Monday, October 28, 2019

The Endagered Raffles' Banded Langur @ Thomson Nature Park

This newest 50-hectare nature park is located in the eastern side of the central catchment nature reserve, bounded between a stretch of Old Upper Thomson and Upper Thomson road.

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This nature park is rather unique as it was conceptualized and developed on the site of an old Hainan Village. Here is a quick overview of the park produced by CNA which I downloaded from YouTube.


The park was officially open to the public on 11 Oct. Being a Hinanese myself, naturally I was curious to find out how an abandoned Hainan village was turned into a nature park -  so on a nice Sunday afternoon (13 Oct) I went alone to the park via the Old Upper Thomson Road. 

The walking paths in the park were clearly demarcated with white ropes and most of the trails are gravel paths without many steps and steep slopes.
I noticed that there were many old and tall trees in this park.
I guess that was an abandoned bee hive high up on the tree.

Well-illustrated information sign boards on various contents are placed along the trails. When I looked at this, I was hopping to see the Raffles' Banded Langur (Presbytis femoralis femoralis) again.
Indeed I was rather lucky to spot a family of  four Raffles' Banded Langur (2 adults and 2 juveniles), seemingly high up on a reubutan tree on 20 Oct morning when I visited the park again. Though it was my second sighting of this endangered species in SG, but these were my first record shots of them ! ( should have used my HP to take video!)    

Two smaller individuals in size (may be juveniles?) were seen following behind at lower branches but I didn't have a clear view to snap some shots. Read here for more information about this rare primate.

The ruins of houses, brick walls and the information signages provide us with some idea about the life in the village before 1980.
One of the significant historical elements of this nature park is the house and the ambutan garden of Mr Han Wei Toon. A large information poster (picture below) provides  me a good lesson about the life and work of Mr Han Wei Toon.   

The small Hainan community in the village helped each other out and shared farming lands. 
I was surprised to know that Caucasian also lived in this village - this was the site of the Fox's family. 
In those days, the village was accessible via two roads, Lorong Pelita and Jalan Belang. It is good to keep these two roads as walking paths in the garden.

During my second visit, I paid attention to butterflies and other critters. My first shot of a butterfly species was this male Archduke (Lexias pardalis direteana), puddling on the ground with lots of leaf litter.
There were a few common lycaenids fluttering close to the gravel ground along the red-marked trail. Due to human traffic, I got to be patient and quick to snap a few shots - this is the Tailless Line Blue (Prosotas dubiosa lumpura) - a common species but good to know that the park does have some butterflies.
Its "cousin"  the Common Line Blue (Prosotas nora superdates) was around too. It disappeared so fast that I didn't have a second chance to take more shots.

There was another look-alike lycaenid but slightly larger in size, I believed this is the Pointed Line Blue (Ionolyce helicon merguiana).
At another location along the "Red" trail, there was another lonely lycaenid - likely to be the Opaque Sixline Blue (Nacaduba beroe neon)
A Sunbeam was teasing me, zipping past me a few times and attempting to stop on sweaty shirt. But at last it preferred to hang around with the Blues.
I covered almost every corner of the park and fortunate again to see a stinkhorn mushroom. It has been more than a decade since my last sighting in the wild.
A cluster of wild mushrooms was found growing on a tree trunk.


Sunday, July 21, 2019

Butterflies at Dairy Farm Park (May - June) 2019

In the past two months (May and June 2019), I visited Dairy Farm Park on a few Sunday mornings either hiking up to the peak of our highest mountain or just for butterfly-hunting.    

Good to see a lot more people came to the park these days - in fact, many bird watchers and photographers always gathered at the furthest entrance point of the Wallace Trail. I was told that that area was good for watching and shooting birds.

