Saturday, September 24, 2016

A Rare Butterfly @ Yuan Long 元朗,朗屏丫髻山, Hong Kong

In late August, some pictures of a rather rare butterfly in Hong Kong, the Hypolimnas misippus (Danaid Eggfly) were posted on social media. On the following few weekends, many butterfly enthusiasts flocked around the peak of the 丫髻 mountain at Yuan Long where the butterfly was photographed  

I was no exception. On 4 Sept, together with my usual butterfly outing friends, we went up to the peak of the mountain - one of the toughest butterfly outings I have had.

Interestingly, there are quite a few beautiful rock paintings along the way to the peak.
When we reached the peak, there were already a big group of butterflies waiting patiently for two male Danaid Eggflies to settle down. With some luck, I managed to take a few quick shots of  this species that I have not photographed before.
When the two males met, they had the tendency to  chase after and "fight with" each other. But once they were separated, they usually looked for a perch.
There were a couple of Common Seargent (Athyma perius) wandering around the peak too. However, most of the photographers didn't seem to be interested in them.
Occasionally, they may stay very still
Look at this Common Sergeant carefully - it was balancing itself on a thin twig on the ground.
I spotted this Pea Blue (Lampides boeticus) feeding on the wild flowers. Before I could reposition myself, it scooted off.
As there wasn't any other species to shoot, we took a slow walk down the mountain and headed towards Yuan Long town centre for lunch.  

Sunday, September 18, 2016

A Quiet Day @ Fung Yuen and Sha Lung Tong

On a cloudy Saturday morning on 27 Aug, I decided to check out Fung Yuen at Tai Po with a low expectation due to the weather condition.

Indeed, it was a very quiet morning in terms of  the number of butterfly photographers and butterfly activities. Outside Fung Yuan where some Bidens flowers were blooming, two Male Striped Blue Crow (Euploea mulciber) were busy feeding on the flowers.
The Tirumala septentrionis (Dark Blue Tiger) came to join the Crow.
A look-alike Tirumala limniace (The Blue Tiger) seems to be more common in Hong Kong?

Getting a good shot of this Hummingbird moth (Macroglossum passalus) in flight while feeding was a huge challenge for me - the flapping of its wings was just too fast for the camera to freeze it without comprising the background brightness.
I decided walking towards Sha Lung Tong Village. After climbing a few hundred of steep steps and about another 30 minutes of walking on a road, I saw some houses from far - I guess this must be the village and it seemed that there were not many people living  in the village.  
When there was nothingelse to shoot, a common and dull butterfly like the Zieeria maha cuaght my attention.

Along the roadside, I spotted a Long-banded Silverline (Spindasis lohita) feeding on the flowers. 
It moved on the flower quite frequently - for a change, I snapped its "backside".
 I bumped into another one near the village - it looks like a female S. lohita.
Along the way back to Fung Yuen, a solidtary Sithusa chandrana greeted me from a high perch.

I could see some banners objecting the development of the Sha Lung Tong village.
Well, this may be my first and possibly my last time (hope not !) shooting butterflies around this village.



Sunday, August 28, 2016

Many Butterflies at 企嶺下 (Kei Ling Ha) @ Sai Kung, Hong Kong

This blog has not been updated for some weeks as I was away for summer holidays in Singapore and Germany from mid July to early August.

企嶺下 (Kei Ling Ha) is located on the Sai Kung Pennisular in the eastern New Territories of Hong Kong. Based on the number of butterfly photos taken at Kei Ling Ha and posted on various social media platforms in June and early July,  it seemed that a stretch of mangrove habitat there was the butterfly hotspot.  

