Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mount Faber Park On 22 Jan 2011

Thanks Cher Hern for giving me a ride to Mount Faber Park (MF) on 22 Jan. Once the car was parked, we headed straight to the Merlion sculpture which was just a few minutes of walking distance away.

I spotted this rather tame and small lycaenid butterfly The Malayan (Megisba malaya sikkima) . We had to be very patient waiting the wind to subside before we could take a few shots.
Below the Merlion Sculpture, I spotted this mating Common Line Blue (Prosotas nora superdates). Again we had to overcome the windy condition to take some shots - luckily, there were oblivious to our presence.
Along the way to a hilltop, this male Colour Sergeant (Athyma nefte subrata) was teasing me, perching here and there but always beyond our eye level. At last, I managed to get a record shot of his underside wing.
It was around 11 am at the hilltop, we surveyed the spots where we usually found our butterfly models. Perhaps due to the windy and cool weather, our "models" didn't turn up to show their beauty. So we decided to head back to the Merlion Sculpture. While shooting a group of red ants attending to some mealybugs (?) we met Sunny and Ellen who were on their way to the hilltop.
While we were walking back to the hilltop again, there were at least two Chequered Lancer (Plastingia naga) zipping around us. This was shot at a slope along a shady trail leading us to the hilltop.
On our way back to the Merlion area, we noticed this lovely cicada resting quietly on a tree trunk.
Along a hedge of shrubs near a beverage outlet, there was this rather common skipper at MF - a Zographetus doxus "sleeping" peacefully on a leaf at my knee level - but the constant wind and the poor ambient light made it tough for us to photograph this cooperative guy.
Sunny spotted a pair of "ugly-looking" lycaenid Logania marmorata damis. They were rather tame and unafraid of our intrusion into their intimate life.
There were at least two different Nacaduba species fluttering around the area. Here is a shot on one of them which TL Seow has identified it as Nacaduba kurava nemana in the BC forum here . He explained that with the broad submarginal band and its scalloped or evenly stepped inner margin this is unmistakable a N. kurava nermana.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Lornie Trail On 15 Jan 2011

It was a Saturday. After lunch the weather looked rather good for an outing so I hopped on a bus to Lornie Trail - very easily accessible from Lornie Road for people like me who don't drive.

The Dark-tipped Forest-skimmer dragonfly (Cratilla metallica) was abundant, darting to-and-fro along the muddy forest track. A mating pair which was so intimately and acrobatically attached together was found on a twig but not for long, they separated after I had taken this shot.

A small perhaps an immature insect with a predominantly red body caught my attention. It remained on its perch for quite a while. However, I have no idea of what it is for the time being.
Next, I saw this spider with colourful legs lurking at the edge of a leaf, taking cover underneath the leaf when I tried to take more shots.
This black-and-white butterfly is Lance Sergeant (Athyma pravara helma). Some clusters of the white flowers of Mikania micrantha attracted quite a few species of butterfly.

I have not shot a Lance Sergeant (Athyma pravara helma) for a very long time but this bugger was not that cooperative. Demonstrating the typical sailing and gliding flight pattern, it was busy feeding from flower to flower, occasionally taking a short perch on the ferns.
There were two specimen of Lasippa species sailing and gliding from flower to flower - they were rather alert as well and too shy to come close me. On close examination of this shot, I believe this is a Burmese Lascar (Lasippa helicodore dorelia)
This particular female Cruiser (Vidula dejone erotella) was exceptionally huge - she was rather shy and refused to come close to me.
A small skipper looks like a Potanthus species also got intoxicated by the flowers.
While feeding, it opened its wings most of the time. I managed to take a quick shot of its underside.
Another slightly bigger orange skipper was also feeding nearby - perhaps a Potanthus species again.
I hope a complete view of its underside forewing would give us some clue to identify this species with certainty.
Finally, a Nacaduba species also added to my shuttle count.
I was quite surprised to see that there were not many dragonflies near the reservoir edge in this outing. However, the flowering weed - Mile-a-minute really made my day.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Pasir Ris Park On The First Day of 2011

Thanks Khew for giving me a lift to Pasir Ris Park on the first day of the new year (2011). It has been quite a long time since my last visit to this mangrove park in the east of the island.

