Sunday, January 1, 2012

Lepidopterans @ Bukit Brown

After an early lunch on 30 Dec 2011, I went to Bukit Brown to find out what butterflies and moths we can see in this huge abandoned cemetery ground.

There were at least half a dozen of Peacock Pansy (Junonia almana javana) frolicking in the sun at various spots. After a short passing shower, at the round-about, this pristine specimen was spotted perching on a blade of lalang grass in an unusual position of looking downwards.
When the sum was up again, it opened its wings fully on another perch.
This small and unattractive Lesser Grass blue (Zizina otis lampa) was fluttering and feeding on some wild flowers.
A few small lycaenids were fluttering non-stop around a big tree but this was the odd one - it preferred puddling on the damp soil. With this shot, I could safely say that those lycaenids were Tailless Line Blues (Prosotas dubiosa lumpura).
I walked on the tarred road most of the time, trying not to step on any tombs. I was tracking a fluttering lycaenid until it landed on a leaf - it turned out to be a Cycad Blue ( Chilades pandava pandava) - I was a bit disappointed.
A shy female Malayan Eggfly (Hypolimnas anomala anomala) didn't show me the best pose to picture her.
From far, I saw something taking off from a leaf and landed on another leaf nearby. Approaching closer, I was quite delighted to see that it was a Hieroglyphic Flat (Odina hieroglyphica ortina) but it was high up resting underneath a leaf directly above a tomb. I hesitated a while, thinking whether I should take a shot - at last, after paying respect to the dead, I stood in front of the tomb and took some quick shots.
A rather tattered Scarlet Flash (Rapala dieneces dieneces) suddenly appeared, feeding on some dry flowers or perhaps fruits while I was monitoring a Blue Pansy (Junonia orithya wallacei ) fluttering nearby.
I arrived at a muddy dirt trail branching off from the tarred road. Being adventurous this time, I decided to find out where it will lead me to. A few minutes later, a female Baron (Euthalia aconthea gurda) decided to play hide-and-seek with me. Thanks to the bird droppings, I managed to get a closer shot.
While continued walking on this shady trail, my phone showed I was moving towards Mount Pleasant Road.. I spotted a few Centaur Oakblue (Arhopala centaurus nakula) but they were extremely alert and skittish so I was not able to take any shot. At the same location, I noticed an orange skipper perching with open wings. Again, it didn't welcome my presence. Butterflies spotted along this trail were extremely skittish and sensitive to movement - I wonder why ?

Finally, I managed to get two record shots of the skipper. Dr Seow has identified this as the Potanthus juno.
It had the habit of opening its wings whenever it settled on a new perch. I was trying very hard to get an underside wing shot - this is the best I could get.
Next, I met a brown skipper - the forewing spots indicate that this is a Contiguous Swift (Polytremis lubricans lubricans).
This should be a Taractrocera archias quinta.
A solitary Malayan Lascar (Lasippa tiga siaka) came down to tease me. It never stayed still for me to get a better shot.
There were many Bush Browns - Mycalesis species at Bukit Brown. I think these three shots here are all the Dark Brand Bush Brown (Mycalesis mineus macromalayana).
According to Dr Seow, this is Mycalesis perseoides perseoides.
The encounter of the Blue Glassy Tiger was a bit surprise to me - again, an uncooperative guy which refused to stay still longer.
I didn't find many moths - here is a shot of one tiny but beautiful metalmark micro moth which I came across along an uphill trail.. It does look a bit different from what I usually saw (eg here) Another brilliantly coloured and tiny moth - I could see many of them congregating at one particular location.
Another micro moth hiding underneath a leaf hanging above me.
Here are four super long-distance shots to wrap up this blog post and show that there were quite a number of butterfly species we could find in Bukit Brown. In fact, I missed taking a shot on at least half a dozen of other butterfly species including one lycaenid which looked new to me.

A couple of Common Mormon (Papilio polytes romulus) - the male kept chasing and "harassing" the female which was more interested in getting the nectar.
A Knight (Lebadea martha parkeri) "leaping off" as its initial flight pattern.
Two Plain Nawabs (Polyura hebe plautus ) enjoying a dry rambutan meal.
Finally, a lonely Autumn Leaf butterfly (Doleschallia bisaltide) feeding on the Mile-a-Minute flowers.
It was a long outing with a purpose - I wanted to photograph and record as many critters as possible. Very soon, exhumations of graves, road surveyings and heavy machinery may change Bukit Brown completely - the lush greenery, a bird sanctuary, a peaceful and tranquil natural heritage with rich Chinese culture (the part on paying respect to the demised) and historical significance will be severely affected or even gone completely once the government authority goes ahead with the plan of constructing a new road that cuts through this cemetery ground in 2013. I believe we have the wisdom to solve the so called traffic congestion problem without sacrificing Bukit Brown so soon.

In my next post, I will continue to feature other critters and wild flowers found at Bukit Brown.

Wishing all the readers a Happy New Year.

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