Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Flowering Syzygium Trees @ Pasir Ris Park

My original plan was to visit the "Spa" in Sime Forest with Chern Hern. But our "intelligence network' informed Chern Hern that the flowering Syzygium trees at Pasir Ris Park (PRP) attracted quite a number of Crows. So we ended up at PRP instead. Thanks Chern Hern for giving me a lift there and back.

At least three King Crows (Euploea phaenareta castelnaui) were feeding on the flowers but they were most of the time high up on the tree. Occasionally, when they came down we quickly snapped a few shots. This Spotted Black Crow (Euploea crameri bremeri ) kept teasing us by feeding on flowers within our shooting range but it was just too impatient for us to take a better shot. Another Crow came to join in the fun but stayed high up most of the time, Striped Blue Crow (Euploea mulciber mulciber) seems common at PRP and Ubin.

Blue Glassy Tiger (Ideopsis vulgaris macrina) is another common species at PRP but I have yet to locate its host plant - I guess it is a vine along the boardwalk.
Getting an open-winged shot needs luck, patience and an instinctive reaction - snapping at the the right time and the right moment.
Along the boardwalk, I spotted this pristine Copper Flash (Rapala pheretima sequeira).
A pair of mating Atlas moth (Attacus atlas) was not far away from the Copper Flash - they stayed at this position for a long time. In fact, we saw lots of pupae on a mangrove plant two weeks ago.
This ground creeper Commelina diffusa ( Family : Commelinaceae) looks like a grass species. Its small and cute blue flowers are rather attractive especially under the macro lens. I saw a bunch of pretty purplish-blue flowers just opposite the flowering trees - what is this ?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Bob Couple @ Toa Payoh Town Park

Again, due to a commitment in the early afternoon on 12 March, I could not venture far for my usual weekend outing. I had no better choice except strolling at Toa Payoh Town Park again.

What a big contrast to my last visit (see here), the number of fauna species was a lot lesser this time. I was quite puzzled. If not for this intimate pair of Chestnut Bob (Iambrix salsala salsala ) I would have got nothing to blog about.
They stayed rather still on the leaf, giving me good chances of taking more shots from different angles.
I realised that when they were in the shade, they were very sensitive to camera flash light and reacted quite violently.
Somehow I did have a lucky moment when I managed to capture them before or perhaps after they have reacted.
Before I went to the pond area, I saw this black wasp resting on a leaf. John believes that it may be an Allorhynchium species and looks like A. argentatum.
At the pond, I didn't get to see many dragonflies as well. At last, one beautiful damselfly Ceriagrion cerinorubellum appeared and I decided to take a close-up top view shot of the head and eyes.
Finally, a female dragonfly perched on a leaf, waiting patiently for me to take a few shots.

Friday, March 18, 2011

From Pasir Ris to Ubin

A group of BC members was "helping" Khew on 5 March morning at Pasir Ris Park when he conducted a butterfly walk for a group of volunteers from Green Volunteers Network led by Mr Grant Pereira.

We reached there early so I checked out the herbs and spice garden first. There were quite a number of Plain Tigers (Danaus chrysippus chrysippus) fluttering amongst the showy orange flowers.
Without the larval host plant Asclepias currasavica , Plain Tiger butterfly will not be thriving here.
Before the participants arriving at the park, I was chasing this Striped Blue Crow (Euploea mulciber mulciber). I had to be contented with this long-distance shot because it just refused to let me get closer.
There were many Mottled Emigrants (Catopsilia pyranthe pyranthe) fluttering around the host plant Seven Golden Candlesticks (Senna alata).

I have not seen anyone getting a proper upperside shot of this species so I was lucky to have a glimpse of its upperside.
While the group was moving towards the boardwalk, I spotted this Club Silverline (Spindasis syama terana ) resting on a leaf close to the ground. I quickly snapped some shots and alerted the group to take a look at this beauty.
The session ended around noon and I am glad to notice that many participants including a young boy were able to identify many common species of butterfly fluttering in the park , well done !

After a quick lunch at Changi Village, some of us went over to Pulau Ubin again, hoping to take some pictures of the Wanderer and a newly-discovered skipper Yellow Streak Darter (Salanoemia tavoyana) (see here)

We did see the Wandered (Pareronia valeria lutescens) wandered past us but none of us had a chance to fire any shot. A very quiet day with very few good shooting opportunities, I had to be contented with getting these shots here.

A permanent and common species at Ubin, Coconut Skipper (Hidari irava) is a shade-loving and fast-flying large skipper that you would not miss it.
As it common name suggests, Dwarf Crow (Euploea tulliolus ledereri ) is one of the smallest Euploea species found in Singapore. A solitary and lonely guy, this Dwarf Crow made me work very hard - stalking up and down along the Sensory Trail.
This small Lycaenid Lesser Darkie (Allotinus unicolor unicolor) was fluttering around some flowers of a Leea indica shrub.On our way to the Jetty, KY spotted this Plain Plusblue (Flos apidanus saturatus) ovipositing on a young leaf - it was a pity that I forgot to take a picture of the host plant.
To wrap up this post, here is a non-butterfly shot - an assassin bug (?) showing us how other smaller insects could become a prey of this merciless critter.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Fruitful Outing To Pulau Ubin Part 2

Continue from my previous blog post ....

