Sunday, August 24, 2014

Trekking Deep Into Forest Trail @ USR

It was my second outing on 16 Aug since I came back from two overseas trip - this time I went on a solo trip to Upper Seletar Reservoir Park (USR).  I am not sure if this is the Long Brand Bush Brown (Mycalesis visala pharmis) which perched right in front of me.
It was a very quiet morning in terms of butterfly or insect activity. Wandering around the forest fringe, I finally spotted a Peacock Pansy (Junonia almana javana) sun-bathing near the round-about
 There are a few eye-spots on the undersides too but the ground colour is paler.
After taking some shots of this Peacock Pansy, I decided to venture deeper into the forest. Except for the occasional bird and the cicada songs; the rattling sounds of the dry leafs on the ground by my shoes, the forest was absolutely calm and filled with fresh and pure air. I kept walking until I came to a spot where a colony of Archdukes was dog-fighting and zipping around.

Being extremely sensitive to movement, these Archdukes would take off the moment I inched forward. This was a lucky shot when a female Archduke (Lexais pardalis dirteana) landed on the ground in front of me.
She changed her puddling spot and with the accompany of  another species of Lexias, the Yellow Archduke (Lexias canescens pardalina)- being the rarest of the three Lexias species we can find in Singapore.
Without any good chances of shooting these ultra-alert Archdukes, I moved on again until I could not see any clear trail. Being alone and mentally unprepared for a much more difficult and a long trek from where I was to Bukit Panjang side of the forest, I decided to turn back.

Though I stayed at the Archduke spot for a longer period of time, I was disappointed that none of the Yellow Archduke offered me a shooting opportunity. At last,  a Malayan Lascar (Lasippa tiga siaka) came by and posed for me. 
I have seen this large butterfly Saturn (Zeuxidia amethystus amethystus) a few times in the deep forest. At least this time, I managed to get a long distance shot of a female. But what a shy butterfly she was - when I moved one step closer, she scooted off out of my sight.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

49th National Day @ Mandai Track 15

A few of us, Khew, Simon, CJ and Loke  went on a butterfly-photography trip to Mandai Track 15 on our 49th National Day.

We saw two lycaenids fluttering close to the ground. They were very skittish and I was lucky to have an instinctive shot - it turned out to be the Silver Forget-Me-Not (Catochrysops panormus exiguus).
A rather tattered Arahopala was found along a tarred road before we cut through a forested trail joining Track 15. According to Dr Seow from the ButterflyCircle, it was likely a Arhopala antimuta antimuta.
A Plain Plushblue (Flos apidanus saturatus) was found along the forested trail. A quick shot was what I could get before it scooted off and disappeared from our sight.
Arhopala major major seemed to be a common species along this forested trail.
Finally we came to an open space. A Common Sailor (Neptis hylas papaja) perched on a blade of Lalang grass for quite a while that allowed  us to take some shots. .
When a Peacock Pansy (Junonia almana javana) was sunbathing on a blade of grass at my kneel level, I quickly snapped a shot. 
The Grey Pansy (Junonia atlites atliets) seems to have set up their permanent home nearby. There were a few of them actively roaming around us. Thanks Simon for alerting me of this surprisingly cooperative Grey Pansy.
In the late morning, a female Common Mormon (Papilio demolion demolion) kept us busy for awhile. Fluttering her wings and changing her feeding position frequently, she tested our patience and gave us a hard time for getting a decent shot.      
A couple of orange skippers visited the Bidens flowers but they remained active and alert even during feeding times.
There were at least two dark brown skippers loitering around the area. Dr Seow believed that they were both female  Baoris oceia .
 


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Butterflies @ Upper Peirce Reservoir Park

It has been quite sometime since my last visit to the Upper Peirce Reservoir Park (UPR).  On a breezy and cool Saturday morning (29 June), I found strolling along this quiet and long Old Upper Thomson Road that snaking through the lush greenery on both sides of the road, very rewarding.  

My first sighting of a butterfly was a beautiful lycaenid, Semanga superba deliciosa. It tested my patience and perseverance before offering me a relatively good perch for some quick shots.
Fluttering around a shrub, this Commander (Moduza procris milonia) kept coming back to the same plant  She appeared to be looking for the correct host plant for ovipositing her eggs.
Some small flowers of  a Leea indica shrub attracted this Yellow Vein Lancer (Pyroneura latoia latoia). It changed  its  perch a few times but is quite cooperative for me to snap a few shots.  
I spotted Horsefield's Baron (Tanaecia iapis pusea) quite often in my previous outings but I always had no luck of getting a good shot. No exception again, this was my best shot of a male from a distance near the reservoir edge. 
In Singapore, the Common Four Ring (Ypthima huebneri) is the smallest species of the genus Ypthima. There were many "Ring" butterflies along a trail leading to reservoir edge - this is just one of them I managed to get a shot.    
Common Grass Yellow (Eurema hecabe contubernalis) was abundant, fluttering around and feeding voraciously on a flowering Leea indica tree before the car park.
The moment I set in a shelter, I was very reluctant to move again. I really enjoyed the picturesque scene at UPR - the reflection of the greenery in the crystal clear water of the reservoir and the serenity of the park. UPR is a perfect place for a person to relax the mind and refresh the body - is a paradise on earth. .  

