Wednesday, 31 March 2010

The Blue Admiral

The Blue Admiral
This was one of those butterflies that traumatised me as a lad, for when I saw it for the first time in an abandoned cocoa grove near Kandy, I refused to believe my eyes. It had been the last day of the school term (a half-holiday). I came home, dropped my satchel, took up my net and ran down to the cocoa grove to taste of the freedom. After about ten minutes of adjusting my eyes to the gloom, I noticed something silvery-blue and unfamiliar, lazily executing tight little circles in a rather wide beam of afternoon sunlight. Suddenly, I no longer heard the cicadas or the birds: just the noise of my racing heartbeat. I found myself making extravagant promises to my Creator in return for a fair chance at netting this magically unexpected, undreamed-of, butterfly. I watched it pirouette and glide, then a few quick flicks of the wings into the shadows where it was lost briefly and then back into the sunbeam for more pirouetting and flow gliding, like a tiny dancer in an enormous spot light. The slightest movement from me and it would flick away into the shadows. This went on for an agonising thirty or forty minutes, until it ventured too close to its solitary but very appreciative audience. How I bagged it, I know not, but I did. The specimen, a male is still with me somewhat rubbed, but precious beyond anything that mere lucre can buy.

—Bernard d’Abrera in ‘The Butterflies of Ceylon’ published in 1998.

This was photographed in the Knuckles Wilderness in Dec, 2008 while guiding Richard and Ann Bishop, Kenya on a 14-day Absolute Birding tour.

3 comments:

Kirigalpoththa said...

Striking colors. Lovely shot!!

I like the name too.

Me-shak said...

I love this picture. The name is even cooler. The shades of blue on the fly is breathtaking. Good work!
Cheers!

Gallicissa said...

Thank you K and Me-shak. This is a difficult species to photograph and I am pleased that I was able to nail it.

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