Sunday, March 1, 2009

Attractive Plants @ Punggol

This post records my sightings during two short outings in the late morning on 14 Feb and 28 Feb.

It was very hot and dry in the whole of January and early February this year. On both outings, I could not find any caterpillar nor the adult of No Brand Grass Yellow (Eurema brigitta senna) . Most of the host plants Cassia mimosoides had dried up like this.
It was a big relief for nature lovers like us that the dry spell ended this week with heavy down pours on most afternoons in the last few days.

Once again, I checked out the area yesterday late morning - though still no sign of the Yellow, at least I could see a few smaller plants growing quite well. This Yellow species is highly vulnerable now.

I guess the rains in the past few afternoons did "induce" the plants to flower. From far, the striking yellow inflorescence and the flower buds (?) of this peltophorum pterocarpum (Yellow Flame ) caught my attention immediately. Almost the whole tree was covered with flowers and buds, an absolutely magnificent scene we will not see often.

Here is a close-up view of the yellow blooming flowers and buds. No surprise to me, the flowers attracted many insects.

One hardworking butterfly, Delias hyparete metarete (Painted Jezebel) was seen on the tree top, enjoying a good meal of nectar.

We would never miss the big and buzzing Carpenter Bee in the wild. At least three individuals were flying around the tree and diligently picking up nectar.

A few other species of bees and wasps were there too, busy foraging for nectar among the flowers. Ths one looks like a female Scoliid wasp.

Shooting an in-flight insect is never easy, so this is one of my best attempts out of at least a dozen of blur shots. This skipper Potanthus omaha omaha suddenly zipped past me from nowhere and landed on the flowers in front of me There are a few vines growing very well on this wasteland despite the harsh weather in the past few weeks. One of them is this Cucumis maderaspatanus.It is amazing that such a small flower of this vine from the Cucumber family (Cucurbitaceae) produces attractive fruit as big as a cherry tomato.

Another vine from the Cucurbitaceae family is this Coccinia grandis (Ivy gourd) which produces edible fruits.

I am not sure if I want to eat the fruit, shaped line a miniature melon in the wild but obviously some other animals like it very much. Just like other Hoverfly, this species was found hovering slowly at the ground level, perching on twigs or feeding on flowers. I was lucky that the wings stayed wide open when I took the shot.
I guess this dragonfly is Potamarcha congener (?). Wow, quite a number of them near the entrance to the trail. On the same twig, there was another dragonfly. It is less bluish on the body. I wonder if this is a female or the juvenile or an entirely different species. Please let me know the answer. [Note : Yong San confirmed that this is a female. Thanks]Saw this wasp at the sandy area, not sure what it was trying to do. Accordng to John, this is a digger wasp, possibly a Bembix species.Very few butterfly species were spotted on both days. Nevertheless, I was considered lucky enough to shoot a female Euchrysops cnejus cnejus (Gram Blue) laying an egg on a dry seed pod of its host plant Macroptilium lathyroides (read related post) When I took a closer look at the plant, I found another late instar cat being attended to by some Karanga ants. Lastly, a Robberfly was resting on a grass blade under the sun in a windy afternoon.

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