Friday, July 29, 2011

Lornie Trail On 16 July

The forest ground was damp, covered with fallen leaves. Not a surprise to me for the predawn thunderstorm had bestowed the tranquil and serene forest with a new lease of life.

A solitary Common Caerulean ( Jamides celeno aelianus) was at the entrance of the trail flitting along the forest path but soon it got intoxicated by the bird droppings.
At one of my favourite spots near the reservoir edge, I was delighted to notice movement of life. Dr Seow from the ButterflyCircle identified this brown skipper to be Parnara ganga - a species that I have never encountered nor shot before. We could vaguely see the three faint spots in space 2, 3 and 4. on the hindwing underside.
He further explained that the ground colour of this species is ochreous brown and the larger spot in space 2 on the forewing upperside is square-shaped and the smaller spot in space 3 is longish instead.
I think the most important characteristic that I failed to observe was a pair of short and whitish antennae that many other brown skippers do not have.
At the same vicinity of the Parnara ganga, I noticed a mating pair of the Contiguous Swift (Polytremis lubricans lubricans). The female was on the right which has a lighter ground colour.
This Chestnut Bob (Iambrix salsala salsala) liked to feed on the Mile-a-minute flowers.
At times, it also preferred basking under the morning sun, absorbing the heat to warm itself.
Once again, I had identified the species wrongly as Telicota besta bina. This is a Palm Dart (Telicota augias augias) instead as the veins across the band are not faintly darkened as in the case of T. besta bina.
This Yamfly (Loxura atymnus fuconius) was flitting around the flowers but chose to rest on a fern instead. I was lucky that it remained cooperative for a few seconds.
It was a pity that the left forewing tip of this female Cruiser (Vidula dejone erotella) was chipped otherwise this would be my best shot of a female Cruiser.
The fact that the forewing sub-marginal spot in space 3 appears to be larger than the rest of its adjacent spots suggests that it is a Malayan Lascar (Lasippa tiga siaka) which was first seen feeding at the canopy level. It came down after some time.
Another one or two Lascars were flitting and feeding from flowers to flowers - I could not tell the difference until I looked at the image on the viewfinder. This is a Parak Lascar (Pantoporia paraka paraka).
I guess this is the underside of a Parak Lascar when it was feeding on some Mile-a-Minute flowers high up.
This wasp with a pair of short antennae in orange colour was feeding voraciously on the flowers. A fierce fellow occasionally would chase other smaller bees away.
On my way out along a shady trail, a rather tame Chocolate Grass Yellow (Eurema sari sodalis) was taking an afternoon nap.
What a fruitful outing for me !

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Butterfly Hunting@USR

Two weeks ago (9 July) I dropped by Upper Seletar Reservoir Park (USR) again hoping to hunt for the rarities that I saw but failed to photograph on 2 July.

My first encounter was this interesting pair of mating crane fly. Having very long legs with their slender bodies forming a curve, getting a good and sharp shot was a challenge for me.
Once they sensed my intrusion into their privacy, they flew off but still landed on a fallen leaf on the ground.
The Malayan Oakblue (Arhopala myrzala lammas ) is a rather rare forest lycaenid. The white stride markings on the hindwng beneath of this species are quite prominent and distinctive compared with other Arhopala species. Usually alert and skittish, this species was very sensitive to any movement - I could only get a long distance shot.
This female Malay Baron was well-camouflaged when it was puddling on the ground.
This Tree Flitter (Hyarotis adrastus praba) was resting in a shade behind the toilet. Very tame and our young butterfly enthusiast and his father also manged to snap a few shots.
This tiny critter which I have shot before (but I cannot recall the name now) appeared in front of me - how could I ignore such a pretty creature !

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Other Critters @ USR

These critters were pictured at Upper Seletar Reservoir (USR) Park on 2 July - the day when many uncommon butterflies came out to prove that I should replace my 4-year old camera as mentioned in my previous post.

In the midst of shooting an orange skipper at a grass patch, a small critter with a long pair of antennae caught my intention. I am not sure if this is a kind of fly.
Along the same stretch of forest edge, another critter with an even longer pair of white-tipped antennae was "sleeping" on a tree stem. It looks like a kind of beetle to me. At last, I am quite sure of this dragonfly, a male Orchithemis pulcherrima was found perching along the forest fringe.While checking out a shady trail, this grasshopper flew past me and landed on the tree trunk. I may have encountered this species before but I am just too lazy to browse through my old shots. I leave it to Ming Kai to provide the name.A side view shot captured the forest greenery as the background.
This rather weird looking spider was maneuvering upwards in its web - too high for me to snap a frontal shot.
The geometrical patterns made by this small Orb-web spider is rather amazing. I believe this spider web network is strong enough to trap insects larger than the spider itself.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Good and Bad Day @ USR

On a sunny Saturday (2 July) morning, I met up with fellow BC members, Cher Hern and Loke.