We used to see a few Euploea species and Lycaenids at the coconut plantation at the junction of the Sensory Trail and Jalan Ubin - but not now anymore.

Instead, we encountered a solitary Common Sailor (Neptis hylas papaja) teasing us - but it only allowed me to take a long-distance shot.
Who can ignore the beauty of the Blue Pansy (Junonia orithya wallacei) ? Certainly not me - I had to stalk him for a while before I could get a shot.
Psyche (Leptosia nina malayana) likes to flutter at the ground level most of the time without stopping. I was lucky to see one very hungry Psyche feeding on the white Asystasia flowers - what a dangerous way of feeding,
Not far away from the beach where a newly walking path was created, I spotted this Dark Tit (Hypolycaena thecloides thecloides) perching on a sunlit spot.
KY and I decided to walk towards the starting point. Some Lantana flowers attracted a male Great Mormon (Papilio memnon agenor). I was rather surprised by his ability to fly quite well despite losing most of his left hindwing.
Shortly after shooting this pathetic Great Mormon, I heard KY calling Yellow Glassy Tiger - yes, when in flight it looked like one fluttering past us - my first impression was it didn't fly like a typical Glassy Tiger. Fortunately, it perched on a leaf but rather high up - this was my first record shot of this Yellow-Glassy-Tiger-mimic.
When she perched again on a leaf surface, I approached closer and from the viewfinder, I realised that this wasn't a Yellow Glassy Tiger - but I could not tell what it was. While KY was keeping an eye on the butterfly, I rushed to show Khew what I had just shot. He immediately identified this a female Wanderer (Pareronia valeria lutescens) - another re-discovery species (BC's blog write-up here) - what an exciting moment ! Incidentally, Simon also shot something new at the vicinity of the Wanderer.
We found a female Knight (Lebadea martha parkeri) attempting to oviposit her eggs on an Ixora shrub along the Sensory Trail.
Common Palmfly (Elymnias hypermnestra agina) is a common butterfly we can find in the parks, gardens and forest fringes easily. However, getting a good shot of this usually skittish and alert butterfly is always a challenge.
My last shot of the day was this female Baron (Euthalia aconthea gurda). She was seen flitting at the ground level. While she was taking a shot rest on a dry leaf just next to me, I instinctively snapped a quick shot.
I don't know what bug this is but it definitely looked interesting to me. This cooperative black and small-headed critter with a pair of long antennae offered me a green background for this shot.
It was a very fruitful outing for us - apart from the excitement of discovering and recording two new butterfly species on one day, we had lots of fun and enjoyed a nice meal together. Pulau Ubin definitely has lots of potential for nature lovers and conservationists to explore and discover new floral and fauna species.-Remember, if we lose the natural habitat of Ubin, we lose more than just biodiversity.

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Fruitful Outing to Pulau Ubin Part 1

On 26 Feb, a group of ButterflyCircle (BC) members gathered at a coffee shop near the Changi Point Jetty for breakfast. By 9 am, we were ready to board the bumboat to Pulau Ubin.

Ubin's weekends have always been teeming with people these days - a convincing proof to the authority that we should preserve Ubin as it is because citizens and foreigners alike prefer weekend hideouts in an unspoilt natural environment to relax and recharge themselves.

I was attracted by a bunch of showy pink flowers outside the Ubin Volunteer Centre. These flowers look like Rose Myrtle (Rhodomyrtus tomentosa)
I stopped at a grass patch opposite the Nparks nursery. An orange skipper was resting quite tamely in a shade. Not knowing what it was, I still approached closer and took some shots.
Whenever there was a chance I would try to take a shot of the upperside which is useful for identifying the species. Using elimination method, I concluded that this is likely a Detached Dart (Potanthus trachala tytleri) - a newly re-discovered species.
This is another brown skipper - a Caltoris species behaving rather lethargically.
I noticed a very pristine Malay Viscount (Tanaecia pelea pelea) testing the ground for its preferred puddling spots. Finally, it settled on a dry leaf for a while.
This black-and-yellow wasp was feeding on the Leea indica flowers. I guessed in a few days' time, there would be a lot more flowers on the same tree.
A pair of Ancyra Blue (Catopyrops ancyra) was also fluttering around the Leea indica flowers. Rather skittish initially, but with our patience of waiting they got used to our presence, happily feeding on a tiny flower.
I wondered why the Butterfly Hill was exceptionally quiet. Where had all the Tigers gone to ? While on my way to the Sensory Trail, I passed by a grass patch where we encountered at least half a dozen Blue Glassy Tigers (Ideopsis vulgarismacrina ) feeding on the small flowers.
No wonder so few Tigers were found on the Butterfly Hill - they preferred a new diet. I was quite surprised to see so many Tigers fluttering amongst these White Weeds (Ageratum conyzoides).

I hope I have identified, at least the genus of this wild weed correctly. I realised that Ageratum conyzoides belongs to the Asteraceae family - ok, now I understand because many butterflies and other insects like to feed on flowers from this family.
In part 2, I will tell you why this was a very fruitful outing for me and BC members.