The herbs garden was our first stop. The common name of this butterfly is Leopard (Phalanta phalantha phalantha). It has the tendency to flap its wings when perching or feeding - I was very lucky snapping a shot at a precise moment when its wings were close.
On our way to the mangrove boardwalk near a row of Ixora bushes, Khew spotted this Rapala species . It took off hastily after we had taken a few quick shots from a low angle.
This Dark Brown skipper, a Baoris species was quite tame and resting in the shade along the mangrove boardwalk. There were a few other brown skippers zipping around but I wasn't lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time.
At least two individual Common Tit (Hypolycaena erylus teatus) were spotted at Ixora bushes. This pristine specimen was quite cooperative to be photographed when it was feeding on the Mile-a-minute flowers (Mikania micrantha ).
A wasp-like critter with a thin segment of the abdomen was spotted at the edge of a leaf lifting its front legs - preparing itself taking off ?
This guy was buzzing around with high speed along the boardwalk. When it perched on a sunny spot, I realised that it was rather huge and certainly looked scary.
This small but colourful spider was moving around perhaps looking for its preys on a mangrove plant.
There were quite a few other species of butterfly such as King Crow ( Euploea phaenareta castelnaui ) - a permanent resident of the park which preferred to stay or flutter at tree-top most of the time. Here is another "King" - this Palm King (Amathusia phidippus phidippus) though a bit "old" still looked strong and fast to hide away from our camera flash.
The weather during this north-east monsoon period changed rather fast - we had to cut short our outing when we saw the clouds congregating towards our direction - it rained heavily when we were on our way home - thanks Khew once again.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My First Visit to FRIM

I must thank Yong San for taking his time off bringing me to FRIM (Forest Research Institute Malaysia) during my short free-and-easy holiday in Kulua Lumpur (KL) with my family. Occupying a large forested area of 600 hectares in Kepong, about 16 km north-west of KL, this tropical rainforest is endowed with a wealth of flora and fauna species.

A common and large brown skipper with a rather unique posture whenever it was resting on a leaf surface, Coon (Psolos fuligo fuligo) was rather abundant there - it was very sensitive to the camera flash light.

Again, I spotted a few skippers which looked like this Bright Red Velvet Bob (Koruthaialos sindu sindu). We would notice its large and prominent orange band on the forewing when it is near by in the field.
Many Common Caerulean (Jamides celeno aelianus) were actively fluttering around some wild flowers and weeds.
Yong is very familiar with the place. After a short break at the canteen he brought me to a small waterfall. We were fortunate to see two butterfly species. This very dark Faunis kirata was quite skittish and I didn't have good angle to nail a better shot.

In fact, we spotted this Dark Blue Jungle Glory (Thaumantis klugius lucipor) first, feeding on some dry fruit on the damp ground at the waterfall.
This beautiful damselfly Aristocypha fenestrella was my most precious sighting in FRIM - simply because its iridescent wings were magnificent, especially when it was in flight and seen from a particular angle. Yong knew a pond which is home to two species of damselfly. Yes, true enough they are permanent residents there - one with the orange legs and the other with white legs.
This white-legged smaller damselfly was rather difficult to be noticed when it was hiding amongst the grassy vegetation around the edge of the pond.
I feel that shooting beetles is not that easy though they don't usually roam around rapidly or take off when we move closer because the shiny and reflective shell is always a challenge for photographers to overcome.
Finally, I would like to present a shot of this small and cute Tiger beetle (?) - again this is another difficult subject for photography.
Once again thanks Yong for guiding me around in FRIM, without him I would not be able to explore the trails and photograph the three new damselfly species for me.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Seletar Wasteland On Christmas Day 2010

It has been more than 6 months since my last visit to this wasteland in the north-east of Singapore where some major industrial development has been going on nearby. I was glad to see that this wasteland has been very much intact.

The "entrance" to the trail was blocked by fallen tree trunks but that didn't stop me from moving forwards. There were a few Pipturus argenteus (Native Mulberry) shrubs near the entrance and quite a number of Malayan Eggfly (Hypolimnas anomala anomala) larvae were munching the leaves happily. A detailed write-up of this plant can be found here.
The jelly-like fruits of this shrub are white in colour. I believe they are sweet and edible.
Same as my previous few outings to this wasteland, Common Sailor (Neptis hylus papaja) were quite abundant. Though they were rather skittish and alert, however with lots of patience and luck, I managed to take a few shots when they were feeding.
The Common Sailor has a habit of flapping its wings when feeding. This is a snap shot of the upperside wings, showing clearly the arrangement of the white spots which are very similar to a few other Neptis and Athyma species.
Without the underside shot, it is rather difficultfor us to identify this Lycaenidae species with confidence.
Luckily, I had one underside shot to confirm that this is a Tailless Line-Blue (Prosotas nora superdates) - it came down from the tree-top as fast as it disappeared.
Common Caerulean (Jamides celeno aelianus) was everywhere because one of its larval host plants - a ground creeper looks like Pueraria phaseoloides was abundant here.
A dark brown skipper with its underside hindwing unmarked and "spiky legs" looks like a Baoris species. It was quite lethargic on a rather cool morning - I could see the dark clouds were gaining momentum moving towards where I was. About noon time, gutsy winds accompanying passing rains finally disrupted my outing so I had to turn back hastily and head to Yishun to have my lunch.