Sunday, June 21, 2015

Strolling Along the Rail Corridor


With the relocation of the historic Tanjong Pagar train station to Woodlands in 2011, the 24 km railway tracks running from Tanjong Pagar to Woodlands has now become a popular hiking and cycling trail.

Pondering where I should start my morning walk on 1 June, I decided to take a look at the Bukit Timah Railway Station as it was gazetted as a conserved building - so this train station marked my starting point of my first visit to the rail corridor, on a fine and breezy Saturday morning.
My first encounter of a butterfly was a Tawny Coster (Acraea violae) which was found flitting around the building and feeding on some wild Asystasia flowers.
Of course, there were many wild flowers on both sides of the trail - this white flower of a climber attracted by attention.
An assassin bug was swaying in the breeze on a leaf. After a quick snap, I moved towards the black iron bridge - one of the prominent landmarks of this railway track.

On this bridge, I was rather fortunate to notice a mating pair of Small Branded Swift (Pelopidas mathias mathias) scooting off from a leaf and landed on the track. A few quick shots were what I could get as there were a few hikers were behind me.
After walking past a short and rather open trail  parallel to the Riffle Range Road and the underneath of the Anak Bukit Flyover, I was greeted with a straight path ahead of me with shade and a lot of wild greenery on both sides of the trail. 
Here, I encountered  quite a number of skippers. A rather shy Contiguous Swift (Polytremis lubricans lubricans) refused to come closer to me despite a few attempts to "reset" is resting position.
However, when it did came closer after sometime, it always opened its wings -  this was my best attempt of taking an upperside shot.













This small orange skipper looks more like a Lesser Dart (Potanthus omaha omaha).
It had a tendency to open its wings fully a few seconds later on  a new perch.
Apart from hikers, there were many cyclists on the trail - usually in a group.
Perhaps it was next to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, there were more butterflies at one particular spot near the Visitor Centre. I noticed from far, a Sunbeam flitting at the ground level. It was skittish but with patience, I was finally able to snap a few shots - a  Malayan Sunbeam (Curetis santana malayica).
I was waiting for it to open its wings fully but this was the best I could get. 
At a waterlogged spot, there were a lot of dragonflies and other bugs. A Common Parasol (Neurothemis fluctuans) displayed an elegant perch on a twig.
The way and the position they perched made it difficult for me to take a good shot of  this small mating pair of damselflies - I am not sure if these are the Shortail (Onychargia atrocyana).
Is this a kind of shield bug? 
An interesting fly (?) with colourful legs - is this rare?
I was excited when this large Great Helen (Papilio iswara iswara) or perhaps Blue Helen (Papilio prexaspes prexaspes) came down at around noon. It was fluttering with high speed on the grass but I just could not take a underside shot to determine its identity with certainty. 
I wandered around at the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve Visitor Centre (still under renovation) and bumped into a Fivebar Swordtail (Pythysa antiphates itamputi) feeding on some flowers of the Leea indica.
I was very lucky to notice a motionless Malayan Colugo (Cynocephalus variegatus) sleeping high on a big tree trunk 
I finally reached the Railway Mall and had my lunch there. It was a slow and fruitful walk  - indeed, when we slow down our pace and take a closer look at nature, we get to see more things  nature offers us. Let's hope that this railway corridor becomes a permanent green corridor for our hardworking people, young and old and families to come here to exercise, relax and enjoy the wilderness of our nature.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Butterflies @ Chiang Dao Part 4

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I usually ignore Tailless Line Blue (Prosotas dubiosa indica). But it was an interesting and a rare moment when two of them were "talking to each other"on the ground.
A pair of  Pallid Nawabs (Polyura arja arja) seemed to be dancing when feeding on the damp ground.
When one of them scooted off, I quickly snapped this shot.
The Zebra Blue  (Leptotes plinius)  was abundant this time. We could see them puddling on the ground in big groups. Look at this "Zebra rock", how many Zebra Blues were attracted to it?
A pair of Paris Peacocks  (Papilio paris paris) was "drunk" on the damp gravel ground - they just ignore our presence.
Adamson's Rose (Atrophaneura-adamsoni) seemed to be very common here - I spotted a few of them at different locations at Chiang Dao.
There were at least a couple of the Striped Swordtail Graphium aristeus hermocrates fluttering around and coming down to the ground occasionally. 
This Scarce Tawny Rajahs (Charaxes aristogiton aristogiton) od" on the ground with a group of flies. 
This shot of a solitary Club Beak (Libythea myrrha sanguinalis) was taken on my second day of shooting at Chiang Dao Square. With this, I would like to conclude this series of blog posts on the butterfly species that I had photographed in Chiang Mai.
I really enjoyed the company of  BC friends during this butterfly-photographing trip. Once again, I sincerely thank Antonio for making this trip possible for us. If you are interested in watching or photographing butterflies in Thailand, you can get advice from him via his FB page.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Butterflies @ Chiang Dao Part 3

