Sunday, February 26, 2012

What Critters Around the NIE Pond ?

There is a small pond at the NIE (National Institute of Education) campus in Jurong. I decided to take a good look at this pond and its surrounding areas on a rather cloudy Saturday morning (18 Feb). Though I had taken some casual shots many months ago during a vacation period, I was more prepared and fully equipped to find out more this time.
Let me begin by showing some critters found around the pond. You will not miss this prominent assassin bug as it is slow-flying and brilliantly coloured.
This beautiful red dragonfly is a male Crocothemis servilia, quite abundant around the pond. We could approach it closer on an early and cool morning.
Apart from building webs to trap insects, some other spiders are endowed with special offensive skills such as lurking amongst flowers or foliage to hunt for their preys. It is not easy to spot a crab spider when it is well-blended with its surroundings. This poor Chestnut Bob (Iambrix salsala salsala ) was killed by a crab spider hiding in some
Duranta flowers.This is a Pale Grass Blue (Zizeeria maha serica). It is a small and rather drab-looking butterfly that you will probably miss it if you don't pay attention. I am sure the dotted patterns on the underside wings look nice.
I was rather fortunate to find a tame Peacock Pansy (Junonia almana javana) resting on a leaf.
When I was about to explore the vegetation along Nanyang Crescent, I saw this female Blue Glassy Tiger diligently looking for the correct host plant for laying her eggs - sadly, she could not find any around the pond so she decided to take a rest.I also saw a green damselfly at the pond but it was too far away for me to take a shot without getting myself wet. I am sure there are many critters around the pond and its nearby nursery areas - I will find time to explore and look for more critters before the year ends.

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Short Outing to MNT

On a fine Saturday morning (11 Feb), I went for a short outing to a quiet corner of MacRitchie Nature Trail (MNT).

My first shot of the morning was this Chocolate Demon (Ancistroides nigrita maura). I spotted at least two of them zipping around and one of them finally decided to sunbathe on a Hairy Clidemia (Clidemia hirta) leaf.
It showed me another posture before it took off hastily.
I usually encountered the male of one of our smallest dragonflies, the Scarlet Pygmy (Nannophya pygmaea) at another location in the forest. So it was a pleasant surprise for me to see this female along a stream here.
I nearly missed this small damselfly which perched on a twig on the opposite side of the Scarlet Pygmy dragonfly.
Looking around for its prey on a leaf surface, this jumping spider was quite alert and refused to stay still.
On my way out, I noticed a Palm Bob (Suastus gremius gremius) taking a short rest on a Hairy Clidemia leaf.
This orange skipper belongs to the genus Potanthus . I have ruled out P. omaha as the veins of both wings are not prominently darken. I will post this shot at the ButterflyCircle forum to seek confirmation of the species
Due to a lunch commitment, I had to leave early. I wise I could have stayed longer as more skippers came out to sunbathe around 10 plus.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Quiet Morning @ USR

I met up with Yano on 4 Feb at Upper Seletar Reservoir (USR) Park to pass him a copy of C&P4 (The Butterflies of The Malay Penisular by A.S. Corbet and H.M.Pendlebury, 4th Edition). I reached the park early and checked out the surrounding area of the golf driving range.

There were a few crane flies resting very tamely on some leaves.
At the same location, some ants and a few small flowers of a Noni tree (Morinda citrifolia) attracted my attention. Here is a detailed write up on this evergreen shrub.
There was a bunch of red flower buds nearby which also attracted some ants. I have not identified these flowers yet.
On one particular Singapore Rhododendron shrub near the round-about, I spotted quite a few hairy moth larvae. I have seen this moth larva a few times but I am not sure what species this is.
We went to some of the usual spots to hunt for butterflies. But it was a quiet day, we didn't get to see many species. This is a Telicota species with a nice perch on a fern near the reservoir edge.
At the same place where the orange skipper was. an intimate pair of Common Three Ring (Ypthima pandocus corticaria) was resting on the same type of fern - they positioned themselves at a difficult angle for us to take a good shot.
Nice meeting Yano again at USR. Being an adventurous and knowledgeable butterfly enthusiast, he will record and shoot many species of butterflies soon.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Dancing in the Wind @ Pasir Ris Park Part 2

Continue from my previous post.

