Sunday, October 4, 2015

Critters at USR and Mandai Areas

The number of  critters and butterflies that I encountered during my weekly outings to nature reserve, in particular at  Upper Seletar Reservoir (USR) Park and Mandai areas have been extremely low since mid August. 

During the past few months, the Plain Lacewing (Cethosia penthesilea methypsea) was sighted more frequently then the Malay Lacewing (C. hypsea) at USR.  On 15 August, a couple of Plain Lacewings were frolicking in the morning sun and feeding on the Leea indica flowers.
While feeding or perching, it had the tendency to flap ts wings to display its uppersides.
About a month later on 12 September at USR, I once again, bumped into a Plain Lacewing feeding and resting on a leaf.
On a cool Saturday morning at a park connector along Mandai road, an orange skipper stood out rather prominently amongst the green vegetation. It was a male Besta Palm Dart (Telicota besta bina) with a nice perch for me to take some shots.
Occasionally, when the morning sunshine pierced through the clouds, it began to spread out its wings.
 The uppersides of the hindwings can be useful for  us to identify which Telicota species it should be.
Feeding furiously on some small white flowers of the Leea indica shrub at USR, this Yellow Vein Lancer (Pyroneura latonia latonia) allowed me to snap a few quick shots.
When there was nothing to photograph, common butterflies such as this Common Five-ring (Ypthima baldus newboldi) became my model when it was cooperative enough. 
It wasn't an in-flight shot - the Peacock Pansy (Junonia almana javana) was in fact feeding on a Biden flower in the hot sun at Mandai.
There were a few critters crossed my path at USR. This looks like a kind of beetle to me.
Is this a plant hopper? I have not seen one which looked like this before.
A large moth larva crawling on a twig at USR.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

From Mandai to Bukit Panjang

A long hike from Mandai to Bukit Panjang on 1 Aug after a morning shower was part of my preparation for a mountain-climbing trip to Shangdong Province in late August. Very few butterflies were spotted while I was strolling towards BKE. A row of Snakeweed (Stachytarpheta indica) caught my attention the moment I walked past the expressway beneath it. The purple bloom attracted a few butterflies fluttering around them.

An alert and active brown skipper identified by Dr Seow as the Caltoris philippina phillippina never stayed still on the flowers. 
Once it perched on a leaf, I quickly snapped  a few shots before it scooted off again.

There was another brown skipper flitting around at the same time. I could only focus on the Lancer and lost track of where it had gone. Here is the only shot I had - a female Borbo cinnara.
Strolling along the forest edge, I noticed this male Horsfield's Baron (Tanaecia iapis puseda) making different perches. 
On a patch of shady and moist ground, a Malay Viscount (Tanaecia pelea pelea) appeared to look for a sweet spot for puddling.
This was another specimen which preferred to puddle on a dry leaf.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Two Rare Butterflies Near Jurong Eco Green

The Jurong Eco Green (JEG) garden and a small patch of forested area nearby were my favourite wild places for my weekend outing-cum-photographing session. So I was there alone on a fine Saturday morning (25 July).

The forested area is next to the NTU's Community Herbs garden which is now overgrown with lots of wild grasses and thick shrubs and becomes quite inaccessible. As I tried to locate a trail that I used to walk on, I  bumped into a few skippers zipping around me.

This rather skittish but rare skipper, the Spotted Flitter (Zographetus doxus) gave me a hard time tracking it before I could snap a record shot. 
Potanthus species which does not look like the P. omaha also came to entice me.
I think this is the Lesser Dart (P. omaha omaha).
A cluster of flowers caught my attention next to the herbs garden.

I felt a little in-secured looking for butterflies in this shady  and mosquitoes-infested forested area so I decided to walked towards the JEG garden.

At the edge of the forested area, I spotted a small colony of Harlequins (Taxila haquinus haquinus) -my first time spotting this vulnerable species at this location.
A male Harlequin was perching quite tamely on the edge of a leaf - he gave me ample time to compose a few shots.
I spent some time looking for other butterflies at the vicinity of the Harlequin but in vain.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Highest Point on Pulau Ubin

On a fine Saturday morning on 18 July, I arrived at the hawker centre at Changi Village early for a cup of coffee and  before heading towards Pulau Ubin.  

A very hairy moth larva was feeding on a leaf of a Crotoloria pea at the foot of the Butterfly Hill.
I decided to wander along the seaside at a camp site this time - the breeze was really refreshing. Walking up a gentle slope, I was attracted by a yellow leaf beetle foraging on a leaf.
This was my first encounter of  a lacewing fly on Pulau Ubin. A soft-bodied insect with four membranous wings, Lacewing fly is rather rare to me as I hardly encountered one in the field.
After spending some time at the Butterfly Hill on a rather quiet morning, I made my way towards the western side of the island. 

