Sunday, June 30, 2013

Butterflies@ Khao Yai National Park, Thailand

An afternoon AirAsia flight brought BJ and I to Don Mueang (DMK) airport in Bangkok  on 7 June. The journey from the airport to Golden Pearl hotel was about an hour by taxi which cost us 400 Baht. We left rather early the next morning. After a two-hour smooth drive on clean and nice Bangkok expressways with a short breakfast stop at a small town, we were at the gate of the Khao Yai National Park (KYNP).
We stopped on the road side where a shelter for bird-watching spot is.
While walking up the slope, a Common Tit (Hypolycaena erylus teatus) was on the tarred road welcoming us. 
This Purple Leaf Blue (Amblypodia anita anita) came and went off rather quickly. A new species for me but it never gave me good chances for more shots.
There were many Plain Blue Crows (Eupolea modesta modesta) at the viewing-point shelter where we met three Thai lady birders. I hope we didn't scare them away when they saw us lying on the floor shooting.
There were a few rather pristine male Royal Assyrians (Terinos terpander intermedia) - the undersides don't look much different from our local sub-species robertsia
However, the uppersides were quite distinctively different - the orange patches on the hindwing were prominent.
A few Sullied Brown Sailor (Neptis nata adipala) were flitting around in the shelter but they were rather choosy looking for a nice spot for its nutrient uptake.
This underside shot was taken when it was flapping its wings. 
We didn't stay at the hut for long. We continued moving deeper into the park. Our vehicle stopped near a waterlogged mud track where we could see quite a number of butterflies puddling there. We were spoilt for choices but these White Dragontail (Lamproptera curius curius) butterflies were my interest.
Here is another shot with a bubble at the tip of the abdomen.
There were at least two Paris Peacocks (Papilio paris paris) puddling at those spots where getting a clear and nice shot was impossible. Unfortunately they were rather worn out.
When this Striped Blue Crow (Eupolea mulciber mulciber) was cooperative, I could not resist taking a few shots.
We arrived at a grassland around noon. A rather active and pristine Autumn Leaf (Doleschallia bisaltide pratipa) was flitting around. I was rather intrigued by the "tail" of this Autumn Leaf as it appears to be much longer.
Thannks Mr Yano and his Japanese friend for spotting this pristine and beautiful Common Silverline (Cigaritis vulcanus  tavoyanus) on a blade of grass for us to shoot.
See who was in action shooting the Silverline ?
There were at least two Club Peaks (Libythea myrrha sanguinalis). This fellow tempted me for so long under the hot sun but finally it felt tired as well and allowed me taking some shots.

A less appealing butterfly was flitting in a bush while I was taking cover under the shade of a big tree. From where I stood, I snapped a shot of The Common Bush Brown (Mycalesis perseus tabitha).
It was not surprise for me to find a Junonia species around a grassland. A solitary Lemon Pansy was feeding on the wild flowers.
Yellows are difficult to shoot in general especially in a breezy and hot environment.  I had a hard time getting a good shot of any of them. This is believed to be the Eurema brigitta hainana, a different subspecies of our No Brand Grass Yellow.
We drove further up the hill and reached the last point where our car was allowed to park. The Dark Blue Tiger (Tirumala septentrionis septentrionis) could be seen almost everywhere here.
We walked up the hill along a tarred road. Some tiny lycaenids were flitting close to the ground. I think this is a Pale Grass Blue (Zizeeria maha maha), a different subspecies from our local m. serica.
On a stretch of dirt road,  a few lycaenids, likely to be the Pointed Line Blue (Ionolyce helicon merguiana)  were puddling but there were very active.
While having a quick "lunch" on the hill before we headed for Kaeng Krachan National Park (KKNP) I took a few shots of another Royal Assyrian.
On our way out of the park in the early afternoon, we came to a spot where some Pagoda flowers attracted a few large butterflies. On the ground, they all appeared to be the same species to me.This is The Black and White Helen (Papilio nephelus chaon)
When it stretched its wings for a moment, I snapped a quick shot.
Some Red Helens (Papilio helenus helenus)  were resting in the shade.
There were some interesting butterflies near the vicinity of  the Pagoda flowers. Sightings of at least two Red Imperial (Suasa lisides lisides) created some excitement for us. A very skittish and alert fellow was flitting around - this was a lucky shot when it just happened to perch in front of me.
Not far away from where I shot the Red Imperial, Yano's friend pointed this larva to me - I have no clue at all ?
The Miletus species was flitting erratically for a while before it settled down.
This  Small Staff Sergeant (Athyma zeroca galaesus) liked to stop on top of the car, teasing me a few times before I could managed a record shot when it rested on a leaf.
The Spotted Snow Flat (Tagiades menaka menaka) was spotted laying an hairy egg.
We had to leave KYNP early as we need about four hours drive to reach KKNP. On our way out, we met Mr Yano's friend again who told him that he shot an interesting-looking Arhopala species laying eggs. While waiting to see the Arhopala to appear again, I spotted this Common Plum Judy ( Abisara echerius). 
Finally, we managed to a few record shots of this female Arhopala perimuta regina.
Many thanks to Mr Yano who made the trip to KYNP possible for us. In my next blog post, I will feature what I have photographed in KKNP.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Rare Lycaenid at Upper Peirce Reservoir Park

