Saturday, June 30, 2012

Butterflies of Batu Berangkai Waterfall @ Kampar

Batu Berangkai Waterfall is about 10-min drive from our hotel. On Day 3 (13 June) morning, we requested  our "chauffeur" uncle Lai to bring us there. Once we turned into a narrow paved slip road, we passed by an Orang Asli village, within minutes, we reached the foot of the waterfall. The waterfall must be quite popular with the locals as we bumped into several of them strolling down from the hilltop after they had done their morning workouts. 
The moment we selected our landing area, we noticed a Plain Banded Awl (Hasora vitta vitta) zipping around us. Though it was quite skittish and alert, there was a  moment when it actually stayed on the ground long enough for me to take some quick shots. 
This Maplet butterfly ( Chersonesia rahira rahira) was spotted on a hilltop when we decided to venture higher up the mountain. One additional apical black spot separates this from another look-alike, Chersonesia intemedia which was posted in my previous post.   
This is another shot of the same specimen. 
A long distance shot of a sunbathing Fulvous Pied Flat (Pseudocoladenia dan dhyana).

Another familiar butterfly the Blue Glassy Tiger (Ideopsis vulgaris macrina) didn't really excite me. While waiting for other species to appear, I took one quick shot of it.  
Dr Seow explained that without any sub-apical spot; a very broad white band on the forewing  and together with the wing edges along the apex, costa and termen forming right angles to each other suggest that this might be a female  Notocryota clavata. 
A female Koruthaialos sindu was spottted on a trail parallel to the waterfall and leading to the top of the mountain. I think CH may have a nice upperside shot.
When we were at the waterfall in the early morning, we could see different Birdwing butterflies fluttering past us without stopping - there wasn't anything there to attract them to come close to us.

On our way down the hill, we first met this Yellow Barred (Xanthotaenia busiris busiris) flitting and puddling on the tarred road. 
At one particular location, we encountered quite a few butterflies. One of the Yamflies (Loxura atymns fuconius) was pristine and quite cooperative - allowing us to take a few shots.
Another familiar Lycaenid, the Common Tit (Hypolycaena erylus teatus) was looking for a sweet spot on  the dry ground.  
According to Dr Seow, due to some missing spots, this shot looks more like an aberration of a Arhopala major
A different Arhopala specimen  shot at the same location (likely to be an Arhopala epimuta).

A very skittish and alert Malayan Sunbeam (Curetis santana malayica) kept teasing me - this was the only time I had a closer look at it.
I believe that the river banks would be a better place for us to encounter puddling butterflies but we could not find where it was without intruding into some private houses.

When uncle Lair knew that we wanted to visit the waterfall, he reminded us to be watchful of any sudden change of weather - we were sadden to hear from him that there was a drowning tragedy at this waterfall a few years ago ". (see here).

We had a good time and really enjoyed hunting and shooting butterflies at Kampar - thanks CH for your great accompany and suggestion. We will return to Kampar again or perhaps Gopeng next time. 

Thanks Dr Seow once again for identifying many of the species that I have posted.. 

Butterflies of Gua Tempurung @ Kampar Part 3

Continue from my previous  post

A shade-loving butterfly, The Malayan Ringlet (Ragadia makuta siponata) occasionally ventured out to an open area. This was shot along a walking path behind the reception counter.  
The Orchid Tit (Chliaria othona semanga) came down to a rocky site for a short while. It showed a great displeasure against the the flash light - so this shot was taken under the natural light source.  
There were quite a few Pieridae butterflies congragating and puddlling at a small  patch of sandy soil. This is a  Common Albatross (Appias abina abina) resting on a rock.
Another Common Albatross puddling at the stream.
A look-alike Albatross, this is the Lesser Albatross (Appias paulina distani) which was puddling together with quite a few other Pierids.
The most conspicuous and brilliantly coloured butterfly spotted on Day 3 afternoon was this lonely Orange Albatross (Appias nero figulna). It was with a group of Grass Yellows but it decided to move towards us and stayed on the ground for quite some time.
Another shot which exposes more orange patch of the forewing 
This Tree Yellow (Gandaca harina distani) was accompanied by the Orange Albattoss most of the time.  
There were quite a number of Yellows puddling at one little corner of the entrance to the cave. One of the species was the Anderson's Grass Yellow (Eurema andersonii andersonii) .
Of course, Lycaenids also joined in the fun of sipping nutrients from the ground. There were a few Jamides philatus subditus flitting around along the stream.
I would just take some shots of any Nacaduba species that I wasn't sure of, hoping that I had shot something I have not seen before. But, I didn't have such luck - according to Dr Seow from BC, this shot has all the features of a Rounded Sixline Blue (Nacaduba berenice icena).  
This tiny Lycaenid attracted my interest as I thought it was something new for me. Again, to my disappointment, it was just The Malayan (Megisba malaya sikkima) that we can find it in Singapore. 
Here is another male Black Prince (Rohana parisatis siamensis) that I managed to capture at the stream.
With a stronger flash, his uppersides don't look so dark - in fact this is not his actual colour seen by our eyes.
This is The Malayan Nawab (Polyura moorei) which came down to have fun with other butterflies. 
There were a few Lesser Zebras (Pathysa macareus perakensis) hanging around the cave - my first sighting and shooting of this species.
This Blue Baron (Euthalia mahadeva zichrina) didn't like to socialise with other puddling butterflies. Instead, it preferred dried leaves but not for long - it scooted off hastily. 
This Malayan Assyrian (Terinos clarissa malayanus) also preferred a different taste - it liked moisture on the rocks.  
Yes, skippers such as this Moore's Ace (Halpe porus) and Halpe hauxweli were found side-by-side enjoying themselves on the sandy ground also

