Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Close Encounter With a Hornbill @ Pulau Ubin

I decided to go for a solo outing to Pulau Ubin on a fine Saturday morning (12 Jan). As usual, I took a slow walk towards the Butterfly Hill.

My best high speed shot of a female Common Mormon (Papilio polytes romulus) when feeding furiously on a cluster of purple Duranta flowers.

A flowering Leea indica shrub attracted some Glassy Tiger butterflies. Though this Striped Black Crow (Euploea eyndhovii gardineri) was my main focus, it was rather shy and   kept feeding high on the tree.     
There were many Blue Glassy Tigers (Ideopsis vulgaris macrina) feeding on the shrub but I wasn't very keen on taking more shots on them.  
A couple of Common Tigers (Danaus genutia genutia) was busy feeding on some Bidens flowers on a slope.  
The rarest of the five Tiger butterflies, the Black Veined Tiger (Danaus melanippus hegesippus) took a short rest on a leaf before it fluttered off hurriedly.     
This is a late instar larva of the Mottled Emigrant (Catopsilia pyranthe pyranthe) which was found on a Seven Golden Candlestickes (Senna alata) leaf. 
Sensory Trail was my another hunting ground for critters. I was quite  lucky to see a rather elusive permanent resident of Pulau Ubin, the Common Jay (Graphium doson evemonides), attempting to puddle along a dirt track. I guessed the ground was too dry so it took off frequently - this was a quick snap shot of the moment when it landed in front of me at a distance away. 
The high perch of this large dragonfly attracted my attention I didn't recall I have seen it before in Ubin. Is this Camacinia gigantea ? I was quite puzzled by its hindwing markings.
The Coconut Skipper (Hidari irava) can be spotted quite easily in Ubin if we know its habitat and behaviour.
This time, I noticed that some wild spots along the Sensory Trail have been converted for cultivating herbs and fruit-tree plantings and the number of butterflies that I could see has dwindled a lot as well. So, I decided to head back to the Butterfly Hill. Wow, I almost exclaimed for joy. An Oriental Piped-hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris) was perching on a tree trunk less than 10 metres away.       
I had to step backwards and tiled my camera to capture its long tail on the frame.
It picked up a clump of soil and flew away. I wonder what was the purpose of  the soil ? 
This orange skipper perched on a blade of grass. It looks like The Palm Dart (Telicota augias augias) ??
This may be the The Common Palm Dart (Telicota colon stinga) or T. linna ?  
I believe this was my first shot of a small and interesting-looking cricket.
Today is the last day of the Year of the Dragon. On the eve of a new Lunar Year of the Snake, let me wish all Chinese readers of the blog, 身体健康、万事如意.


  1. Amazing pictures! Especially the Hornbill and skippers. Really impressive to get such clear pictures of the Hornbill! How close did you get? About the hornbill carrying the lump of mud: Once mating is done the female starts sealing herself in the cavity using mud. The made feeds the female through a narrow slit in the sealed cavity where she lays eggs and even sheds her feathers. This they supposedly do as a defence against predators. Liked your post. Keep posting

  2. Thanks for your kind comments. I was lucky - the Hornbill was about 10 - 15 m away from me - close enough for me to take some shots using a 180mm macro lens. I know very little about birds and their behaviour. Many thanks for your explanations of the behaviour.