Friday, March 13, 2015

Two Outings to Upper Seletar Reservoir (USR) Park

On two consecutive Saturday mornings (21 and 28 Feb), I accompanied my two different Secondary school classmates to trek from Bukit Panjang to USR. Though it was a long trek, I didn't have any chance to photograph any critters.

On both occasions I decided to stay a bit longer at USR to look for butterflies and critters. 

A rather pristine Purple Duke (Eulaceura osteria kumana) was displaying an unusual behaviour  -resting on a leaf surface instead of hiding underneath a leaf.  
The Common Posy (Drupadia ravindra moorei) was flitting around from leaf to leaf. I wasn't very keen to chase it but when it perched right in front of me, I instinctively snapped a quick shot.
I am not sure what this bug is - a Sting bug perhaps. It stayed on the edge of a leaf for me to snap a few shots.
My second Common Posy shot was taken on 28 Feb - a common sight and behaviour when it perched on the ants-infested Smilex bracteata.  
A Yamfly (Loxura atymnus fuconius) displayed the same behaviour - a close association with ants. 
A female Horsfield's Baron was loitering around her host plant - the Singapore Rhododendron (Melastoma malabathricum) in the afternoon. 
I was lucky to have her staying on the leaf for a while.
I wonder when USR will be teeming with butterflies and critters again? 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A Quiet Morning @ Mount Faber and Telok Blangah Hill Park

My last visit to Mount Faber was about one year ago (see here). On 14 Feb, after a quick breakfast at the Seah Im Road hawker centre, I walked leisurely up to the Mount Faber Park along the Marang Trail.

My first shot of the morning was a female Malayan Eggfly (Hypolimnas anomala anaomala) basking in the morning sun at a distance away from me.  This is the only shot I took at Mount Faber Park despite 
I decided to walk over to the Telok Blangah Hill Park (TBHP). After crossing the Henderson Waves bridge, I was presented with a chance to snap this Ciliate Blue (Anthene emolus goberus).
While there were no critters to photograph, I looked out for caterpillars. This is a 5th instar of the Plain Nawab (Polyura hebe platus) resting on the Red Saga leaves (Adenanthera pavonina).
On the same plant, an early instar Plain Nawab caterpillar was wriggling slowly.
Wandering aimlessly at TBHP, I just could not find any critters I wanted to photograph. At a shady corner, I decided to take a few shots of a pair of mating Micropezid Fly (Mimegralla albimana) and called it a day. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Long Trek Into the Nature Reserve

Another fine and windy Saturday morning (6 Feb) tempted me to trek into the nature reserve. I walked leisurely from Lornie Trail towards Golf Link Boardwalk, rested at the Jelutong Tower before trekking towards the Riffle Range Link. I decided to turn around to fill up my drinking bottle at the Ranger Station before heading towards the Venus Road carpark. It was a tiring long walk.  

This was the only shot  taken along the Lornie Trail - a kind of tiny froghopper resting on a leaf in the shade.
While strolling on the Golf Link trail, I saw a egret (?) foraging at the edge of the reservoir. I approached it slowly and snapped a record shot. 
It might have noticed my presence when I tried to get closer. I  managed to snap some instinctive shots when it was taking off. What a pity that the wings were overexposed.

From a distance, I noticed a pacific swallow perching on a red metal bar sticking out from the pond on the golf course side.
Finally, I got a chance to take a shot of a critter - an orange skipper, the Lesser Dart (Potanthus omaha omaha). 
It had the tendency to open its wings partially a few seconds after each new perch. 
Along the Riffle Range Link, a male Horsefeld's Baron (Tanaecia iapis puseda) changed perch a few times but it seemed to prefer looking down on me all the time. 
It was my first encounter of a large amount of rapid-flowing water passing through this rather wide drain with many vertical beams. The thundering sounds and the patterns created by the torrential stream of water were simply awesome. 
Never mind that there were no butterflies. Sitting under the shade on some rocks at the reservoir edge, I really enjoyed the solitude and the greenery surrounding the peaceful reservoir - an absolutely refreshing and therapeutic feeling.  

While moving towards the Ranger Station, I met a very cooperative Common Hedge Blue (Acytolepis puspa lambi) puddling on the ground - it was my third butterfly shot of the day.
My fourth shot came shortly after that. A small  lycaenid, restless at first, finally joined the Common Hedge Blue. It took me awhile to take a shot to confirm that it was a Tailless Line Blue (Prosotas dubiosa lumpura).
It started to drizzle when I left the Ranger Station. Luckily, it didn't last long. In fact, the weather wasn't that bad while I was on my way out walking along the Venus Trail but I didn't have a single chance to increase my camera shutter count. 

I hope you were not disappointed with only four butterfly shots in this post.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Tampines Eco Green Park Again

With a home visit to a BC member on 31 Jan in my mind, it would not be wise for me to  venture too far away from Bedok. So I decided to drop by the Tampines Eco Green Park again.

As usual it was a great enjoyment to watch many Plain Tiger (Danaus chrysippus chrysippus) butterflies dancing high and low in the wind and on flowers in a sunny and windy morning. With the abundance of the Plain Tiger's larval host plant, the Calotropis gigantea, they should be there all year round to welcome us.

