Sunday, October 30, 2011

Lornie Trail On 23 Oct

Though the weather was rather good on 23 Oct which was a lovely Sunday morning, I could only afford a short outing. I dropped by Lornie Trail and headed straight to my favorite spot for shooting.

At least half a dozen Bush Hoppers (Ampittia dioscorides camertes) were zipping around and resting on the overgrown ferns.
Bush Hopper does not seem to have the habit of opening its wings when perching on foliage. However, this was an instantaneous moment when one of them sunbathing on a leaf.
There were a few other orange skippers chasing each other and zipping around me. Whenever this guy rested it would open its wings fully like this. It looks like a Lesser Dart (Pothanthus omaha omaha).
What is this ? These patterns at the back of a lycaenid could be used to deceive the predators.
A forest lycaenid, Chocolate Royal (Remelana jangala travana) is not a common species. A very detailed and well-documented life history of this species can be found here on the Butterflycircle's (BC) blog.
An alert Tree Yellow (Gandaca harina distanti) was feeding on the flowers of the Mile-a-minute (Mikania micrantha). But it never stayed long enough for me to take more shots,.
I was rather lucky to see two Green Crested lizards (Bronchocela cristatella) at the same location. It was rather tame and I could go nearer and take a few shots on this handsome guy.
A beautiful native species, the Green Crested lizard has not been spotted as often as the Changeable Lizard (Calotes versicolor) which is non-native.
This brown skipper is the Common Snow Flat (Tagiades japetus atticus) - a permanent resident at the location.
Take a closer look if you could find something else on the flowers.
What a pity that this Jewel Four-line Blue ( Nacaduba sanaya elioti) has lost its two tails.
This is a male specimen of a Rounded 6-line Blue (Nacaduba berenice icena). A very skittish guy which took off to the canopy level after I had taken this shot. Thanks Seow from BC who had identified the two Nacaduba species for me.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pulau Ubin On 15 Oct

I went for a solo hiking trip to Pulau Ubin on a hot Saturday morning on 15 Oct. Perhaps it was still in the midst of the school examination period, there weren't many teenagers or kids visiting the island.

For a change, I turned right to the Sensory Trail once I came out from the jetty. This guy flew like a wasp. When it landed on a leaf surface, I approached closer and took a shot. On closer look, I think this is not a wasp perhaps it is a wasp mimic moth.
It was a quiet morning - very few cyclists and low insect activities along this trail. I noticed this white mushroom growing on the sandy beach. Not happy with this imperfect specimen, I searched around the area but I just could not find another better specimen.
This skittish all-white lycaenid with red-banded legs is Smatran Sumbeam (Curetis saronis sumatrana) which can also be found in other mangrove areas such as Sungei Buloh.
A lonely Club Siverline (Spindasis syama terana) was resting on a blade of Lalang grass.
Finally, I reached the Butterfly Hill where the Pagoda flowers (Clerodendrum paniculatum) were in blooms. A female Great Mormon (Papilio memnon agenor) was seen feeding on the flowers. After a few "rapid firings" , this was the best I could get.
I am not sure what this black ant was trying to do but it was interesting enough for me to take a shot.
There weren't many butterflies on the Butterfly Hill. This orange skipper looks like a Telicota species which appeared and disappeared very quickly.
A Common Tiger (Danaus genutia genutia) was fluttering and feeding from flower to flower. Finally, it perched on a twig - a good chance for me to snap a few quick shots before it took off again.
Ubin has become one of our tourist's attractions as I could see more and more foreigners exploring this serene and natural island. I hope Ubin remains as it is for as long as we can afford to.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Before the Rain @Chestnut Avenue

It was a blue-sky Saturday (8 Oct) morning before 9 am. How could I resist the temptation of going out for butterfly hunting especially I was deprived of an outing on 1 Oct due to the bad weather. So, without much hesitation, I packed my shooting gears and headed for Chestnut Avenue.

While I was trying to take an in-flight shot of this hover fly, it chose to perch on a grass blade instead. I was quite happy to snap a quick shot.
There are six known Mycalesis butterfly species in Singapore. A series of conspicuous submarginal eye spots (ocelli) on the underside wings and the brownish ground colour of the wings (except the Malayan Bush Brown (Mycalesis fusca fusca) which is more ocherous in colour) help us to identify the genus Mycalesis rather easily. This is Mycalesis perseus cepheus (Dingy Bush Brown).
It is not easy to differentiate between two different Mycalesis species in the field. For example, apart from the lighter ground colour of the wings and more whitish marginal striae on the hindwing beneath, this Mycalesis visala phamis (Long Brand Bush Brown) looks similar to the Dingy Bush Brown. In fact it is a lot more similar to Mycalesis mineus macromalayana (Dark Brand Bush Brown).
Apart from the two Browns and one Psyche (Leptosia nina malayana) fluttering perpetually, I could not find any others. When I was about a few hundreds metres deep into the forest trail, I could feel rain drops falling on me. The weather changed so fast that the morning sun lost its early dominance and surrendered to the large dark clouds all over the sky.

While making a hasty retreat back to where the overhead flyover is, a bunch of orange fungi on a fallen tree trunk caught my attention. I have no idea what this is after looking through all the resources I have.
The heavy downpours forced many bikers, hikers and me taking shelter underneath the flyover waiting for the rain to subside. Thanks and no thanks, we could rest for about 20 minutes.

Soon there will be another residential project opposite the Tree House condominium which is under construction at the moment. I hope the developer will seek help to carry out a thorough biodiversity survey first before they destroy the greenery to give way to the residential development - how about getting Nparks to help or oversee the survey ??

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Gem at USR on a Sunny Saturday Morning

I met up with Cher Hern at the Upper Seletar Reservoir (USR) Park on a late but fine Saturday morning (24 Sept). I was there slightly early and bumped into a Gem along a shady trail. This beautiful lycaenid is Sumatran Gem (Poritia sumatrae sumatrae), a rather uncommon forest species that appeared to be in season since the beginning of the month.
Its metallic greenish-blue iridescence on the uppersides is breath-taking. While flapping its wings shortly after a perch, I snapped a quick shot. What a pity that it refused to open its wings after this shot.
This skittish Vinous Oakblue (Arhopala athada athada) was found along a shady trail. This is the only record shot I could manage before it disappeared from my sight.
We need to be observant if we want to spot this damselfly which looks like the Prodasineura notostigma. It can be found easily along a shady trail and occasionally on an open grass patch.
With a very distinctive broad yellow discal band across the hindwing, the Yellow Banded Awl (Hasora schoenherr chuza) can be easily identified in the field. A rather rare skipper that I don't see often, it tends to perch underneath the foliage.
This is another record shot of a Plain Banded Awl (Hasora vitta vitta) which showed a similar behaviour of resting underneath a leaf, usually above eye level.
A small robber fly was resting on a twig at the location where Cher Hern spotted a rare red-eyed skipper. We didn't have the luck to spot the skipper again but we were quite pleased to have this robber fly accompanying us.
Finally, I took a reluctant shot when this lonely spider was seen wandering on the leaf surface. Right now, I am a bit lazy to find out what species it is.
My last shot of the day before we went for lunch was this Fluffy Tit (Zeltus amasa maximinianus). While it was "hopping" around the Ixora bushes next to the washroom, I was lucky to snap a few quick shots when it perched at the right time and at the right place.