Thanks BJ for giving me a lift to the Upper Peirce Reservoir Park on a nice Saturday morning (1 June). We ventured deep into forest but the muddy and waterlogged forest trail make it very difficult for us to move on without getting our self wet. We decided to backtrack and head towards the piped line trail. 

I noticed a butterfly-like moth hopping across my path and landed on a leaf in a deep forest shade - a quick shot was enough for me as I didn't have a strong interest in photographing moths.  
Except for the Common Faun (Faunis canens arcesilas), we hardly saw any other butterflies inside the  forest.
The Arhopala major major is a rather common tailless forest denizen - sometimes we could see a few of them flitting around in shady parts of the forest.
Arhopala aurea is a very rare species - my last sighting of it was a few years ago at USR. When it was flitting around, the metallic iridescent green upperside was simply magnificent. We were very lucky to encounter a very pristine specimen. 
This shot shows a glimpse of the green.
There are too many look-alike Arhopala species. Dr Seow from ButterflyCircle has identified it as the  Arhopala sublustris ridleyi. 
On our way out, I spotted another lycaenid - a Yellow Flash (Rapala nasaka amba) was hiding between leaves. Pity that the fading colour of the wings didn't do justice to the true beauty of this cute and pretty species. 
While strolling along the tarred road towards the carpark, a Chestnut Angle (Odontoptilum angulatum angulatum) appeared and perched on the tip of a leave at first but it was finally attracted by bird droppings on a dry leave. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Some Critters and Flowers @ Gardens by the Bay

Continue from the last post.

Besides butterflies, beautiful flowers and other critters were my subjects for photographing in this outing. This dragonfly which looks like a female Diaplacodes trivialis was shot on the ground behind the dragonfly lake.
There were quite a number of  red dragonflies - the male Crocothemis servilia.
There were too many variety of flowers in the garden. When there were no butterflies or critters around, I would take some shots of those colourful and unique-looking ones such as these Jetropha integerrima flowers. 
These small star-shaped red flowers are attractive.
This is a kind of shield bug I believe - there were many of them found at different Ixora flowers. Thanks Pat for identifying it as a kind of Sting bug (Catacanthus incarnatus).
Another specimen - the "human-face" markings seemed to be smiling at me .
The cluster of small and beautiful flowers stimulated my curiosity - but what is this ?
The light purple star-shaped petals of the Crown flowers (Calotropics gigantea) look unique due to the "crown-like" structure at the centre of the flowers.
Another type of flowers.
A wide variation of colours and shapes of the flowers in the garden would help create a positive and lasting impression in the minds of the visitors.   
I didn't see many blue flowers - this prominent and showy flower with a white pattern resembling a miniature flower at the centre was interesting. 
A changeable lizard (Calotes versicolor) crawled along a tree trunk and paused there a while for me to snap a few shots. (Correction: this is the American brown anole a newly introduced species. More info about this "foreign talent" can be found at Thanks Marcus). 
On my way back towards the Bayfront Station, I saw this red dragonfly - Neurothemis fluctuansm perching on a slender blade of grass.
Lastly, let me showed two record shots of two common birds - a pair of woodpeckers high up on a tree.
Is this a Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus  goiavier) ?
here were some relatively "wild" areas I had not explored at GB - this would provide me with sufficient motivation to visit GB again in the near future.