My first shot of the morning was this Malay Lacewing (Cethosia hypsea hypsina) - I was puzzled by the different colour tone of the forewings.
Quite a few Arhopala species were hopping around along a heavily-shaded trail but they were far from being cooperative. A quick and instinctive shot of a Arhopala major major I supposed.
In the early part of the morning, there were not many clear shooting opportunities. But activities picked up towards noon. I noticed one tiny critter zipping around. Not knowing what it was, I locked my sight on it and finally it perched in a shade. Yes, this skipper is Suastus everyx everyx,
While checking out some Singapore Rododendron plants behind the round-about, this Yamfly (Loxura atymnus fuconius) hopped across and landed a few meters in front of me. This skittish and alert fellow gave me no chance for a second shot.
This is a very tame and cooperative Quaker (Neopithecops zalmora zalmora) found near the reservoir edge - it was feeding on bird droppings on the ground.
This is a male Black Angle (Tapena thwaitesi bornea) a relatively uncommon skipper which I usually saw it puddling with wings fully open at Wallace Trail in Dairy Farm Park.
In fact this Tapena thwaitesi bornea had a "constant companion", a Common Hedge Blue (Acytolepis puspa lambi). They stayed at this position for a long period of time - surly the bird droppings were tasty and nutritious for them.
At another spot nearby, this Hieroglyphic Flat (Odina hieroglyphica ortina) also got addicted to some bird droppings.
At the reservoir edge, a skittish Suffused Flash came down to feed on the flowers of Singapore Rododendron.
This Malay Tailed Judy (Abisara savitri savitri) was spotted buy Chern Hern when we were on our way out from the reservoir edge. Again, a very skittish and alert fellow which never stayed still for us to take a proper shot. With patience and determined stalking, we finally managed to snap a few record shots off the trail.
I have not been able to take a proper close-up shot of the Little Maplet (Chersonesia peraka peraka). Usually skittish with rather erratic flights and perching underneath the leaves, Little Maplet is a rather small butterfly with unique vertical striped patterns on the wings as seen here.
This pristine Aberrant Oakblue (abseusArhopala abseus abseus) was my last shot of the morning before my camera's battery went flat (rather fast !) - yes, time to change a new camera. A shade-loving lycaenid, this shot was take at very low speed - 1/25 seconds.
I have never seen so many species of butterfly at Upper Seletar Reservoir (USR) Park for a very long time. A very good day for Loke and Cher Hern but a bad day for me as "butterfly fairies" brought along many uncommon species to visit us shortly after my camera was dead. These were the species I could have taken at least a shot : Arhopala myrzala lammas , Sinthusa nasaka amba (Narrow Spark) , Plastingia pellonia (Yellow Chequered Lancer) , Plastingia naga (Chequered Lancer), Poritia sumatrae sumatrae (Sumatran Gem) and Idea stolli logani (Common Tree Nymph).

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Three Beauties @ MacRitchie Nature Trail

What a disappointment on 25 June morning when the overcast weather gave me a clear indication that a looming heavy downpour would be imminent. True enough, many nature lovers and photographers like me were grounded at homes for the whole morning.

Late in the afternoon, sunshine finally gained control and started to penetrate through some remnants of clouds. Within 30 minutes, I was at the MacRitchie Nature Trail (MNT).

This relatively small lycaenid Semanga superba deliciosa was extremely skittish and energetic, kept flitting around.
Not only was she alert and uncooperative, she reacted quite violently to camera flashlight especially at a close distance as shown in the picture below - why this behaviour ? perhaps she was young, pristine and shy to be a model. I wonder what factors would trigger this reaction in butterfly - intensity of the light, angle or time of the day ?
Another rather rare flying beauty spotted on a quiet afternoon was this Royal Assyrian (Terinos terpander robertsia). But it din't oblige my persistence and patience of making it to come down.
It has been a long time since my last encounter with it. What a pity as it bid farewell quickly after I had taken a few long distance shots. Its uppersides are as beautiful as its undersides - this shot below does not reveal the true beauty so you can only imagine how the iridescent bluish purple will look like.
It was close to 5 pm when I saw this Common Posy (Drupadia ravindra moorei), a rather common forest species, perching tamely on a leaf of Clidemia hirta. Not a perfect specimen though, it was deserved some shots for its elegant perch and cooperation.