So, on 9 July I joined my usual group of butterfly enthusiasts to explore this rather remote site. After a long bus and train journey and a 15-minute of  walking, we were greeted with a big group of photographes.
Not so keen waiting there, I decided to explore other areas first. As I walked towards the end of the path, I encountered some nymphalids puddling on the ground. This Gaudy Baron (Euthalia lubentina) was hovering around before it settled down for me to snap some quick shots. 
The female seemed to be less common - this was another male specimen making a short perch on the foilage.
 This particular Common Sailer (Neptis hylas) preferred concrete cement surface.
The Common Jester (Symbrenthia lilea) was rather common in Hong Kong. Now I tended to ignore it  unless I was presented with a pristine specimen on a nice perch like this.
I almost missed  this Athyma selenophora when it quietly resting on a high perch,overlooking at me.
Another look-alike, I believe this was a Athyma nefte.
A solitary Peacock Royal (Tajuria cippus) was enjoying its morning breakfast when I spotted it high on the flowers.
Of course, I had fun shooting with the big group of people at the "hotspot"  where there was a large colony of  Painted Jezebel (Delias hyparete) and Red-based Jezebel (D. pasothoe). 
Surprisingly most of the photographers were not interested in shooting  this female Delias pasithoe when she suddently opened her wings on the sandy ground. For me this was a rare opportunity to snap the uppersides !
The star butterflies the photographers were eyeing for were relatively rare skippers. There was a small colony of  quite of  Burara gomata - rather tame and all resting beneath the leaf.
The most skittish and alert guy - this Burara oedipodae disappeared for a long period of time before it appeared again in the late afernoon.
I spotted two Choaspes benjaminii -  again both hiding under the leaf.
This Rapala manea was found perching on a shady spot. 
There were quite a number of butterfly species along a long stretch of walking path parallel to the shore line. This  Euthalia aconthea perched in front of me.
The Blue Tiger (Tirumala limniace) seemed abundance too. Mating pairs always attracted our attention especially when a third party was trying to intrude the privacy of the mating pair.

Not a very big butterfly, the Sinthusa chandrana didn't attract much attention when it was taking its own time enjoying the nectar on the Bidens flowers.
Though a very dull moth,  I just could not resist taking a shot when it stayed at the same perch for a long time.
We spent a long time at Kei Ling Ha shooting, hunting and chatting with fellow photographers. This was one of my most satisfying and enjoyable butterfly-shooting trips I have experienced in HK. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

A Solo Trip to Fung Yuen Butterfly Reserve @ Tai Po

On 18 June, I dropped by at  Fung Yuen Butterfly Reserve again. This time there were not many butterfly photographers around.

The abundacne ofTree Flitter ( Hyarotis adrastus) provided me with many shooting opportunities.  

I saw this bevaiour before - this guy went in and out of  a Morning Glory flower a few times.
We can see some drawings on the white spots of this Notocrypta curvifascia - how did this happern ?
The Melanitis phedima (Dark Evening Brown) were abundent. They were hooked on to the moisture on the tree trunk or perhaps tree sap for a long period of time.   
A rather skittish Tanaecia niepelti was looking for food on the ground. It moved around so frequently that I had to stalk it for sometime before snapping some quick shots.
It perched on a leaf for a while
There is a steep flight of stairs at one side of Fung Yuen - these steps leading us to the Cloudy Hill and Sha Lo Tung Village. There wasn't good butterfly activity wereat at higher altitude.

On my way going down,  I noticed an Athyma ranga keeping an eye on me from a high perch.  
There were a lot more butterflies at the foothill instead. One of my favourite butterflies, the Hestina assimilis seemed to be quite common - but I have not had the luck to photograph a pristine specimen yet.
Just a few meters ahead of the Hestina, the  Polyura athamas was enjoying something smelly for us - some animal faeces.
I saw it scooting off and landing on the ground. Approaching it slowly, I noticed that if flapped its wings a few times before showing off its uppersides - a rather rare behaviour.
This is the Lethe europa, a species that we can find in Singpore.
Many small to medium-sized butteflies love the Biden flowers. Feeding on flowers is the best moment to take a shot of a Common Grass Yellow (Eurema hecabe).
Not sure what this small brown skipper is. But one thing is sure - it likes the Bidens flower too.
I might have taken this bug before in Singapore. But I have no idea what it is now.
It gave me a different pose before it went underneath the fern.
A nymph of a bug? An interesting and nice critter.  
Finally, my last shot of the day at a shady place before exiting the Fung Yuen's back gate was this purple water droplet appearing at the tip of a stem.