Friday, April 2, 2010

Wonderful Wild Wild West On a Hot Saturday Part 1

My last visit to this large plot of wasteland in the western part of Singapore was last May (See here). On a hot Saturday morning (27 March) I set off early with my rarely-used monopod (just in case I need it for chasing away wild dogs) to check out this place again, alone.

My first encounter with a 'flying jewel' was a pair of Malayan Eggflies (Hypolimnas anomala anomala). We could see a glimpse of the iridescent blue patches on the upperside forewing of the female.

Look at the number of eggs a female had laid a week ago perhaps. I could not understand why Malayan Eggfly lays all the eggs on one leaf - not a wise move really. Judging from its uppersides, this is a male Malayan Eggfly, so willingly to be my model posing at a low level. This common skipper Chestnut Bob (Iambrix salsala salsala) was resting just a few leaves away from the Eggfly. The white spots on the underside hindwing can be quite variable. Usually there were three white spots as shown in this picture.

One distinguishing feature of Tawny Palmfly (Elymnias panthera panthera) is the row of submarginal black spots on the underside hindwing. You should be able to see that it was shot from an elevated angle.
Many Common Caerulean (Jamides celeno aelianus) were fluttering at ground level as well as feeding on the Bidens flowers like this. When in flight the whitish upperside wing distinguishes it from the other Jamides species which have very similar underside wing patterns.
I was rather surprised to see a pristine Commander (Moduza procris milonia) resting on a foliage, flapping its wings gradually, a rather common behaviour that I often noticed. So I waited for the right moment to snap a quick shot on its underside.

This Common Red Flash (Rapala iarbus iarbus) suddenly flew past me and rested. Though it was not a nice and pristine specimen, in order to record its presence, I slowly moved and positioned myself to take a few shots.
Common Sailor (Neptis hylas papaja) was abundant there, at least half a dozen of them were frolicking, usually in pairs under the hot morning sun. They seemed to like perching on the flowers or dry fruits (?) of Goose Grass (Eleusine indica), flapping their wings gradually from time to time. In this picture, the proboscis was probing something which I am curious to know. The underside of the Common Sailor is ocherous with prominent rows of white spots across the wings.

This brown skipper was darting past me a few times and it finally rested in front of me. I was trying to get a shot of its underside but it just refused to rest with it wings folded up fully.

Looking at the forewing markings, I guess this might be a Contiguous Swift (Polytremis lubricans lubricans). Here is another shot showing the upperside markings.

This small Lycaenid, The Malayan (Megisba malaya sikkima) was spotted along another trail in the wasteland, fluttering erratically around a Turn-in-the-wind (Mallotus paniculatus)tree. It was already past my lunch hour, I was feeling a bit tired and I decided to stand still and watch it. At last, it rested in a shade, allowing me to snap a few shots.

These were my best shots of a beautiful and high-flying species, Painted Jezebel (Delias hyparete metarete). I saw two of them fluttering at the tree top level while I was finding my way to look for other butterfly species in the late afternoon. I really didn't expect this pristine specimen coming down to feed on the Bidens flowers. How lucky I was. I spent about 10 minutes chasing and shooting this beauty. After which I felt completely exhausted and decided to head for the bus stop.
This was one of my longest and most tiring outings - more than 5 hours in the field. Apart from all the shots here, I will feature some other non-butterfly shots in my next post.