Standing at 74m above the sea level, the Bukit Puaka is the highest point on Pulau Ubin. With a skipper in mind, I walked up the hill. At the hilltop, a colony of Malayan Plum Judy (Abisara saturata kausamboides) kept me busy for a while.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Butterflies of Taiwan Part 3

Continue from here

We went to the zoo and its surrounding areas on 12 June. After taking a quick breakfast at a fast food stall inside the zoo, we headed to a small butterfly enclosure.

There were quite a number of  異色尖粉蝶 Chocolate Albatross (Appias lyncida eleonora)  in the enclosure. In Singapore, we rarely see a female so I decided to take a few shots of a rather tame female, resting at one corner. 
Hoping to freeze the flapping wings, I had to take a few shots of this 黑鳳蝶(Papolio protenor protenor) at a high speed while it was feeding furiously on some flowers.
The zoo is quite large and there are pockets of wild places that we could find butterflies flitting around. At first, I thought this skittish and large butterfly was a Bush Brown but after checking some reference books this guy should be the 褐翅蔭眼蝶 (Neope muirheadi nagasawae) which perched on a fallen tree trunk, at a distance away. 
At the same location, a 凹翅紫灰蝶 (Mahathala ameria haianani) also rested on a leaf  far away from me. 
 A 細帶環蛺蝶(Neptis nata lutatia) was flitting outside the enclosure. It really enticed me to take some shots.
We left Puli town early on 14 June and headed towards the direction of  清境農場. While driving up the hill, we stopped at a few locations. At last, we decided to wander on a trail leading to a ravine. 

There were a few butterflies feeding on nectar in the morning sun. But most of them were rather alert and skittish, including this, possibly a 緣點白粉蝶(Pieris canidia).
I believe this is a Potanthus species feeding on a Bidens flower.
Another Potanthus speices ?
Is this a 台灣赭弄蝶  (Ochlodes niitakanus)?
 A very alert and skittish 北黃蝶 (Eurema mandarina) kept us busy.
This was the catch of the day - the 寬帶青鳳蝶(Graphium cloanthus kuge) flying past me but suddenly decided to feed on a cluster of white flowers. It never stayed still and disappeared after a few seconds. 
There were a few 小紫斑蝶 (Euploea tulliolus koxinga) feeding on some wild flowers under the hot sun -  a different subspecies of the Dwarf Crow that we can find in Pulau Ubin. 
In the early afternoon, we went back to the farm area where we found the 閃電- but luck was not on our side this time. We hung around there for a while before we headed towards Taoyuan to meet up with 陳全 for a late lunch.

It was a very exciting and fruitful butterfly-watching and photography trip to Taipei. Many thanks to our Taiwanese butterfly enthusiasts for their generous and warm hospitality. Special thanks to 晟智 who spent time driving us around to look for and photograph the many exotic and rare butterflies of Taiwan - we certainly hope to meet again in the near future.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Short Outing to Lornie Trail

I was grounded at home on a stormy Saturday morning on 4 July. So I decided to make up for the loss of a weekly outing on the next day - a short Sunday morning outing though.

I entered the forest reserve from Lornie Road. Walking slowly along the forest trail, my first shot of the morning was a rather unattractive shield bug. 
 A rather small leaf beetle was appeared to be scavenging on a leaf - rather challenging for me to snap a good shot in the morning breeze.
Walking towards the reservoir edge to look for one of the smallest dragonflies, rather unexpectedly, I bumped into a pristine Grey Pansy (Junonia atlites atlites) flitting around and sun-bathing on some ferns. 
It has been years since I last spotted a Grey Pansy at MacRitchie area. So, I decided to spend sometime chasing and stalking it to get more shots. 
A Malay Viscount (Tanecia pelea pelea) flew past me and landed on a leaf - the duration of the perch was just enough for me to snap a quick shot. 
I moved towards the other exit to Lornie Road. A rather common forest denizen, this female Archdule (Lexias pardalis dirteana) was looking for her food on the ground.
From far, I saw a tall Caucasian with a camera trying to track a butterfly flitting around in the undergrowth. I approached closer and said hello - he is rather knowledgeable about butterflies. Nice meeting you James and welcome to Singapore - I guessed what we saw was a Malayan Lascar (Lasippa tiga siaka) perching high on a tree.