Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Butterfly Garden Along Pang Sua Park Connector

Park connectors are green corridors joining different parks and nature reserve areas via jogging cum cycling tracks lined with vegetation. Ai Ling from Butterfly Lodge @ Oh's Farms and I attended the official launch of the Western Adventure Park Connector Network on 25 Oct 2009 at Chua Chu Kang.After the launch, at least a thousand residents led by Minister of Manpower Mr Gan Kim Yong took part in a 1.8 km brisk walking along a scenic stretch of Pang Sau Park connector (See here). Somewhere in the middle of the Pang Sau park connector, Mr Gan revealed a large display board containing information on some warm-up exercises before brisk-walking.

One unique attraction of this park connector is the butterfly garden which is about 50 metres away from this signboard. Here is a shot on some plants there to attract butterflies.
We arrived at the butterfly garden around 8 am. With the involvement of NParks' staff, background work of some members of the ButerflyCircle and Butterfly Lodge, this butterfly garden was successfully completed . This photo shows Josephine explaining to Mr Gan and other MPs.
Plain Tiger (Danaus chrysippus chrysippus) is a beautiful slow-flying butterfly belonging to the Danainae family. Quite a number of its larval host plants , Blood Flower (Asclepias curassavica) and Crown Flower (Calotropis gigantea) were specially planted there, so we were not surprised to see many Plain Tigers feeding and fluttering around, welcoming the guest-of-honour and the participants. This female was feeding on the purple Duranta flowers.

I spotted quite a number of Plain Tiger's larvae feeding voraciously on the stems and leaves of the Crown Flower as shown above.

The smooth and greenish Plain Tiger 's pupa was found hanging on another plant. In about a week's time, if the pupa is not parasited, an adult should eclose. Hope you are lucky enough to wittiness the eclosion process which usually takes place in the morning.

Here is a shot on the uppersides of a Plain Tiger.

Common Grass Yellow (Eurema hecabe contubernalis) is a very common butterfly in our town parks. This female was so shy to let me take a shot while she was ovipositing an egg on a young leaf of Peacock Flower.
The larva of Common Grass Yellow was so well camouflaged with the host plant that if you were not observant enough you would not notice it munching the leaves.
Skippers belong to a very diverse family of butterfly called Hesperiidae which consists of many look-alike species. Many of them are inconspicuous and generally not very attractive. I managed to spot and shoot 3 species. This is an upperside shot of a Chestnut Bob (Iambrix salsala salsala), a small but very common species usually found in grasslands or forest fringes.
This brown and fast-flying skipper looks like a Small Branded Swift (Pelopidas mathias mathias ) This is another common skipper Palm Bob (Suastus gremius gremius ) which appeared for a short while only. Indeed, some skippers just came and went off quickly without our notice if we did not pay attention to them.Just like the Common Grass Yellow, Striped Albetross (Appias libythea olferna) belongs to the family Pieridae. This is another common species as its larval host plant is a common roadside weed, Purple Cleome (Clome rutidosperma). Though I didn't see the adult of Autumn Leaf (Doleschallia bisaltide), but there were a few young caterpillars feeding on its host plant Yellow-veined Erathemum (Pseuderanthemum reticulatum). Of course, there were other butterfly species visiting the garden but I didn't have a chance to shoot them. Do spend a few minutes at the garden watching how these flying jewels in action when you are there next time.

The first park connector was completed in 2007 in the eastern part of Singapore (see here) and there will be five more park connectors to be built in the near future. We are indeed fortunate that Nparks embarked on this ambitious project, providing nature-lovers and cyclists a safe and scenic green corridors to exercise and appreciate the beauty of nature.
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