29 November 2010

Swarms of Butterflies

There is a belief in Sri Lanka, that butterflies fly to Mount Sri Pada to pay their respect. I’m not sure how true this is but, many years ago, I used to see hundreds of butterflies in early mornings during certain time of the year, near my home town.

Later on, this behavior was no longer to be seen and I hardly remember seeing that many butterflies over the last decade or so. May be they have vanished from the areas or fled to areas with less human interactions.

Recently, during my visit to Knuckles Massif, I finally saw swarms of butterflies after many years. There were thousands or even millions of them in the jungle. Mainly it was a yellow coloured specie, but there were other types as well. Above picture was taken during the hike to Sera Ella, which I will bring you in a later post.

Infact, I have strong evidence to prove that butterflies/moths actually go to Sri Pada.

P.S. I learnt that such a group is called a rabble or a flutter thanks to Beyond My Garden.


clo said...

beautiful capture K...
i hope you are fine...
have a nice week..:o)

Dee said...

beautiful nature...

Janith said...

Lovely capture K! I've never seen so many butterflies together! :D

Kirigalpoththa said...

I'm fine and thanks for the comments and wishes :)

Thanks :D

I saw this many butterflies after many years! Not a very common thing for sure.

Thanks all for your comments.

rainfield61 said...

How lucky for you to witness this.

I am waiting for my chance(s).

Naquillity said...

your butterflies photo is precious. i think it would be exciting to see butterflies migrating like that. to see so many in one place... extraordinary. hope all is well. have a great day.

Betsy Banks Adams said...

Fabulous picture---and I'm sure those butterflies do go there to pay their respect. Soon after my mother died in 1991, I went on a church retreat. I was sitting outside on a bench thinking about the loss of my mother, and a butterfly flew up to me and sat next to me on that bench. I felt Mom's presence that day --and she was telling me that she was fine and so would I be....

Magerata said...

I too have heard about the butterflies from my Dad. I am sure they must be lost souls like me with very deep longings for the land. I am glad that they have not vanished from the country. I am counting days now :)

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. Whatever the butterflies are paying respect for, it was probably nice to see them back. It is very interesting to see so many beautiful butterflies standing on the ground together almost like a group of people. Thank you for sharing.

George said...

I'm glad the butterflies are back. It must be a wonderful sight to see them swarming over an area.

Anjana Gunawardena said...

Fabulous shot K;

I have heard the same story and also that’s how it got the name “Samanala kanda”

Btw I might go there next month =D

Dejemonos sorprender said...

Waw, wonderful capture! many butterflies! awesome.. you have nice pictures here.. i liked..

Kirigalpoththa said...

I have good chances of seeing the same if I visit Knuckles range again!

Yes, it was like in a fairy land the other day with so many butterflies around!

Thanks for sharing your memories.. I think I too believe the story of butterflies after hearing your experience :)

They have not vanished from here, but just found a better place to live i guess :)

Yep, it was a great experience in the wild! Thanks for dropping by and for making those comments :)

Yes, it is great to see so many butterflies swarming around :)

That is nice to hear. From which side do you expect to climb “Samanala kanda”? If you get some time read this interesting book, written by a 19th century British Traveler, before going there.

Dejemonos sorprender,
Thanks for dropping by and for making comments :D

Thanks all for your wonderful comments.

Amaris in Wonderland said...

Love this capture!

In my home state of Texas, we were fortunate to be in the flight path of several different butterfly migrations... The much-anticipated annual attraction was the Monarch migration. Every September-November, hoards of Monarchs would pass through on their way to Mexico. It was amazing...

I hadn't seen such a migration in many years until 2008, when i traveled to the Xingu region of Brazil. There were so many little yellow butterflies that were on their way to somewhere... I was never able to capture them on film, however.

You appear to have been very close. I imagine it was a wonderful experience. :)

Kirigalpoththa said...


Thanks for the interesting comments.

Monarch being a beautiful butterfly their migration in groups must be a great sight!

Those yellow butterflies you mentioned in Xingu - Do they look like the ones in the above picture?

I was about two metres from the group of butterflies when I took the above picture.

Thanks again for the comments. :)

Nellie from Beyond My Garden said...

love these butterflies, like guitar picks upended on the ground. Such a group is a rabble or a flutter.
Here is my Earth Day Capture. of three different swallowtails. Yours is great!

Amila Kanchana said...

What a splendid sight!

Rajesh said...

Fantastic capture. So many of them in one place.

Kirigalpoththa said...

Beyond The Garden,
I learnt a few new words thanks to you :)
Your pictures of rabble of swallowtails are superb!
I will just do a small update in the post linking your blog. Hope it is ok? :)
Thanks for visitng and for making comments.

Thanks mate!

Yep, they were great! :)

cat said...

Wow I have never seen such a lot of butterflies in one place! Amazing.

Indrani said...

Probably they are migrating. Beautiful shot.

Nellie from Beyond My Garden said...

Yes,that is great and I'll be back for each of your posts.Thank-you.

Amaris in Wonderland said...


I believe that the butterflies that i saw are known as "Large Orange Sulfurs" (though they didn't seem too large). They seem similar to the ones you captured. However, comparing the pics, yours appears to be something akin to the "Cloudless" "Statira" "Lyside" or "White-angled Sulphur" which have more of a greenish hue... though i doubt it would be the same species, as these are predominantly located in the Americas. ?? If you find out what they are, please let us know. :))

Kirigalpoththa said...

Neither do I :D

Could be. I must vuist there again and see whether they still coming..

Beyond the Garden,
Thanks very much and I will do the same for your posts :)

Kirigalpoththa said...

Hi Amaris,

As you mentioned, they look quite close to statira or White-angled Sulphur, but as you mentioned since we are in tropics this specie can be totally different type.

I'll let you know soon as i get any lead.

Thanks a lot for the info :)

Loshini said...

Must be quite an experinece to see them in person.

By the way...I don't know what it means in your culture but in my place, the butterflies are thought to be souls seeking liberation. I find it interesting to think they go to Sri Pada, which has mythic religious beliefs connected to it, ya?

Just a random thought.. :)

Kirigalpoththa said...

Quite a connection! I think lot of cultures have these similarities in beliefs.
Thanks for your comments.

Knatolee said...

Great photo! I have occasionally seen scenes like this around here, including on piles of cow manure!!

Tammie Lee said...

such a wonderful photo, to see so many together is always fun.

Kirigalpoththa said...

Knatolee / Tammie,
Many thanks for your comments as alwaya :)

Amila Salgado said...

My .02: that rabble of butterflies appears to be mostly comprised of Lesser Albatross. One very obvious stranger among them is a Bluebottle that is at the top middle.

Kirigalpoththa said...

Thanks very much :)
I knew you are the best person to give such a perfect answer!
I just googled and I think 'Lesser Albatross' is an exact match for the yellow specie. The other solitary specie could be Bluebottle but shouldn't they have bluish spots?

I think Gallicissa has come up with an exact identification of the rabble :)

Harshi said...

What a beautiful pic! And so lucky to be able to capture that many. I saw hundreds of them zooming right past me but couldn't capture a single. -__-

Kirigalpoththa said...

Could be the same rabble that passed Kandy (Your hometown) and came to nest at Knuckles Range :)

Thanks for your comments.

elena nuez said...

that beautiful butterflies, if they seem leaves .... thanks for your visit and your words, also for you all the best for 2011!!!
greetings from Spain

Kirigalpoththa said...

Thanks a lot for your visit and wish you a great new year ahead! :D