Sunday, June 12, 2016

A Wet Day of Butterfly Outing at 上水古洞, Hong Kong

On 28 May, I met up with my usual butterfly-photogaphy enthusiasts at Sheuang Shui (上水) MTR station before hopping onto the green mini bus 50K to 上水古洞 to look for the Polygonia c-aureum (黃鉤蛺蝶 ). After about 20 minutes, we alighted at The Hong Kong Girl Guides Association - Jockey Club Beas River Lodge.

We crossed a river and walked towards  a village. Though it was dirzzling, many of us just continued to hunt for our primary target -  thge Polygonia c-aureum. There was quite a number of them, flitting amongst the wild vegetation, along the river banks.
Without sunshine, they had the tendency to fold up their wings. So getting an upperside shot was not  easy.
I noticed an interesting moment. I guess a male was trying to mate with a female. But appearently, the female was not keen.

The male gave up and  rested with open wings for a few seconds.
The weather was overcast with intermitten rains throughout the whole morning. When the passing rain became heavy, we had to look for "shelters" under big trees. While waiting for the rain to stop under a big banana leaf, I spotted this Banana Skipper (Erionota torus) .
This Discophora sondaica  (鳳眼方環蝶)was also waiting for the rain to stop - it was just a few meters away from me.
When there was intermitten sunshine, I could see more butterflies feeding on the Bidens flowers along the roadside. A familiar butterfly to me, the Ypthima baldus (矍眼蝶 ) was busy feeding on the flower,  allowing me to compose some shots.

Usually I have uncertainty identifying an orange skipper - this shot looks like the Telicota bambusae according to Dr Seow from ButterflyCircle .
I got one underside shot before it scooted off  the moment the flashlight was fired.
Another yellow skipper which looks like the T.  bambusae again but it preferred  the yellow wild daisy  flowers instead.
Identifying a brown skipper is very challenging too.  This small guy  could be the Parnara bada.
Many wild flowers, especaially the white Bidens flowers blooming along the Shueng Yue River attracted some butterflies. 
I noticed that this Catopsilia pomona taking a short nap after it had enough nectar from the flowers.
Many photographers were waiting at infront of some rows of Bidens flowers to nail the  Papilio xuthus. This fellow was fair to everyone as it visited different flowers, giving everyone a fair chance to snap a few shots.
In every outing, apart from butterflies, if we look around carefully, it is not difficult to find other critters also. A beetle was foraging on a flower.  
 A planthopper.  
 A beautiful  but common day-flying moth which I have not identified it

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Fung Yuan Butterfly Reserve, Hong Kong

Fung Yuan is one of the best and  most accessible butterfly-watching and photography sites in Hong Kong. On two Saturdays (14 and 21 May), though the wheather was not ideal  for butterfly-hunting, I could still see some insect life at Fung Yuan. 

The Acytolepis puspa (鈕灰蝶) wasn't a target for most of the photographers. However, when it presented a good perch for me, I just sanpped a few shots.
My friends spotted a few Neopithecops zalmora  (一點灰蝶) along a foot path outside Fung Yuan. There were flitting around and feeding on flowers at times. We were lucky to  see one of them releasing water dropplets from its abdomen.  .
We had some fun shooting this little fellow when it was addicted to the nectar of the flower.
These two Cyrestis thyodamas  (網絲蛺蝶)  feasted on the damp ground for a long period of time. They were drunk on the ground, oblivious to passersby walking  just beside them.
Fung Yuan is full of  the White Dragontail butterflies (Lamprotera curius ) (燕鳳蝶). Altough they appear like dragonflies, they are the smallest Papilionids. Usually they flap their wings at very high speeds while feeding.  However, I notice that at certian time of the day, they may rest on flowers with wings fully open. 
This attractive female Indian Fritilliary (Argyreus hyperbius) 斐豹蛺蝶 appeared late in the afternoon but she was  just too skittish and uncooperative for me to take a better shot.
The Lethe confusa 白帶黛眼蝶 seems to be very common here. On a rather cool and cloudy day, this guy was less active.
This looks more like a Neptis hylas (中環蛺蝶) - it took me awhile to get just one shot of this  extremely alert fellow.
A phone call from my friend alerted me to go to the "magic tree' where  butterflies liked to feed on the tree sap.  This is a Polyura nepenthes 忘憂尾蛺蝶  - it stayed at this position high on the tree trunk until I left for home. 
I saw a few Birdwing larvae feeding on the host plants.  
Apart from butterflies,  these two day-flying moths, with similar body shape captured my attention too.
I have no idea what they are.
Apart from butterflies, the dragonflies and other insects became my subjects especially when they were cooperative. This is a kind of wasp feeding voraciously on the Bidens flowers.
  There were quite a number of beetles. This