I was more interested in shooting this Common Tit (Hypolycaena erylus teatus) when I spotted it resting on the tip of a leaf  just above my head.
Quite a number of the lycaenids that I encountered were rather tattered. A rather worn-out Peacock Royal (Tajuria cippus maxentius) was showing off its scintillating blue uppersides in flight but I wasn't keen on snapping more shots.
I haven't got the luck to photograph a pristine Club Silverline (Spindasis syama terana) for a long time. Sorry that I had to ignore you after taking a few shots.
With the presence of the black spot in space 7 of the hindwing, it is easy to identify this as the Pointed Ciliat Blue (Anthene lycaenina miya). A diligent fellow which kept foraging among the String Bush flowers. 
At last I shot a more pristine lycaenid - a Slate Flash (Rapala manea chozeba) which came down to rest after I "disrupted" from its excessive feeding on some some flowers above me.
Another better specimen - this may be a Copper Flash (Rapala pheretima sequeira) which looks rather similar to the the Slate Flash. 
I was curious to find out what this small lycaenid was when it fed on some String Bush flowers high above me. It turned out to be the Tailless Line Blue (Prosotas dubuiosa )
The Dark Glassy Tiger (Parantica agleoides agleoides) was quite abundant too. When it presented a good shooting opportunity for me, I would oblign to shoot it.
A close resemblance to the Black Veined Tiger (Danaus melanippus hegesippus), this white form of the Common Tiger (Danaus genutia genutia) presented me with a good pose for some quick shots.
Here is another shot.

I didn't find many skippers in this outing session. This is the only one - a rather active Telicota species (likely to be the T. besta bina) that I managed to take a few shots. 
This jumper spider was playing hide-and-seek with me - it was about to hide under the leaf.  I was amazed by its ability to sense my movement. 
Today is the second day of a new year on the lunar calender - wishing everyone having a prosperous, fruitful and most importantly good health in the Year of the Goat. 

Especially, I would pray that my wish for Common Rose will come true -  wishing him a speedy and a full recovery from a stroke that he has suffered more than a year ago. 加油 CM,you have made tremendous progress - a slow rehabilitation process but surely you will get better and better.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

More Butterflies at Ubin

After two lousy weekend outings to our nature reserve (see last post), I decided to go to Pulau Ubin on a fine Saturday morning (24 Jan). It wasn't a crowded day compared to my last few outings to Ubin.

For a change, Butterfly Hill wasn't in my mind. Instead, I went to the Sensory Trail first. I made the right choice this time as at least two male Barons (Euthalia aconthea gurda) were there welcoming me. Though they were rather alert and active flying around,  the short perches between flights allowed me to snap a few shots  of  one of them while it was puddling on grasses.
According to Dr Seow from ButterflyCircle, this is a female White Tipped Skipper (Erionota hiraca apicalis). It was zipping back-and-fro in a very shady part of the trail.
At a sunlit spot, I noticed a sunbathing dark brown skipper. I approached it closer and snapped a quick shot  - it was a Banded Demon (Notocrypta paralysos varians). 
Another brown skipper was resting quietly on a leaf  - this is likely to be a Caltoris comasa. 
It was a surprise encounter when this Flycatcher (?) perched right in front of me while I was strolling slowly towards the Butterfly Hill. Instinctively, I snapped a few shots. 
It seemed to notice my presence and gave me a fierce stare.
I finally arrived at the Butterfly Hill in the late morning. Apart from the usual butterflies, I didn't encounter any special species. At least this slightly deformed Plain Plushblue (Flos apidanus saturatus) kept me busy for a while.
I saw this wasp trying to balance itself on a dry climbing stem. What an interesting behaviour.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Quiet Days in The Nature Reserve

After a quick breakfast at the Prata shop on 10 Jan, I decided to walk along the peaceful and tranquil Old Thomson Road. Surprisingly, there were very few cyclists and cars passing by me on a cool and windy Saturday morning.  As usual, I headed towards the Upper Peirce Reservoir Park. 

I usually hang around at two locations to look for dragonflies. True enough, a few damselflies were perching on the leaves of  the aquatic plants or twigs along the reservoir edge. This one looks like the Orange-striped Threadtail (Prodasineura humeralis).
My first butterfly shot of the morning was this Common Four-ring (Ypthima huebneri) the smallest of the Ypthima species that we can find here.
Low butterfly activities meant that I could spend more time enjoying the serenity of the surroundings. When it was time to go, I chose to trek along a quiet forest trail towards the main road. It was a bad choice  as the trail now was full of obstacles and  not a single shot was fired.  

It was the same situation on the following Saturday at areas around Mandai Track 15. I didn't have a chance of taking any shot until a Common Bluebottle (Graphium sarpedon luctatius) was attracted by a cluster of Bidens flowers.
This Nacaduba specimen had lost its tails. There are too many look-alikes in this genus, I could not identify it with certainty. It fluttered with a rather erratic flight pattern along the biking trail for a long period of time. It finally perched on a leaf, just for a few seconds. 
This skittish mating pair looks like the Dark Brand Bush Brown (Mycalesis mineus macromalayana). I had to chase them relentlessly before I could snap a few shots.
I noticed there were many fallen trees in these two outings. As a regular hiker looking for critters, especially butterflies at various locations in the nature reserve, I have reasons to be worried about  the states and conditions of  our nature reserve.