Friday, February 25, 2011

Two Demons @ Toa Payoh Town Park

A morning high tea scheduled at 11am at Fairmont Singapore hosted by National Institute of Education on 19 Feb made me change my weekend outing plan - so I decided to stroll around Toa Payoh Town Park. What a pleasant surprise to me, there were lots of butterfly activities at one end of the park.

Many Grass Blues fluttering around the Lantana bushes - but they hardly perched. However, I was lucky to spot one Pygmy Grass Blue (Zizula hylax pygmaea) ovipositing on a Lantana flower bud.
Can you identify this small Grass Blue butterfly by looking at its uppersides ?
A close resemblance to the Pygmy Grass Blue, the Lesser Grass Blue (Zizina otis lampa) was also flitting around the Lantana bushes.
This pretty female (thanks Khew for correcting me this is a "she") Green Baron (Euthalia adonia pinwilli) was a surprise to me as it has not been spotted in the park for a long time. Though she was feeding on the flowers of the Yellow-veined Eranthemum (Pseuderanthemum reticulatum), she was still very alert and sensitive to flash light - no chance for me to get a better shot.
There were a pair of Chocolate Demon (Ancistroides nigrita maura) zipping in and out of a cluster of Ginger plants. A skittish bugger which never perched long enough for me to take a better shot of how it was "fishing" out the nectar from the Eranthemum flowers.
Another Demon skipper, this time a Grass Demon (Udaspes folus) which preferred the highly colourful Lantana flowers.
After feeding, it opened its wings sunbathing under the morning sun.
This fast and swift-flying brown Swift skipper - possibly the commonest Small Banded Swift (Pelopidas mathias mathias) was feeding on the Lantana flowers intermittently.
A relatively large orange skipper, a Yellow Palm Dart (Cephrene trichopepla) perched quite elegantly on the edge of a leaf, waiting for me to take a few shots.
Occasionally, it opened its wings partially and with this shot I hope I have identified it correctly.
It was a fruitful 90 minutes of lazing and shooting in the park - I could not remember when was the last time I filled up the CF card with butterfly shots. In fact there were a few other skippers zipping around and an uncooperative Sailor butterfly perching beyond my reach but the Peacock Royal (Tajuria cippus maxentius) still remains elusive - hope it appears soon.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Wonderful Company @ Mount Faber Park

Getting life back to its normalcy after a traumatic experience can be a long and painful process. I am very glad to see one of our BC veteran members initiated an outing to reignite his past passion for butterfly photography - how can I miss this meaningful outing ! We gathered at Seah Im Street food centre for a quick breakfast before we went up to the hill in Chng's car - thanks Chng.

My first shot of the morning was this well-camouflaged baby praying mantis.
A rather colourful and robust-looking fly with a metallic green sheen on its body attracted my attention. It stayed quite tamely on the edge of a leaf, oblivious of my presence.
This brown skipper was the first butterfly that welcomed us to its territory. Looking at this shot, I would not be able to tell what it is.

But with this shot, I could confidently say that this is a Palm Bob (Suastus gremius gremius).
This moth was found "sleeping" on a cement column next to the copper sculpture murals which showcase some historical events in Singapore.
This uniquely patterned skipper is a Hieroglyphic Flat (Odina hieroglyphica ortina) which was found along a sunlit path. It came down to feed on bird dropping in a typical habit that most Flat species would demonstrate - opening its wings flat on the ground while puddling.
Occasionally, it decided to warm itself on various sunlit spots, enticing us to take more shots. It rested on a plank of wood.
Next moment it was on a leaf.
When it perched on a high leaf, it gave me a good opportunity to take a shot of its undersides which look similar to its uppersides.
This small tailless lycaenid butterfly was fluttering along a shady path a few meters away from the Hieroglyphic Flat. I guess this is Tailless Line Blue (Prosotas dubiosa lumpura). (Correction, Seow TL has identified this a male Nacaduba berenice without his usual tails)
Another tailless lycaenid with light yellow antennae was spotted along a hedge of shrubs near the Merlion sculpture - once again Seow has identified this a male Nacaduba kurava without his tails.
Finally, a very strikingly beautiful red pupa perhaps a moth pupa (note : this is an Orange Awlet (Burara harisa consobrina) pupa) was found hanging on a fern.
The exceptionally low butterfly activity was a huge contrast with the tourist activities up on Mount Faber. However, I still enjoyed this outing very much.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Lornie Trail On 5 Feb

It was the 3rd day (5 Feb) of the Golden Rabbit Year. Shortly after my visit to the temple in the early morning, I went to the Lornie Trail for some fresh air and hoping to burn off some excess calories accumulated over the first two days of a new lunar year.

At the exercise corner along the trail, I saw this Mycalesis species feeding on a bench. There are at least four different look-alike Mycalesis species here so I can't be sure of its identification.
Next, I saw this weird creature - is this a cocoon or something else ?

This small Lauxaniid fly (?) was feeding on some smudged bird dropping on a leaf surface. It never stayed still, so a lot of patience and luck were required to get a decent shot.
Walking towards the reservoir edge, I encountered this paper wasp wandering on the fruits of a forest plant.
There were not many insects feeding on the Mile-a-minute flowers this time. A familiar orange skipper came to enjoy its nectar meal provided by the flowers. It looks like a Lesser Dart (Potanthus omaha omaha).
It had the tendency to open its wings after it has settled on its perch. Here is a shot of its forewing.
I didn't see many butterflies though the flowers were abundant - this is another hard-to-identify Nacaduba species.
Lastly, a Common Snow Flat (Tagiades japetus atticus) came out to say goodbye to me while I was on my way out to the main road.

A relatively quiet day at Lornie Trail, but I still enjoyed the tranquility this forest trail has been offering me.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Day 1 of Year of the Rabbit @ BSP

I usually spend my first day of the lunar new year at my in-law's place at Bah Soon Pah (BSP) - no exception this year on 3 Feb. I also don't stay in the house for long so after lunch I "sneaked out" in the afternoon to take a good look at the herb garden or some wild places nearby.

At one corner of the herb garden, some wild Bidens flowers attracted a few insects especially butterflies and bees. This brown skipper is Chestnut Bob (Iambrix Salsala salsla) zipping around the garden.
A rather pristine Cycad Blue (Chilades pandava pandava) was busy feeding on the flowers.
Another brown skipper which looks like a Small Banded Swift (Pelopidas mathias mathias) appeared briefly and perched on a flower "fishing" for nectar.

I took a slow walk towards the dead end of Bah Soon Pah Road where a patch of wild vegetation was my hunting ground. On a quiet and windy afternoon only this orange Pothanthus skipper was kind enough staying quite still for me to take a few shots.

The ground colour of this large hawk moth caterpillar is greenish-yellow which was found on the underside of a leaf above my eye level.
Here is a grasshopper resting on a palm leaf.
Another hairy moth larva was spotted on a wild Cinnamon leaf - I have encountered this larva a few times but I am yet to find out what species it is. (Note : it may be a larva of Trabala species)
Wishing everyone a healthy, happy and prosperous Lunar New Year.