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.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Lornie Trail On A Sunday Afternoon

An outing to the Lornie Trail on the first Sunday afternoon in the year 2015 was just like many other outings that I had before - strolling leisurely on a familiar forest footpath, but now covered with gravels and therefore less muddy. Thanks for the improvement!

This male Cruiser (Vindula dejone erotella) might have pitied me for not taking any shot for a long period of time. It flew past me and landed on the ground. How could I be choosy if this was my first clear chance of snapping a shot.
As usual, I turned back when I caught sight of that long stretch of open footpath lying between the reservoir edge and the golf course. My return leg on the same forest path was more rewarding. It was this very restless Saturn (Zeuxidia amethy stus amethystus) that tested my patience and stopped me from moving forward - and this gave me opportunities to encounter a few other butterflies at the same location.
After chasing and taking two shots of the Saturn in the forest undergrowth, I bumped into this pristine Malay Viscount (Tanaecia pelea pelea). It was more accommodating towards my presence and presented its undersides to me.
There were a few skittish Archdukes (Lexias pardalis dirteana) flying past me and feeding on the ground too. Though they were alert and took off from the ground very frequently, they also came back to the same vicinity often.  
This was the only Arhopala species I encountered high on a leaf. It appeared to be the Common Disc Oakblue (A. epimuta epiala).
The moth caterpillar was found hanging on a thin silk and wriggling upwards - an amazing behaviour that I had encountered before. Taking shots of this small fellow in the breeze and in constant movement was a challenge for me.
Albeit the initial disappointment, at the end of the day it was still a pleasant outing for me. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Wandering in the Wild Wild West

I almost forgot this solo outing to the western part of Singapore happened late last year in November.

I remembered that for a long period of time I was just wandering around, moving further away from the main road, without taking any shots. At last, at a shady spot along a forest path, a Pugnacious Lancer (Pemara pugnans) appeared and rested on a leaf quite tamely.
I went around it to take some shoots from a different angle. The Pugnacious Lancer is a not-so-common forest species. It can be identified by its undersides having a  good spread of dense pale yellowish hyaline spots.  
Not far away from the skipper, a Dark Tit (Hypolycaena thecloides thecloides) presented a high perch to tempt me. As there was nothing worthy of shooting, I waited patiently for it to come down to my eye level. This shot was my reward for my patience.
I decided to turn around and head back to the main road. Since its opening in year 2014, the Jurong Eco -Garden has been my butterfly-hunting ground if I go for an outing in the western parts of Singapore.  

To my surprise, there where quite a number of a tiny lycaenid, the Malayans (Megisba malaya sikkima) fluttering along a forest fringe.
 This Jamides specimen was very small. It fluttered among the Malayans.
I always tried to look for an endangered species apparently endemic to a small plot of forested ground along Nanyang Avenue - but I had no luck. Hope that I will be able to find the Harlequin (Taxila haquinus haquinus) in my next visit.