On one particular Sunday morning in early May, I came out from the Wallace Trail and moved towards Car Park B. At the open space near the Wallace Education Centre,  I noticed a small lycaenid fluttering rather weakly in the air. I had no clue about what it was.  Out of curiosity, I watched and followed it closely until it landed - I was very surprised to see a rather pristine  Logania marmorata damis (The Pale Mottle) rested on a tiny rock - this is not the usual  hehaviour shown by this species.

There were a few small Blues fluttering at the ground level near the toilet at Car Park B. With patience, I managed to snapped some shots. I was particularly excited to shoot a Four-line Blue as I have not seen one for a long time.
In fact, this shot generated very profound discussions about its identity -  whether it is the Nacaduba hermus or the  N. pendleburyi in ButterflyCircle Forum here.
If you observe carefully, you notice that this Nacaduba species has 6 white lines in the forewing. This is perhaps a Rounded Six-line Blue (Nacaduba berenice icena).
Another Nacaduba species was shot in early June outside the toilet. Noticing the differences in the white striae, I suspect this is the N. beroe neon. 
Another look-alike lycaenid, this is  Jamides alecto ageladas (The Metallic Caerulean) also found puddling on the ground.
The blue iridescence on the upperside wings could be seen on this shot.
This Bush Brown, perhaps the Mycalesis mineus macromalayana was "hopping" around along a row of shrubs in front of the Wallace Education Centre. I ignored it until it perched on a nice position; long enough for me to snap a quick shot.  
This small tailed lycaenid was found puddling at a muddy spot along the Wallace Trail.  The ochreous straie on both wings are the characteristics of the Common Line Blue (Prosotas nora superdates.)
Same background but a different butterfly from the same genus, this is a very common lycaenid called the Tailess Line Blue (Prosotas dubiosa lumpura).
Another look-alike, but this is from another genus - the Ionolyce helicon merguiana (The Pointed Line Blue) is quite common in forested areas.  Correction - this is another  N. beroe neon (Thanks Dr Seow from ButterflyCircle)
Whenever a common forest shrub named Leea indica is flowering, its tiny white flowers would attract butterflies. This is Tagiades japetus atticus (Common Snow Flat) feeding on the small flowers.
A Large Snow Flat (Tagiades gana gana) also found on the same tree, feeding voraciously on the flowers.
This was my first sighting of an elegant butterfly at Dairy Farm Park, the Royal Assyrian (Terinos terpander robertsia) - a rather uncommon forest denizen. Being too active and skittish, it never presented me a nice and nearer perch for me to take better shots.
   An upperside shot.
The Cruiser (Vindula dejone erotella) is a large forest butterfly from the nymphalidae family. The male likes to puddle on the moist ground. 
This dark brown skipper, The Banded Demon (Notocrypta paralysos vrians is a very fast flyer but it tends to perch quite frequently. This is a record shot when it rested on a high perch in a shady area.
 Another common skipper the Palm Bob (Suastus gremius gremius) , much smaller than the Banded Demon. 
Lastly, two non-butterfly shots a tiny beetle and a snail to wrap up this long-overdue blog post.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Butterflies of Langkawi (Dec 2018)

Last December from 8 to 12 Dec, I joined CH and TP in their annual butterfly outing to Langkawi. This time, we focused on two locations, Kisap and Lubuk Semilang.

Let me start sharing a few new additions to my collection from this trip. At the entrance to a forest trail at Lubuk Semilang, I saw a whitish slow-flying lycaenid. It was an ordinary Grass Blue was what I thought initially.  But the longer I observed, the more I was convinced that it might be something else. I followed it closely and I was rewarded with a few shots of this Gem, the Cyaniriodes libna andersonii.
 Another shot when it changed its perch.
From the upperside, I knew that it was a female
I have shot a different sub-species of the Branded Yamfly (Yasoda pita dohertyi) in Chiang Mai but it was my first sighting of this species in Langkawi.
Another snap shot when it landed on a twig.

