Saturday, March 11, 2017

Butterflies of Lamma Island (南丫島), Hong Kong

The Y-shaped Lamma island, the third largest island of Hong Kong is siutatued in the southwest of Hong Kong island.  It is just a 30-mimute ferry ride from Aberdeen harbour. My first visit to the island was in March last year (2016). Since then  I have visited the island quite a number of times, usually accompanying my friends to hike there and at the same time looking for butterflies.

The Abisara echerius (Plum-Judy) is rather common. I usually saw them flitting from leaf to leaf and occasionally puddling on the ground.

Faunis eumeus is new to me. So I was determined to stalk this guy when I spotted it last March along the boardwalk at  the Sok Kwu Wan (索罟灣) jetty.
After awhile, I relised that this is a rather common butterfly. I could see quite a number of them feeding on the ground, usually in the shade. However, this mating pair was exceptional, they preferred to have their privacy high on the tree.
While taking a slow hike from the ferry terminal from Sok Kwu Wan to Yung Shue Wan,  I encountered many common butterflies feeding on the Bidens flowers on a grass patch. This is a Common Blue Bottle (Graphium sarpedon) showing off its magnificent upper sides. 
The Ixias pyrene was never an easy target for photography - it was alert, highly sensitive to our movement and seldom remained on the flowers for long.
Another common butterfly, a female Papilio polytes (Common Mormon).
A Common Grass Yellow (Eurema hecabe) was flitting around and visiting flowers along the road side.
A rather small and inconspicuous butterfly, this Lesser Grass Blue (Zizina otis) loved the Bidens flowers too.
I usually walked up to the peak of a mountain on the left side of the Sok Kwu Wan. I remember this Iroata timoleon was shot in July the moment I reached the peak.
There were a lot more butterfly species in the Summar in Lamma Island. A relatively rare Mahathala America was taken at a cemetery area.
A handsome male Argyreus hyperbius was found at the hilltop sunbathing.
His undersides are less colourful but the patterns of the markings are nice and pleasing to the eyes.
This is a male Colour Sergeant (Athyma nefte) at the foothill.
 A female was nearby too.
The Chilades lajus was quite abundant in summer. 
 At the same location as the C. lajus,  a lethargic dark and small skipper presented a nice perch on a blade of grass in front of me - this is a Astictopterus jama.
Not a very cooperative guy, the Athyma selenophora teased me a few times with a few perches on the foliage - but each time it didn't give me sufficient time to get a better shot.
This Ypthima lisandra rested on a wooden step - the steps were rather useful for hikers especially on wet  days.
Not sure what this moth is - but it is pristine enough for me to take a shot for any expert out there to identify it.
I remember I saw a large colony of  Obeidia tigrata (Orange Magpie Moth) in March and April but very few of them in other months.

There are some other areas in Lamma Island, especially the southern and the northern parts I have not explored. Hopefully there are other species of butterflies waiting for me to find out this year.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Butterflies of Lantau Island, Hong Kong Part 2

Another hunting ground is the San Tau village. From Tung Chung bus terminal , I took Bus 34 to Yat Tung Estate and walked leisurely on a foot path towards a coastal village.

The Neopithecops zalmora was taken last September during my first visit to this coastal village - there was a small colony there. I could still see them flying around during my subsequent visits in November and December. 
A female was trying to lay eggs on its host plant

Green Dragontail (Lamprotera curias walker) is the only Dragontail butterfly we can find in Hong Kong - it is quite common. It was puddling on the footpath before settling down on a leaf for sunbathing.  
This Black Prince (Rohana parisatis) was extremely skittish and sensitive to movement. Whenever I approach closer it would take off - a quick shot was taken when it perched high on a tree. 
This is the dry-season form of the Chilades lajus - it was quite abundant in December.
An upper side shot of a male when it was exposed to the sunshine in a cool weather.
It was a pity that I scared this large fellow away when it was puddling on the ground behind a house. It lnaded on the flowers instead. A long-distance record shot of a female  (Euthalia phemius seitzi) was what I could do.
There were some wild Bidens flowers near a small temple. Here we could see some common butterflies busy feeding on the flowers on a sunny day.

This form catilla of the Catopsilia pomona pomona is rather rare in Singapore. However, I have encountered a number of times in Hong Kong.
A solitary Blue Spotted Crow (Euploea midamus) was feeding voraciously from flower to flower in a cool and breezy day.
Delias parsithoe was everywhere but it was not that easy to compose a good shot.
 At times she opened its wings to enjoy the heat from the sunshine
A large praying mantis was crawling on the handrail when we were heading out to the bus terminal at the Yat Tung Estate.
My friends and I also went to Tai O fishing village area in last November but the butterfly activities were rather low. A lycaenid flew past us and landed on a leaf - it looks like a Jamindes alecto.
This is a Dark Cerulean (Jamides bochus)

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Butterflies of Lantau Island, Hong Kong Part 1

Lantau Island (大嶼山) is the largest offshore island of Hong Kong. Covered with hilly and mountainous tarrain, the island has an area of about 150 km square.
There are a few butterfly-hunting grounds in Lantau Island. An open grassland behind the North Lantau Hospital seems to be a hotspot in the month of November and December. My friends brought me there in early November and subsequently  I visited the place again in early December.

It was a beautiful scene when many Common Tiger (Danaus genutia genutia) were fluttering graciously and feeding on the wild flowers. But they were generally alert and sensitive to human movment.
There were quite a number of lycadnids flitting around in this open grassland too. The Catochrysops strabo strabo seemed to be another common butterfly - we could easily find them feeding on different wild flowers.
I spotted only one Pea Blue (Lampides boeticus) with a very coperative perch in  the late afternoon during my first visit.
When there were not many butterflies to shoot, small and "boring" Grass Blues attracted my attention. A Zizula hylax was having a quiet and peaceful moment on a blade of grass.
There are a few look-alikes Grass Blues - this is  Zizeeria maha.
Another Zizeeria maha presented a nice perch for me to shoot.
The Brown Awl  (Badmia exclamationis) was a surprise to me. It came down to feed on the Bidens flowers for  split seconds before disappeared completely. 
This Tagiades menaka menka was feeding on the Bidens flowers when I accidentaly bumped into it near the edge of this open grass land.
I rarely encountered the Blue Pansy (Junonia orithya) in Hong Kong. So when this male specimen landed in front of me, I didn't hesistate to snap a quick shot - as usual, it was skittish and took off as soon as I snap a shot. 
When this female Argyreus hyperbius hyperbius appeared in the late afternoon, some of us were chasing after her. I was particularly interested in getting a good shot of the female as I didn't get to see a female often.  
This male Hypolimnas bolina opened its winds fully to absorb heat from the sun on a breezy and cold winter morning during my second visit in early December.

Perhaps due to the a lower temperature (about 20 C), this Cabbage White (Pieris rapae  ) was feeding with wings wide open too.
Perhaps it was "colourless" and also skittish , black-and-white butterflies generally don't get the attention of many photograpers. However, I was the only person chasing after this guy - a Common Sailer (Neptis hylas).