This black beetle loved the flower.
 I began to see more damselflies in my last two visits to Fung Yuan.

Another species found inside the Fung Yuan - thanks to Shan who spotted this for me to shoot.
This was taken outside the Fung Yuan - many of them were resting in the late afternoon.
Lastly, a long-legged fly that I may not have seen it before.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Butterflies at Lung Kwu Tan (龍鼓灘), Hong Kong

Situated at the western coast of Hong Kong's New Territories, Lung Kwu Tan is one of the hotspots for butterfly-watching and photograpy.

Leaving home early on a warm Saturday morning (7 May), I took the West Rail MTR Line from Hung Hom to Tung Man. After having a heavy breakfast, I met my  friends at Exit C. Another 45-minute bus ride on a MTR K52 bus finally brought us to Lung Kwu Tan village. My total travelling time from my home at Ap Lei Chau to this place was almost 2 hours.

The hunting-ground is in fact a patch of wasteland (abandoned farm land?) at the foothill of a mountain.

The site was quite crowded with photographers when we arrived. I decided to follow the Lung Man Trail and walk up the stairs leading to the Emperor's Cave (but I didn't reach). Along the way, I was lucky to bump into a Mahathala ameria (Falcate Oakblue).
There were many Rustics (Cupha erymanthis) along the trail. As usual, all of them were extremely skittish and alert to movement. With a lot of patience and luck, I finally got some record shots. 
  The undersides.
There were two female Cethosia bibles working diligently to look for the correct plant to lay eggs.
The other female decided to take a short break after a long search for the correc host plant.
Some males were fluttering around and feeding  on flowers , occasionally they landed on the ground.
There were many Bidens flowers at the wasteland. Getting tired of walking up and down the stairs, I stood next to the flowers waiting for butterflies. A very fast flyer, this Common Gall (Cepora nerissa) loved to feed on the flowers.    
A mating pair of Pieris canidia caught my attention when I was resting under a tree.
I noticed there were quite a number of butterfly species  at this place. Feeding on the Bidens flowers with wings wide open,    the Chestnut Angle (Odontoptilum angulatum) presented a nice composition for me to take a few shots before it scooted off to a treetop.
The sighting of this samll Purple and Gold Flitter skipper (Zographetus satwa) in the late afternoon got everyone excicted.  Scooting around with high speeds but  perching on the same leaf surface or nearby, it  gave everyone a chance to snap some shots though from far.  
A glimpse of its markings on the forewings.

A forest denizen I believe, the Graphium doson (Common Jay) was takiing a nap.
It looks like the intermediate form of a Mycalesis species
A Neptis speceies perhaps the N. clinia was hanging around a tree in the afternoon.  
Geeting an upperside shot was a challenge for me as it kept flapping its wings -  this was the best I could get.
Due to its five distinctive five black spots on the hindwing underside, it is quite easy to identify this bbutterfly - the Parathyma sulpitia. 
I managed to get just one upperside shot.
It was late in the afternoon when this Tajuria cippus landed again on flowers but it took off a few seconds later.
The insect diversity at Lung Kwu Tan is good. Apart from  butterflies, I saw quite a number of other insects. I have not shot a Tiger beetle for a long time  When this guy landed on a cement step just infront of me, I instinctively squatted down to snap a shot. 
A small but colourful and interesting bug - not sure what this is.
It seems that this particular species of the  Lantern bug is common in HK as I have seen it at a few trails.
Finally, let me conclude this post with a mating pair of moth. Many of us queued up to take some shots of this beautiful moth.
Though this place is very far away from my home,  the number of fauna species we can find here is worth spending the time to come here again.