As the clock ticked away I had to make my way out. I noticed there were quite a number of reddish-pink flowers under a big tree  - no idea what this is.
Walking on a different side of the road while I was on my way out, I noticed a lycaenid butterfly flitting around a tree which bore many small flower buds.  It turned out to be a rather shy Chocolate Royal (Remelana jangala travana) which  kept staying away from me with high perches. 
A Narrow Spark (Sinthusa nasaka amba) also made its appearance on the same tree for a short period of time. But I had no luck of getting a good shot of it.
A rather small Horaga species surprised me. It was flitting down from the canopy and landed on some flower buds. She appeared laying eggs on a flower bud but I could not find any egg with my naked eyes.
I must go back to hunt for this Horaga butterfly again - as it appeared "strange" to me.

This blog will not be updated until early August as I will be going for two overseas trips during the next two-three weeks.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

A Quiet Morning @ Upper Seletar Reservoir Park

A late morning outing to Upper Seletar Reservoir (USR) Park on 21 June begun with a shot of this beautiful moth along the first trail.
It was a rather quiet morning. So when I found a mating pair of a Ring butterfly, I didn't give up chasing them. The six ocelli on the hindwing confused me. They were identified by Dr Seow to be a Malayan Five Ring (Ypthima horsfieldii humei) .
It was a very quiet morning. So I just took anything that cross my sight. This is a robberfly.
The Acacia Blue (Surendra vivarna amisena) is a common butterfly which can be found in forested areas or along forest fringes. I was rather lucky to find this solitary specimen on a perch behind a leaf 
The Grey Sailor (Neptis leucoporos cresina) is another common forest denizen. Very sensitive of slight movement, it took off  several times whenever I went closer towards it. This was one of the shots when it landed in front of me lasting a few seconds.
Here is another moth.


Sunday, June 29, 2014

A Colony of Grey Pansy @ Mandai Track 15

After the morning rain on 14 June, I dropped by Mandai Track 15 in the late afternoon. As expected, the cool weather might have made the forest critters lethargic and inactive. For a long period of time I was just strolling along the quiet forest trail andoccasionally on the tarred road. 

Finally I came to an open space where a colony of Grey Pansy (Junonia atlites atlites)  was spotted fluttering and feeding on some Bidens flowers. 
These Grey Pansies were very alert and didn't seem to like my presence. Getting a decent shot required a lot of patience and luck.
I guess this is a Contiguous Swift (Polytremis lubricans lubricans) resting on a leaf surface.
A couple of Peacock Pansy (Junonia almana javana) was fighting for nectar amongst the Grey Pansies.
I could not get a proper underside shot of this Dart skipper, a Potanthus species.  
A glimpse of the underside shot was the best I could get as it opened its wings within  a split of a second.
On may way back to the "main gate", this Gram Blue (Euchrysops cnejus cnejus) presented a very nice pose for me to snap a few shots. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Lornie Trail in a Late Afternoon

A cloudy and rainy Saturday morning on 7 June confined me to staying indoor at my in-law's place for the whole morning. After getting some work done and with sunshine beginning to pierce through the thin clouds, I decided to drop by Lornie Trail (LT) en route to home.
Though it was quite late in the afternoon when I reached LT, a few critters were still active flitting around along the forest trails. A small but beautiful dragonfly was seen on a dry leaf -  Is this an immature Rubescens rubeola ?
A male Malayan Lacewing (Cethosia hypsea hypsina)  was visiting some flowers of a Leea indica shrub at the reservoir edge - one of my favourite spots for shooting butterflies.
A lovely male Crimson Sunbird  (Aethopuga siparaja)  was perching and feeding on a row of  Heliconia flowers. I approached it closer and snapped a few shots while it kept surveying the surroundings.
One of my field observations of Lycaenids was that they were more likely to open their wings for sunbathing in the late afternoon. The uppersides of the male Common Red Flash (Rapala iarbus iarbus) were stunning. But getting a good shot at this beauty above my eye level was too great a challenge for me.
The wings began to open up slowly (but partially most of the times) whenever it landed on a sunny new perch. 
I sped up my pace walking towards the boardwalk. Beside the SICC golf course, a few skippers caught my attention even though they were resting in some shade. I believe this was a Palm Dart (Telicota augias augias). 
This is likely to be a Lesser Dart (Potanthus omaha omaha).
A wasp was busy feeding on some flowers of the Mile-a-Minute. 
Just before the Golf Link boardwalk, I noticed a a Logania  marmorata damis kept fluttering erratically. It finally perched underneath a leaf where some ants were present too.
I turned back as time didn't allow me to wait for this skittish guy to perch again. On may way home, on the same Leea indica shrub, a Yellow-veined Lancer (Pyroneura latoia latoia) was hooked on one isolated flower for a long time.
The female Malayan Baron (Euthalia monina monina)  was puddling on the trail leading to Lornie Road.
I was quite surprised that the butterfly activities were quite good in the late afternoon. Perhaps it was due to the morning rain that they had to feed late in the afternoon to get enough food for next day.