Sunday, September 7, 2014

Skippers @ Mandai

I decided to check out the forested areas outside the Mandai Zoo on 31 Aug. Strolling along the Mandai Lake Road, I ventured into a few forest trails before ending my outing  at Mandai Track 15.
My first instinctive shot of the morning was this skittish lycaenid which was identified by Dr Seow (from BC) as a male Nacaduba calauria malayica. Very active and demonstrating a zigzag and random flight pattern, it didn't stay still for me to take more shots.
There were quite a number of Bush Browns flitting along the reservoir edge. This is likely to be a Mycalesis perseoides perseoides.
A Banded Demon (Notocrypta paralysos varians) was zipping around from flower to flower. When it rested momentarily, I approached closer and snapped a few shots.
A rather dark skipper was resting at one shady corner along a forest trail . With its unmarked dark hindwing, it appeared to be a male Caltoris cormasa.
Not far away from the main road, some Bidens flowers attracted quite a number skippers. This Grass Demon (Udaspes folus) was one of them foraging for nectar and occasionally taking a short break on a leaf surface.
The Detached Dart  (Potanthus trachala tytleri) tends to open its wings while feeding.
I had to squeeze off a shot rapidly whenever it landed on a new flower so as to capture its underside wings.
Here is another shot.
The Silver-Forget-Me-Not (Catochrysops panormus exiguus) seems to be a permanent resident in this area.
This small orange skipper is Oriens gola pseudolus, a rather common fast flying skipper in forested areas.
This is likely to be a Parnara species, a small brown skipper which didn't open its wings as frequent as some of the Pelopidas species that I have known of.   
This is a female Telicota colon stinga according to Dr Seow. Identifying a Telicota species has always been a nightmare for me.
Here is another shot.

On my way back to the main gate, I tumbled over a puddling Melanitis leda leda. It took off from the ground and perched on a leaf. I approached it closer and took this shot.
Thanks Dr Seow for identifying many of the species featured here.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Lotus Flowers @ Pulau Ubin

A last minute decision on a fine Saturday morning (24 Aug) brought me to Pulau Ubin. The jetty was crowded with different groups of people. Over the years, I have noticed that more people visited the island on weekends to cycle, hike and enjoy the peaceful "kampong" life style.  

I found a few Lesser Darkwings (Allotinus unicolor unicolor) at the same shady spot on my way to the Butterfly Hill.
At the Butterfly Hill, there were a few Euploea butterflies visiting flowers for their food supply. This was a female Spotted Black Crow (Euploea crameri bremeri).
A solitary Striped Black Crow (Euploea eyndhovii gardineri) loved to enjoy its food high on some flowers of the String Bush. A long-distance shot was my only reward for being patiently waiting for it to come down.
A small lycaenid flitting with a rather erratic flight pattern, the Apefly (Spalgis epius epius) is an interesting butterfly as its larvae are carnivorous. 
I usually would not chase a Line Butterfly (Papilio demoleus malayanus) as it is too fast and alert for me to snap a shot. I was lucky to encounter a lethargic one, resting on a leaf long enough for me to take a few shots.
A Common Mime (Chilasa clytia clytia) was attracted by some wild Lanta flowers. Getting a shot was a bonus for me as it was energetic and kept changing its perch and flapping its wings.
Taking a slow walk through the Sensory Trail was my usual route whenever I visited Ubin. I passed by a pond where the lotus flowers were in blooms. Cyclists and hikers alike were attracted by many of these magnificent and showy aquatic flowers. I was no exception.
The Sensory Trail was rather quiet and there were very few photographic opportunities. This skittish Parak Lascar (Pantoporia paraka paraka) was my only butterfly shot along the trail. 
Perhaps searching for food, this rather large wasp was found on damp soil. I have no idea what this wasp is.
What a beautiful Ginger flower at the foot of the butterfly hill - how could I not capture it !

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Trekking Deep Into Forest Trail @ USR

It was my second outing on 16 Aug since I came back from two overseas trip - this time I went on a solo trip to Upper Seletar Reservoir Park (USR).  I am not sure if this is the Long Brand Bush Brown (Mycalesis visala pharmis) which perched right in front of me.
It was a very quiet morning in terms of butterfly or insect activity. Wandering around the forest fringe, I finally spotted a Peacock Pansy (Junonia almana javana) sun-bathing near the round-about
 There are a few eye-spots on the undersides too but the ground colour is paler.
After taking some shots of this Peacock Pansy, I decided to venture deeper into the forest. Except for the occasional bird and the cicada songs; the rattling sounds of the dry leafs on the ground by my shoes, the forest was absolutely calm and filled with fresh and pure air. I kept walking until I came to a spot where a colony of Archdukes was dog-fighting and zipping around.

