Sunday, September 13, 2009

Anything Interesting @ Dairy Farm Nature Park ?

Together with Khew, I took part in two butterfly surveys for Nparks near the surrounding area of the newly opened Dairy Farm Nature Park a few months back. On 09-09-2009 (what a special and auspicious day for some ROM couples), a lovely sunny day, I went to take a look again at this newest park which was officially opened on 5 Sept (see here).

My first shot of the morning was this cricket. There were so many of them along the road leading to the carpark. Having a pair of thin and long antennae, and powerful hind legs for leaping, crikets were often seen leaping from leaf to leaf. Yes, I have not seen a cricket flying far in the field.
This handsome male Changeable lizard (Calotes versicolor) was protruding his head out from a row of tall grasses as if looking for his meting partner because during the mating season, the males display bright orange coloration on their head and a black throat as shown in the picture. This interesting all black with a little red eye creature looks like a species of ant or an ant mimicking a spider.Here is another shot. Pity that I am not tall enough to capture its dorsal view. After shooting this ant, I met Roy, an Nparks staff who was guiding a group of people from Starbucks (I hoped I heard it correctly) doing some voluntary community work there. Just next to the ant on a grass blade, I saw this katydid. We would miss its presence if we were not observant enough. There is a lot of interaction between species in nature. For example, this Lycaenid butterfly, Biggs's Brownie (Miletus biggsii biggsii) was usually seen having a close association with ants in the wild. John helped me to identify this digger wasp which belongs to the genus Sphex. From this dorsal view, we can see its big black bullet-shaped abdomen with brilliantly coloured legs.
It looked like searching for food on the leaf surface and at one moment it was buzzing around me and I had to keep very still and bend my head low.
A sap-feeding and a moth-like insect, this is a beautiful Ricaniid hopper (Ricanula stigmatica) which was resting (or feeding ?) on the edge of a leaf. Chocolate Pansy (Junonia hedonia ida) is a very common butterfly which can be found along forest fringes or in town parks but getting a good shot in the wild is never easy. I was lucky to have this rather skittish one perched in front of me for a few seconds - instinctively, I fired a few shots.
You will not miss a few clusters of tall African Spiral Flag (Costus lucanusianus ; Family : Costaceae) in the vicinity of the park. Its big and showy flowers often attracted carpenter bees visiting them. This Noctuid moth was shot in the deep undergrowth along Wallace Trail. The two prominent eye spots on the forewings and the wing patterns can really scare a predator even a person away. This black and white Tumbling Flower Beetle with a pointed tail-like structure belongs to the genus Mordella. Not sure why it is called a Tumbling Flower Beetle.
I guess this is a St. Andrew's Cross Spider. Spiders generally are not attractive to me but I find spiderwebs fascinating because of their delicate and complex patterns. I believe spiderwebs have given scientists idea to create new materials which are light and superstrong.

I spotted this Common Grass Yellow (Eurema sari sodalis) which was trying to lay eggs along the tarred road. I waited a while and was lucky to see her laying one spindle-shaped egg on the upperside of a young leaf. I hope to find out the name of this plant later.

It has been almost 9 months since I started this blog recording my sightings in nature. This is my 50th post this year. I am glad that I still have the stamina to update the blog quite regularly. Honestly, I felt like giving up updating at times when I had too many deadlines to meet in my busy work schedule.

There are lots of interactions between different or even same species in nature. These ants were attracted to something that I am not sure of though it looks like bird droppings. Looking forward, I hope I can persevere and sustain my effort in blogging, capturing more dynamic and fauna behavioural shots, perhaps incorporating short video clips.

Related posts :


  1. Oh wow! Another great post! I learn so much from your blog. And greatly appreciate your effort in making the posts. So please don't give up!

  2. Wonderful posting! Keep it up for Nature! : )
    The black ant-like insect should belong to the bug group akin to the assassin bug. Look closely at the needle-pointed mouth part.

  3. Thanks Ria for your encouraging words.

    Hi Joe, thanks for the insight on the black ant-like insect.

  4. they're after the minearals in the dropping i think

  5. Wow these are really great pictures!

    Where specifically is that lizard from? Is it common that they are orange like that?

  6. Hi Anonymous

    Thanks for your comments.

    The lizard, Calotes versicolor is not a native species - not sure where it was introduced from. I seldom see them in orange colour.