Friday, June 15, 2012

Butterflies of Panti Forest Part 1

While CH and I were having our late lunch at the usual eating place after our shooting session at Upper Seletar Reservoir Park on 2 June, the idea of going to Panti Forest was mooted by him. Within 15 minutes,  a trip to Panti on 3 June (Sunday) was confirmed by four of us as I happened to be free on that particular Sunday.

Thanks for CH picking me up around 6:40 am and also thanks to the efficiency of the customs officers on both sides of the causeway, by 8:30 am we were on a new highway heading towards Panti Forest.

A usual practice we have is to enjoy a "bak ku teh" "brunch" at a roadside stall at about three-quarter way point of our journey. The number of cars and a  large crowd startled us - we had to wait quite a while for a vacant table and our food to be served.

We set off for our destination about an hour later. When the car turned into a dirt road situated  between two immense World War II concrete bunkers, we saw a few Singaporean cars and a group of birders armed with their "big guns" waiting for their targets to appear. The moment we reached the "base camp", we put on our leech socks and sprang into actions. 

Though not strikingly coloured, to me The Constable (Dichorragia nesimachus deiokes) is a very pretty Nymphalid butterfly found in the rain forests.   
It was attracted by a pool of shit covered by the dry leaf. Though the undersides are not as attractive as the uppersides, it was good to have a record of how the undersides look like.  
There were a few Malay Yeoman (Cirrochroa emalea emalea ) butterflies flitting around and pudlling on the ground as well as on some dry woods at the base camp. 
This rather pristine specimen came down puddling in the early afternoon.
The uppersides of the The Malay Yeoman are predominantly orange with a thick apical and marginal black border on the forewings above. 
The Great Assyrian (Terinos atlita teuthras ) was quite abundant at the base camp as well. There were at three individuals teasing us for a shot.
It was a pity that this specimen that I shot was not pristine
A solitary Sunbeam (Curetis tagalica jopa ) came down to look for nutrients on the ground. It was quite skittish and this was a lucky shot when it happened to land in from of me. 
A glimpse of  the orange uppersides would be useful to identify the species with certainty.
Another shot when it appeared again.
The Common Yeoman (Cirrochroa tyche rotundata ) was very alert at first - it never allowed me to get closer to it. But once it found its sweet spot, it stayed there for quite a while, giving me opportunities to snap some shots even though it didn't stop flapping its wings.
Taking an underside shot was not that easy as it may seem to be - I had to be fast and precise on the shuttle.    
Cyrestis themire themire is a small butterfly and it looks whitish when it is in flight. After my persistent chasing, I finally got a shot along the main track.  
Another individual specimen was found at the base camp. It displayed the behaviour of  hiding beneath the leaf  whenever it perched. Getting a good shot was a huge challenge.   
It finally found a nice spot on the ground and CH and I got some shots on this bugger.

To be continued. 

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