Being extremely sensitive to movement, these Archdukes would take off the moment I inched forward. This was a lucky shot when a female Archduke (Lexais pardalis dirteana) landed on the ground in front of me.
She changed her puddling spot and with the accompany of  another species of Lexias, the Yellow Archduke (Lexias canescens pardalina)- being the rarest of the three Lexias species we can find in Singapore.
Without any good chances of shooting these ultra-alert Archdukes, I moved on again until I could not see any clear trail. Being alone and mentally unprepared for a much more difficult and a long trek from where I was to Bukit Panjang side of the forest, I decided to turn back.

Though I stayed at the Archduke spot for a longer period of time, I was disappointed that none of the Yellow Archduke offered me a shooting opportunity. At last,  a Malayan Lascar (Lasippa tiga siaka) came by and posed for me. 
I have seen this large butterfly Saturn (Zeuxidia amethystus amethystus) a few times in the deep forest. At least this time, I managed to get a long distance shot of a female. But what a shy butterfly she was - when I moved one step closer, she scooted off out of my sight.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

49th National Day @ Mandai Track 15

A few of us, Khew, Simon, CJ and Loke  went on a butterfly-photography trip to Mandai Track 15 on our 49th National Day.

We saw two lycaenids fluttering close to the ground. They were very skittish and I was lucky to have an instinctive shot - it turned out to be the Silver Forget-Me-Not (Catochrysops panormus exiguus).
A rather tattered Arahopala was found along a tarred road before we cut through a forested trail joining Track 15. According to Dr Seow from the ButterflyCircle, it was likely a Arhopala antimuta antimuta.
A Plain Plushblue (Flos apidanus saturatus) was found along the forested trail. A quick shot was what I could get before it scooted off and disappeared from our sight.
Arhopala major major seemed to be a common species along this forested trail.
Finally we came to an open space. A Common Sailor (Neptis hylas papaja) perched on a blade of Lalang grass for quite a while that allowed  us to take some shots. .
When a Peacock Pansy (Junonia almana javana) was sunbathing on a blade of grass at my kneel level, I quickly snapped a shot. 
The Grey Pansy (Junonia atlites atliets) seems to have set up their permanent home nearby. There were a few of them actively roaming around us. Thanks Simon for alerting me of this surprisingly cooperative Grey Pansy.
In the late morning, a female Common Mormon (Papilio demolion demolion) kept us busy for awhile. Fluttering her wings and changing her feeding position frequently, she tested our patience and gave us a hard time for getting a decent shot.      
A couple of orange skippers visited the Bidens flowers but they remained active and alert even during feeding times.
There were at least two dark brown skippers loitering around the area. Dr Seow believed that they were both female  Baoris oceia .

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Butterflies @ Upper Peirce Reservoir Park

It has been quite sometime since my last visit to the Upper Peirce Reservoir Park (UPR).  On a breezy and cool Saturday morning (29 June), I found strolling along this quiet and long Old Upper Thomson Road that snaking through the lush greenery on both sides of the road, very rewarding.  

My first sighting of a butterfly was a beautiful lycaenid, Semanga superba deliciosa. It tested my patience and perseverance before offering me a relatively good perch for some quick shots.
Fluttering around a shrub, this Commander (Moduza procris milonia) kept coming back to the same plant  She appeared to be looking for the correct host plant for ovipositing her eggs.
Some small flowers of  a Leea indica shrub attracted this Yellow Vein Lancer (Pyroneura latoia latoia). It changed  its  perch a few times but is quite cooperative for me to snap a few shots.  
I spotted Horsefield's Baron (Tanaecia iapis pusea) quite often in my previous outings but I always had no luck of getting a good shot. No exception again, this was my best shot of a male from a distance near the reservoir edge. 
In Singapore, the Common Four Ring (Ypthima huebneri) is the smallest species of the genus Ypthima. There were many "Ring" butterflies along a trail leading to reservoir edge - this is just one of them I managed to get a shot.    
Common Grass Yellow (Eurema hecabe contubernalis) was abundant, fluttering around and feeding voraciously on a flowering Leea indica tree before the car park.
The moment I set in a shelter, I was very reluctant to move again. I really enjoyed the picturesque scene at UPR - the reflection of the greenery in the crystal clear water of the reservoir and the serenity of the park. UPR is a perfect place for a person to relax the mind and refresh the body - is a paradise on earth. .  

As the clock ticked away I had to make my way out. I noticed there were quite a number of reddish-pink flowers under a big tree  - no idea what this is.
Walking on a different side of the road while I was on my way out, I noticed a lycaenid butterfly flitting around a tree which bore many small flower buds.  It turned out to be a rather shy Chocolate Royal (Remelana jangala travana) which  kept staying away from me with high perches. 
A Narrow Spark (Sinthusa nasaka amba) also made its appearance on the same tree for a short period of time. But I had no luck of getting a good shot of it.
A rather small Horaga species surprised me. It was flitting down from the canopy and landed on some flower buds. She appeared laying eggs on a flower bud but I could not find any egg with my naked eyes.
I must go back to hunt for this Horaga butterfly again - as it appeared "strange" to me.

This blog will not be updated until early August as I will be going for two overseas trips during the next two-three weeks.