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My first shot of a skipper on 16 March was this Himalayan Forest Darter (Ochlodes brahma). A glimpse of the golden brown forewing was quite distinctive. 
A Golden Ace (Thoressa masoni) appeared on the puddling ground in the early afternoon. 
Before we called it a day at Chiang Dao Square in the late afternoon, I spotted an co-operative Tawny Angle (Ctenoptilum vasava vasava) enjoying its dinner in a shade.
I must thank Chng who drove a few of us to Chiang Dao Square in the early morning of 18 March  to hunt for Awls or other butterflies. True enough, there were three different skippers zipping around which kept us busy for a while.

This Orange-tailed Awl (Bibasis sena) was rather pristine and it had the tendency to come back to the same place to feed.
The Common Orange Awlet (Burara harisa harisa).
This Common Awl (Hasora badra badra) was the most alert and skittish fellow. I got to be very patient, waiting for it to rest on a front wheel of Chng's car. Shortly after this shot, we went back to Nest2 for breakfast - just a 10-minute drive from Chiang Dao Square.
After breakfast, we began another day of shooting at the Chaing Dao Square.A Himalayan Forest Darter (Ochlodes brahma) which liked to puddle on the ground and occasionally opened its wings partially. 
 Its uppersides.
A Tuffed Ace (Sebastonyma pudens ) appeared in the afternoon but it didn't stay on the ground for long.
Thanks to Simon for telling me where this Common White Flat (Gerosis bhagava bhagava) was.
A Grey-Pie Flat (Coladenia laxmi) was zipping around behind a hut but I could not get a shot until it appeared on the damp sandy ground in the late afternoon.

To be continued



Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Butterflies @ Chiang Dao Part 2

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We were fortunate to see the Gray Tinsel (Catapaecilma major albicans) roaming on the ground on both days when we were shooting at the "Chiang Dao Square".
The Yellow Tinsel (Catapaecilma subochrea) was another star attraction - at one moment, all of us were lying on the ground in a circular manner to photograph this beauty.
The White Lineblue (Nacaduba angusta albida) can be singled out easily among other puddling Blues.
The marking of this Nacaduba species look strange so I decided to snap some shots. Dr Seow from BC identified it as The Large Fourline Blue (Nacaduba pactolus continentalis).
Then dry season form of the Common Cerulean (Jamides celeno aelianus) looks so different from its usual appearance - I thought it was something new for me.
Dr Seow explained that the presence of the "spike"  on the hindwing space 1b indicates that it is a Jamides species. This looks like a  J. bochus bochus (The Dark Cerulean)  though its ground colour looks rather whitish.
The Karen Silverline (Cigaritis maximus) was spotted by Les at the entrance of the carpark area.
A lucky shot of its uppersides.
You need a pair of sharp eyes to single out a rather small lycaenid, the Black Spotted Cupid (Tongeia ion ion) among many lycaenids puddling on the ground.
Another small lycaenid,  the Dark Cupid (Tongeia potanini potanini) mingled with many other lycaenids. This was the moment when its surrounding butterflies were "chased away".
There were not many White-banded Pierrots (Niphanda asialis) this time - a small species that blended with the ground so well that it could not be spotted easily.
The Common Peirrot (Castalius rosimon rosimon) seemed to be a common species at Chiang Dao. 
I hardly encountered an Arhopala  puddling on the ground in Singapore. But at Chiang Dao, I noticed two different Arhopala species feeding on the ground - this is the Silver Oakblue (Arhopala alax).
This is the Dusky Bushblue (Arhopala paraganesa).
A lonely Dusky Sapphire (Heliophorus evanta) was wandering on the ground, climbing over the obstacles.
The Common Plum Judy (Abisara echerius paionea) was spotted by Khew along a stretch of foliage behind a dry drain.          
I found this "Ring" butterfly rather unique as I could not see any ocelli on the hindwing. It was rather active, kept moving on the ground. According to Dr Seow, this could be the dry-season form of the Ypthima lisandra (The Jewel Fouring).
A Copper Flash (Rapala pheretima petosiris) was rather tame so I decided to snap a few shots.
Another Rapala  species, a Common Red Flash (Rapala iarbus iarbus) was sighted late in the afternoon.
A Chocolate Royal (Remelana jangala ravata) that looked rather different from the one that we can find in Singapore.
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To be continued.