Maculate Lancer species from higher elevation evergreen forests of Boluvampatti range augured well for the species as well as other rare species found within the same limits.
G. Prakash, senior member of CNS, said that active participation of the young birding community in surveys and the way they gained knowledge would help further nature conservation.
D. Boominathan, Landscape Coordinator, WWF-India, mentioned that scientific monitoring of birds and butterflies at regular intervals would help in building a database that captures the changes happening in the population and identifies hotspots.
A total of 16 teams comprising 82 naturalists and 68 Forest Department staff carried out the exercise under the supervision of Assistant Conservators of Forests M. Senthil Kumar and C. Dinesh Kumar.