Sunday, November 14, 2010

Deepavali Outing to Pulau Ubin

Deepavali marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year on the Lunar Calendar - a gazetted public holiday in a multi-racial and religious Singapore. On 5 Nov, Ai Ling from Oh's Farms, her friends and I decided to explore Ubin since some of us have not visited the island for a long time.

Ai Ling and I were lucky to get onto a boat first. At the same time dark clouds coming from the Punggol side congregated above us and soon the rain started pouring furiously. Many visitors were "stuck" at the jetty waiting patiently and orderly for the rain to stop. Thanks to the fast-dispersing clouds, we didn't have to wait long. After renting a few bicycles, we were heading straight to the Butterfly Hill, Ai Ling and her friends were on the wheels but I preferred walking.

As usual, there were many Dark Glassy Tigers (Parantica agleoides agleoides) but surprisingly, there wasn't any sign of Plain Tiger (Danaus chrysippus chrysippus ) and the Syzygium trees that were flowering last year around the same time (see here) showed no sign of a full bloom yet.
There were a few orange skippers zipping amongst the Pig's Grass (Synedrela nodiflora) bush and resting with wings partially open like this - quite impossible for us to identify it with confidence.
Not a very cooperative guy, this is another orange skipper that looks like a Telicota species rushing off quickly.
Another larger orange skipper which resembles a Cephrene species also loved the nectar of the Bidens flowers.
Since my last few outings focused very much on the Butterfly Hill, after taking a few shots, I decided to head to the Northern part of Pulau Ubin which I have not explored for a long time. Yes, I think it is time for me to explore other parts of Ubin to increase my chance of finding any rare species.

Coconut Skipper (Hidari irava) is a rather large red-eyed and shade-loving skipper. I found this species along the shady part of Jalan Noordin resting on a tree trunk in such a way that I had to go into the forested area to take this shot.
Here is another Coconut Skipper which was found along a narrow dirt path near the NPCC campsite - the lighting was much better along this narrow path.
Forest Hopper (Astictopterus jama jama) is a dark brown skipper which I have shot before along the same trail.
I am not sure what plant this is - but the ants were certainly like this plant very much.

Perak Lascar (Pantoporia paraka paraka ) is a common species in Ubin especially near the back mangrove areas. Though it flew rather slowly by the "gliding and sailing" style, it was very alert and didn't stay long on the leaf.

There were many human-faced Squash bugs on the Sea Hibiscus (Hibiscus tiliaceus) leaves.
I guess this red creature is the nymph of the above bug.
When I stopped at a patch of grassland hoping to see a Silverline (Spindasis sp) butterfly that I used to encounter before, two very different looking grasshoppers caught my sight. I have no idea what they are. (Note : Ming Kai has identified that the first one looks like the nymph of Tagasta marginella (Thunberg, 1815).
He also identified that this is an adult female Spathosternum prasiniferum (Walker, 1871).
Two large robber flies were also found on this small plot of land overgrown with all kinds of weeds and grasses.
Look at how this robber fly hanging on to its prey while balancing itself on a grass stalk.

Perhaps this is another species of Squash Bug which was found on a grass leaf.
Shortly after noon, the sky turned cloudy again. I had to speed up my pace and move towards Jalan Ubin, cutting through a few ponds and swampy areas.

This robber fly is quite small but its compound eyes are rather attractive in colour. Resting rather tamely on a twig in the shade, it refused to change its perch despite I "reset" its position.
This Tholymis tillarga was my only shot on dragonfly. Though I did notice a few dragonflies I was not particularly keen on shooting them as I reckoned that they were common species that I have shot before.
It was around 1:30 pm when I felt rain drops on my head. So we contacted each other and gathered at the jetty before heading back to Changi Village for our lunch - to avoid the large crowds of people at the food stalls in Ubin. Once again, we saw another round of heavy rain while we were on the boat.

Over the years, Pulau Ubin has become a popular and natural "resort" for hiking and cycling on weekends for families, locals, foreign workers and tourists alike. I believe many Singaporeans prefer Ubin to remain unspoilt as far as possible, providing our hardworking people a place to relax, to exercise and to appreciate the charm, beauty of Ubin and its rich biodiversity.


  1. The first one looks like the nymph of Tagasta marginella (Thunberg, 1815).

    The second one is a adult female Spathosternum prasiniferum (Walker, 1871).

  2. Thanks Ming Kai.
    Hope I slowly get to know how to id this group of insects.