Monday, September 26, 2011

Strolling From MNT to LT

We experienced rather weird and bizarre weather in the first two weeks of September, very much wetter than the past. It was not an ideal day for outing on 11 Sept, I still went for a leisure stroll from MacRitchie Nature Trail (MNT) to Lornie Trail (LT).

An oddly-shaped green fruit lying on the shady forest floor caught my attention. I have no idea what this strange-looking fruit is.
Look at this cluster of Asystasia flowers, they really presented themselves beautifully and quite prominently. No wonder this small fly was also attracted by these flowers. With a bit of luck and patience, I managed to capture an instantaneous moment when it was about to make a landing.
This pink dragonfly is Trithemis aurora - a common species that can be found at the ponds near the main entrance. How could anyone ignore its beauty and the stylish perch ?
There were quite a few Ring butterflies hopping and feeding on the Mile-a-minute flowers at one particular spot along LT. Though unattractive, this Common Five Ring (Ypthima baldus newboldi) displayed an elegant perch on a bunch of flower buds.
It is usually not easy to identify a skipper by just looking at its uppersides.
However, the underside markings of some orange skippers such as the Bush Hopper (Ampittia dioscorides camertes) are distinctive enough for us to differentiate it from other species.
This Knigh (Lebadea martha parkeri ) came and disappeared as soon as I snapped this shot while it was feeding on some flowers. If you don't look at it carefully, you may have thought that this is an in-flight shot.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

What Can You Find @ Neo Tew Lane 1 ?

A few very hectic weeks at work caused a rather late write-up of an outing which happened on 30 Aug - the day when our Muslim friends starting a new year on their Islamic calender.

Living in a multiracial and religious country, we have the privilege celebrating a few different New Years in a year. So a public holiday means another outing for me.

I had this rare opportunity visiting a private farmland at the end of Neo Tew Lane 1 - a rather remote place for me. There were a few Blue Pansy (Junonia orithya wallacei ) butterflies frolicking and visiting Asystasia flowers on a sunny Tuesday morning.
Another shot of this pretty female Blue Pansy.
Please don't kill this black and spiky-looking caterpillar if you see one in the field. Yes, this harmless critter would become a beautiful Blue Pansy butterfly in a few weeks' time.
All the four Pansy butterflies that are "residents" of Singapore could be found on this farm land. A lonely Grey Pansy (Junonia atlites atlites) was found in its typical behaviour - skittish and gliding flights with short perches in between. I was lucky to snap a quick shot when it posed in front of me.
I also spotted at least two Yellow Palm Darts (Cephrene trichopepla) zipping around and feeding on the blooms of Asystasia.
A well-camouflaged grasshopper or is it a katydid ? How do we differentiate them by their appearance ?
In fact, there were two of them nearby each other.
I guess this is a grasshopper's nymph resting on a grass blade full of morning dew.
Outside the perimeter of this huge farmland is a reservoir - I have not found out the name yet. Along the way to the reservoir, I got a few shots of this orange skipper resting on a grass blade. Seow from BC identified it as potanthus ganda. It is a pity that I didn't have a chance to take any upperside shot to further confirm the name of this skipper.
A Common Sailor (Neptis hylas papaja) crossed my path and landed. While flapping its wings slowly, I squeezed off a few shots to capture this moment.
Finally, I realised that I got a long-distance record shot of a large brown skipper, perhaps a Great Swift (Pelopidas assamensis). It took off quickly and disappeared in the canopy level.
I am not sure when I will visit this "remote" farmland again. The surrounding areas of the reservoir look promising for butterfly watching and macro-photography.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Mandai Park Connector On 29 Aug

I dropped by at this Mandai Park Connector on 29 Aug which was an off day for many Singaporeans. I was quite fortunate to see and get a few butterfly shots during this short outing though the weather in the early afternoon was not very ideal for butterfly-hunting.

A few common Blues including this Gram Blue (Euchrysops cnejus cnejus) were fluttering around their host plant - a weedy ground climber, Vigna reflexopilosa.
Can you make a guess of this female lycaenid ?
I never expect I would see a female Scarce Silverstreak (Iraota rochana boswelliana ) open her wings fully in front of me - just a few seconds duration though. Look at the shot below, I am sure you could guess that she made a huge "vertical leap" to a leaf high up on a banana tree.
A brown skipper which looks like a Caltoris cormasa was zipping around with such a high speed that lost track of it. Somehow, I just tumbled on it when it perched on a leaf for me to snap a few quick shots.
You would find this white butterfly called Psyche (Leptosia nina malayana) flapping its wings casually, looking for flowers at a low level along forest fringes or in our wastelands. This was one of the moments I like - a picture showing its close affinity to its larval host plant, the Purple Cleome ( Cleome rutidosperma).
I noticed ants were usually found on the flowers of Vigna reflexopilosa. Take a loser look you should be able to find something else on the flowers - an interesting and amazing biological mutualism demonstrated by different species.
This beautiful blue dragonfly, perhaps a Diplacodes nebulosa was rather common at one waterlogged spot along the trail.
On the whole, the weather in the month of August this year was rather unusual - wetter than before. As such, I was not able to go for a long trekking into some of our remote wild places or nature reserve areas for quite a while.

Friday, September 2, 2011

After Rain @ Bah Soon Pah (BSP)

What a disappointing Saturday (27 Aug) - not because it was the day for President Election (PE) but rather the cloudy and rainy morning dampened my spirit and deprived me of an outing.

The weather turned slightly better in the late morning. After casting my vote, I went for lunch and headed for BSP. The sky finally cleared up in the afternoon so I decided to find out what critters were active on this PE day.

I was rather lucky to spot a pair of mating Pea Blue (Lampides boeticus) just outside the Oh Chin Huat Hydroponic Farm. What a docile pair, they simply ignored my presence.
At the dead end of BSP road where a small plot of wasteland is, this small black-headed ant (don't know what species) behaved rather weirdly - attempting to jump from the edge of a leaf ?
This pale green planthopper flew across me and landed on a blade of Lalang grass.
A tiny spider was not too far away from the planhopper. It remained stationary for quite a while.
I have not seen this cute tortoise beetle for a long time. What a shy creature, it turned its head away when I took the shot.
Calopogonium mucunoides is a fast-growing and invasive ground creeping vine which can be found in many disturbed areas and wastelands. The light purplish-blue and pea-like flowers grow in a cluster on stalks coming out from leaf axis.
This is another pea-like flower of Centrosema molle sprawling on the ground. Other species in this genus is described in this paper. For those who are interested in knowing more about this common wasteland weed, here is a write-up on the CIAT website.