Posted by: cochinblogger | December 2, 2012

Butterflies of Cochin: The Tailed Jay

The Tailed Jay is a nervous butterfly, continuously in motion, wings all a flutter even when it sips nectar. It darts continually from place to place, never staying long in any one place almost like a fugitive on the run. As one can imagine, it’s not easy to get a clear shot of this hyperactive butterfly. One has to prepare the camera first to freeze it in flight (by setting a high shutter speed) and even then, alertness and fast reflexes are required to capitalize on the opportunity in the rare event that the butterfly presents a shooting opportunity. In this way, I did manage to get a few clear pictures of this emerald jewel.

However, one rainy afternoon, I spotted this Tailed Jay at rest on a leaf. Unusually, it was as still as a monk in meditation. I sneaked up as close as I could get, umbrella balanced on my shoulder — and had my way with the Tailed Jay at last. It was either enjoying the raindrops falling on its wings, or it was drinking them.

It was almost a mystical experience: the gently falling rain, the silence punctuated by the clicks of my camera, and the mystery of the motionless Tailed Jay.



  1. Are you quite sure it wasn’t dead?!

    • Dead?? Not on your life! 🙂

      • Forgive me, I’m a retired doctor.
        When confronted with a patient’s total immobility, death always tops of my list of conditions to be excluded!

      • There’s nothing to forgive. It’s just that it was a horrible thought. I think it’s clear even from the picture that it’s not dead. It’s perched on a bent, slippery leaf with the wings wide open.

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