Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Long Hike Into The Forest

Upper Seletar Reservoir (USR) Park seemed to be the best butterfly-hunting location during the past few weeks. So, on a nice Saturday morning, I was again looking out for critters and hoping for surprises along the forest trails.  

A pair of mating flies (not sure what these flies are)  perched right in front of me but beneath a leaf while I was standing besides a grass patch outside the golf-driving range.
I noticed a a tiny black ant "sleeping" on a  flower stem of  a kind of grass.
Usually, I seldom walk on the shady and  litter-filled trail besides the carpark nearest to the golf-driving range. For a change, I went in there. Strolling forward and chasing away some mosquitoes "attacking" me, I noticed  a female Archduke on the ground. A shot from far suggested it was a Yellow Archduke (Lexias canescens pardalina) - the rarest of the three Lexias species found here. 
 What a waste ! she was  always facing me and just too shy to stay longer for me to snap a better shot.
A male Black Tipped Archduke (Lexias dirtea merguia) flew past me at the ground level and landed on a dry leaf on a familiar trail I always explore.
At a grass patch at my favourite spot,  I saw this brown skipper resting on a blade of grass. Except for the morning breeze, it behaved perfectly for me to get closer taking a few shots. Highly resembling the Small Branded Swift (Pelopidas mathias mathias) but without a cell spot on the underside hindwing, it looks like the Formosan Swift (Borbo cinnara).
At the same vicinity, a male Palm Dart (Telicota augias augias) also rested on a leaf surface in a shady quiet corner.
While waiting and searching at the Ixora bushes, I saw Simon and Yano, one after another moving towards my direction. At the round-about, we decided to venture deep into the forest. When this large red-eyed skipper perched , I instinctively squeezed off two shots. 
We continued to move forwards. A rather tame Sumatran Gem (Poritia sumatrae sumatrae) was waiting for us.      
It just fluttered around the area and gave us a few more shots.
I observed that whenever it settled on a new perch, it would open its wings a few times. This is an  opportune shot of its upper sides.
Deep in the forest, I spotted a few Dark Posies (Drupadia theda thesmia). This was shot at one of the highest points in the middle of the forest where another Yellow Archduke was seen too,
A skittish fellow found in the deep forest while we were on our way out,  the Shining Plushblue (Flos fulgida singhapura) is considered a  rare lycaenid.    
I was lucky to spot another Flos species, the Bifid Plushblue (Flos diardi capeta) found at the second trail when we came back there again. It disappeared completely after some shots.
A long but exciting outing indeed.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Lornie Trail to the Ranger Station

On 4 Aug Mr Yano and I were scheduled to meet at Lornie Trail for an outing. I set off early and took a slow walk along the familiar forest trails towards the reservoir edge. 

At the exercise corner, a skittish Suffused Flash (Rapala suffusa barthema) attracted my attention. I was lucky enough to take a shot before it scooted off at a high speed to the canopy .
As usual, I could see some common skippers feeding on the flowers of  Leea indica  at one particular location. This is a Yellow Veined Lancer (Pyroneura latoia latoia), a very common forest skipper that seems to like these tiny flowers very much.     
A slight turn of the camera produced a different background. 
Another common skipper is the Chestnet Bob ( Lambrix salsala salsala). Apart from wild flowers, they  also love to visit the Leea indica shrubs.   
There were nothing special for me to stay longer at this spot so I moved on. At the reservoir edge where some Mile-a-Minutes flowers were growing but less abundant then before, I encountered a brown skipper displaying a familiar behaviour - opening its wings whenever it was on a perch. I am quite sure this is The Contiguous Swift (Polytremis lubricans lubricans). 
Here is an upperside shot.
The Yellow Grass Dart (Taractrocera archias quinta)  is a very a small skipper which also likes to open the wings under the morning sun.
With a little patience, I finally took a shot of its undersides in a breeze.
There were a few orange skippers zipping around and chasing each other. Any shot of  these skippers would add excitement as well as  confusion when I tried to figure out what it was. I guess this shot is a Lesser Dart (Potanthus omaha omaha ).
All these skippers love to show off their uppersides in the morning.
A Lynn spider was lurking nearby, waiting patiently to attack  its preys.  
We spotted a few hyper active Rustics (Cupha erymanthis lotis)  along the Rifle Range Trail. One of them was displaying the ovipositing behaviour on its larval host plant, Flacourtia rukam but we could not find any egg. Instead, I found an early instar larva.
The number of species we saw and shot was not proportional to the distance we had covered. Nevertheless, we still enjoyed the walk and the company on a lovely Saturday morning.  

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Archdukes @ USR

I could not join a group of  ButterflyCircle  members carrying out a butterfly survey at the zoo on 28 July. However, I did manage to find time for my weekly outing at Upper Seletar Reservoir (USR)  Park  later in the morning. 

My first shot of the monring was a rather old Green Imperial (Manto hypoleuca terana) - thanks to Yi Kai for  telling me that it was hanging out at the Ixora bushes when I met him along the forest trail. 
The forest understory is the preferred habitat of the Common Faun (Faunis canens arcesilas). A common forest species, Common Faun usually can be spotted flitting and puddling along the forest trail.   
I encountered a few Archdukes feeding on leaf  litter on the forest ground. They were fast on the wings, alert and scooted off whenever I approached them closer. Knowing their behaviour, I patiently stood still and waited for them to land on the ground again.  Yes, they returned to the same spots, giving me chances to snap a few quick shots. Getting some shots of  a pair of pristine Black Tipped Archduke (Lexias dirtea merguia) really made my day.  
Of the three Lexias species we can find here, The Archduke ( Lexias pardalis dirteana) is the most abundant in our forest - the orange antennae tips differentiate this species from the other two lookalikes.   Unfortunately they were not at their best appearance.    
Many of us have not shot or seen a Yellow Archduke (L. canescens pardalina) for a very long time. I hope, it will show up in the near future.