Apart from the the Euploea species which really attracted the audience's attention especially the King Crows (Euploea phaenareta castelnaui), our main "dancers" around the flowering Syzygium tree, other butterflies also joined in the fun of "performing" and contributing to the excietment of a very dynamic "stage".
At least three Painted Jezebel ( Delias hyparete metarete ) were fluttering at the tree top which is their usual habit.
Between moments of chasing and frolicking amongst themselves, occasionally they would come down to the eye level to feed - this would be the best opportunity to snap a shot of a very alert and active species. Here is a lucky shot of a male.
There were quite a few Blue Glassy Tiger (Ideopsis vulgaris macrina) feeding furiously.
I wasn't too keen shooting the "Tigers" . As a result, I noticed that this was the only shot on the Dark Glassy Tiger (Parantica agleoides agleoides) which was quite abundant.
This is a female Baron (Euthalia aconthea gurda) feeding very tamely - she just refused to come down.
There were other smaller butterflies enjoying the "buffet lunch" on the tree. A solitary Common Grass Yellow (Eurema hecabe contubernalis) displayed how it could balance in the air while feeding.
This rather tame Copper Flash (Rapala pheretima sequeira) stayed on the flowers for a long time. In fact, I could see at least three of them "gluing" to the flowers high up in the tree.
When I was about to leave in the afternoon, a Black Veined Tiger (Danaus melanippus hegesippus) showed up but it was too shy to come down for me to take a better shot.
In fact, many other critters such as bees, wasps, beetles on the swaying flowers and skippers zipping in and out with lighting speeds in the wind added lots of excitement and awe to the "life performance". For those who have missed the spectacular scene, take note of any flowering trees in the park next time, you may find a new "stage" soon. But having a stage is not enough, we need a good number of different performers, big or small to put up a grand and memorable show.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Dancing in the Wind @ Pasir Ris Park Part 1

Despite a rather windy and overcast Saturday morning (29 Jan ), I took a train down to Pasir Ris Park (PRP). After an early and quick "Mee Siam" lunch at the bus interchange, I followed the train's track heading towards the park to look for flowering trees. Yes, the Syzygium trees growing near Carpark C had begun to flower slightly early this year (see last year).

At least three King Crows (Euploea phaenareta castelnaui) were busy feeding on one of the trees which bloomed profusely.
I like the creamy background created by clusters of flowers but the spots on the wings of this shot puzzle me - I guess this is another specimen of a King Crow.
A permanent resident at the park, the King Crow butterfly is the largest Euploea species that can be found in Singapore. It can be regularly sighted near our mangroves areas where the larval host plant - the Pong Pong Tree (Cerbera odollam), a fast growing evergreen tree is abundant. Whenever King Crows perch on a new landing for feeding, they tend to flap their winds initially - this was how I managed to get a few open-winged shots. The King Crow butterfly behaves like many other species in the Euploea genus. They are not a very fast flyer because birds and other predators know that they are unpalatable. It was a magnificent scene to see when these Crows and other buuterflies dancing and feeding in the wind, displaying all sorts of stunts and movement.
I could only spot one Spotted Black Crow (Euploea crameri bremeri ) feeding from flower to flower - but getting a good open wing shot was extremely difficult.
This is its underside shot when it was high up.
Striped Black Crow (Euploea eyndhovii gardineri) appeared for a short while or was it hiding high on the tree ?
A Striped Blue Crow (Euploea mulciber mulciber) showed up around 2 pm. Rather skittish bugger, it never remained in a good pose for me to get a good shot. These and other butterflies put up an amazing show. The sky (pity that it was not blue) provided the backdrop for the stage which was the flowering tree. The dancing butterflies choreographed their movement that we could never predict thus creating a very dynamic and exciting scene which attracted some passersby to stop for a moment to take a closer look. Some stood there for a long time while others had a glimpse. A couple with their two young kids who were quite amazed by the scene decided to use a handphone camera to snap a few shots. After a short conversation with them, the man asked me "why are they called Crows, they are more beautiful than the actual crows ? " A very good question that I have not got the answers !

Friday, February 3, 2012

First Day of the Dragon Year @ BSP

As usual, I visited my in-laws at BSP (Bah Soon Pah) on the first day (22 Jan) of the Dragon Year. After lunch, the weather looked rather good - I could not resist the temptation of going outdoor to see what critters were out there welcoming the start of a new lunar year.

There is a wasteland at the end of the road - my usual hunting ground at BSP. I spotted quite a few pristine Bush Hoppers (Ampittia dioscorides camertes) flitting around a patch of grassland.
Another individual perched rather elegantly on a blade of grass.
I can never be sure of what this brown skipper is - the ochreous brown underside hindwings without any markings suggest that it may be a Caltoris species.
The Cabbage White (Pieris canidia canidia) butterfly is a permanent resident at BSP. However, I notice that the population has been dwindling over the years.
This female Cabbage White was raising her abdomen when a male was trying to "harass" her.
Within half an hour, the weather changed completely, dark clouds gathered overhead rapidly, the sky darken and the size of the rain drops became noticeable. Here is a quick shot of a very beautiful pink dragonfly - a male Trithemis aurora taken before the heavy downpours.
Heavy thunderstorms dominated almost the whole afternoon. I had no where to go except watching TV programmes and chatting with my niece's boy friend - a fine young gentleman (sorry, I have forgotten his name) from Barcelona, Spain who is working in London.