Some bread or buns  was what we usually prepared for our lunch when we were out in the wild shooting.  While I was resting and having my lunch on a big rock at the waterfall, this Poritia erycinoides caught my attention. Without hesitation, I quickly grab my shooting gears and went after it. 
The upperside of the male looked like this which I shot at Kisap. This beautiful Gem appeared to be quite common at Kisap in the morning before certain time as we spotted quite a few of them.
Along a forest trail at Bulok Semilang, a small lycaenid was fluttering rather erratically. This Allotinus substrigosus subtrigosus seems common here as I shot it during my last visit here.
I noticed a rather pristine Banded Peirrot (Discolampa ethion ethion) was among other Peirrots puddling on a moist ground so I decided to take a few shots.
Among the Peirrots, we could find one or two different species - this is a Straight Peirrot (
We spent quite a lot of time prowling along a dirt path besides a golf course at Kisap during this trip. Perhaps some other collectors had come before us or due to forest-clearing, the butterfly activities were below my expectation. 

We encountered a few species that we can find in SG - this is the Spindasis lohita though the colour of the bands look more like the S. senaya. 
A single Quaker (Neopithecops zalmora zalmora) was puddling on a damp soil.
A Large Snow Flat (Tagiades gana gana) was taking an afternoon nap on a foilage - it was quite oblivious to my presence.
We didn't get to see many skippers this trip. A lonely Telicota species was puddling quietly on the ground.
On the second day when we were at Kissap again, I decided to venture further in from the main road, almost reaching the fringe of the forest. Along the way, I noticed a large plot of land was cleared. Very disappointingly, very few butterflies were encountered - just a Purpe Bush Brown (Mycalesis oresis nautilus) gave me a chance.
There were quite a few Yellows congregating on the ground. One of them was the Forest Grass YellowEurema simulatrix tecmessa
Shooting a Tree Yellow (Gandaca harina distanti) usually a daunting task as this species is rather alert and active. But when it found a sweet spot on a moist ground, it could stay for awhile.
"Two-in-one" shot is something I like to take if an opportunity arises. When the Eurema andersonii andersonii came closer to the Tree Yellow, I quickly snap a shot.
 It looks like the Appias albina.
We also met a few "Yeomans" in this trip - these Yeomans are generally very skittish and alert to human movement. The Little Banded Yeoman (Paduca fasciata fasciata) was shot at Kisap after  stalking this guy for a long period of time. 
I was lucky to see it showing me the underside wings.
Though there were quite a number of Malay Yeomans (Cirrochroa emalea emalea) at Lubok Semilang, we still needed a lot of patience to get some decent shots.
There were only a few sightings of this species in SG in the past few years.
The Common Yeoman (Cirrochroa tycha rotundata)  is smaller in size and it appears in the vicinity of the Malay Yeoman. 
Its underside is quite similar to that of the Malay Yeoman.
This is a Black and White Helen (Papilio nephelus annulus)resting on a tarred road side leading to the waterfall at Lubok Semilang
I always find shooting the Cateye butterfly  (Coelites epiminthia epiminthia) challenging as it often stays at the forest understory. This was an lucky shot when it landed just above my eye level.
We spent half a day at Kampung Kadah but didn't find anything interesting. We just got a couple of shots - a dark brown skipper - maybe a Baoris species.
A Yellow Banded Flat (Celaenorrhinus aurivittatus) was zipping around me and visited the flowers quite randomly. I waited at the flowers and managed to get a shot.
Just before noon, after shooting this Common Peirrot (Castalius rosimon rosimon ) we decided to go back to Kissap again for our last afternoon of butterfly-hunting in Langkawi.
This is a male Euploea klugii erichsonii that I saw it on two days while we were at Kisap. I finally got a decent shot.

Unlike my previous two visits to Langkawi, I encountered only one Arhopala species this time. I wondered why? On the whole, the number of butterflies and the species we have encountered in this trip was a lot fewer this time. Let's hope that we will find and shoot many more species if we will go back to Langkawi in the near future.

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