I had a hard time chasing and stalking this Chersonesia intermedia intermedia behind the toilet. My persistence paid off as I managed to snap a few quick shots when it kept flapping its wings while "testing" the ground.
Patches of Smelly water on the cement floor behind the toilet attracted quite a number of puddling butterflies in a hot afternoon. Can you identify them ?
Yes, puddling butterflies offer us good shooting opportunities as you can see from these pictures posted  here. In my next post, I will show some butterflies taken at the Batu Berangkai waterfall. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Butterflies of Gua Tempurung @ Kampar Part 2

Continue from my last post.

The first species we encountered when we reached Gua Tempurung  was a pristine Colonel (Pandita sinope sinope). It perched from leaf to leaf and puddled occasionally.
 I was rather lucky to snap a few underside shots when it was "sipping" on a cement slab.
At the stream where the exit/entrance to the cave is, we saw a few White Dragontails (Lamproptera curius curius)  in the late afternoon.
It also puddled with openwings and stayed there for quite sometime.
The constant  breeze at the entrance to the cave was refreshing. The Plain Lacewing (Cethosia penthesilea methypsea) appeared there for a short while before it went into hiding. 
The Tufted Jungle King (Thauria aliris pseudaliris ) is a large Nymphalidae species whose preferred habitat is the forest understory. We were surprised to see this fellow resting on a brickwall before settling on a ginger leaf.    
Dr Seow from ButterflyCircle explained that since the orange band on the forewing reaching the costa, this skipper which was found at the shelter is Koruthaialos sindu sindu.
There were many black butterflies flitting around. Yes, they were the male Black Prince (Rohana parisatis siamensis). Though they were abundant they were extremely alert - I got a decent shot only on the last day afternoon.
The undersides of the males are nicer and he was completely intoxicated by a chicken bone found in the shelter where I recharged myself energy level with bread and "energy bars" .
The females look very different and are prettier then the males - an example of sexual dimorphism.  I spotted only two females on two different days - I guess they were too shy to come down to the ground level.    
This Poritia erycinoides phraatica appeared on Day 2 morning just behind the toilet. The iridescent blue of its uppersides was quite attractive. 
We saw a few Banded Marquis (Bassarona teuta rayana) flying past us a few times at the cave. But this fellow landed on a grass patch besides the toilet. 
After enough uptake of of nutrients from the cement floor behind the toilet, this Orange Gull (Cepora iudith malaya) perched on a leaf for a few seconds before it hurriedly scooted off.

Please stay tune for more butterfly species to be featured in my next post.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Butterflies of Gua Tempurung @ Kampar Part 1

CH and I went on a butterfly-shooting trip at Kampar  from 11-16 June. We travelled  by air this time (Firefly flight to Ipoh). It cost us RM60 to hire a cab taking us from Ipoh airport to The Grand Kampar Hotel. Upon our request, a friendly hotel counter helped us arranging with uncle Lai who became our "chauffeur " bringing us to Gua Tempurung and back to hotel at RM25 per trip.  

Let me begin to showcase some of the butterfly shots that I have photographed over a total of  two days at this popular caving site. 

You would never miss the magnificent flight and colour of a male Raja Brook's Birdwing (RBB) (Trogonoptera brookiana albescens ) especially when there were a few of them fluttering around. I was lucky to snap a few close range shots of a RBB resting on a leaf.
We usually encountered a few male RBBs puddling on a dirty and damp soil. Here is a shot of one of them .  
A single female RRB was feeding on a large hibiscus flower on Day 2 (12 June) morning. Flapping with a   high speed while feeding, she was too fast for me to  get any better shot than these two attempts .
A round of rapid firing produced a lucky but blur upperside shot.  
Another large and prominent butterfly fluttering around on two afternoons was the Malayan Birdwing (Troides amphrysus ruficollis). At least two individuals were loitering in the air and occasionally feeding on the red hibiscus flowers also. Getting a good shot of this female was also very tough as she never stayed still while feeding on the nectar.   
Here is another shot taken on Day 3 late afternoon.
In fact Common Birdwing (Troides helena cerberus) which is smaller in size in general, was also fluttering around in the late afternoon.  
We saw a Banded Peacock (Papilio palinurus palinurus) flew past us on Day 2 and I was lucky to spot it resting on a leaf high on a tree on Day 3 afternoon. But what a pity that I could not get an unobstructed view of  this magnificent butterfly. 
There were at least two Tailed Jays (Graphium agamemnon agamemnon) puddling together with the RBBs. This individual must have had enough nutrient solutions that it decided to rest and sunbathe in the late afternoon sun. 
This is a Common Jay (Graphium doson evemonides) perching on a leaf for a short rest in a very hot afternoon. 
An example of mimicry, Lesser Zebra (Pathysa macareus perakensis) looks rather similar to the distasteful Glassy Tiger butterfly species. But it actually belongs to the Swallowtail family.    
Some Red Helens (Papilio helenus helenus) were found puddling but I couldn't get a decent shot of it. Instead, this fellow was found feeding on some flowers behind the toilet. 
I will show other butterfly species in my next few posts. To be continued.