Friday, September 27, 2013

Serenity and Diversity @ Lower Peirce Reservoir Park

It has been quite a long time since my last visit to the Lower Peirce Reservoir Park. I dropped by this easily-accessible reservoir park on a Saturday morning (24 Aug). My first reaction was wow, what a cool place and there were not many people here.
This pretty Malayan Plum Judy (Abisara savitri savitri)  landed on the boardwalk for less than a second before perching on a leaf. I approached closer and took two shots before it disappeared towards the reservoir edge. 
There were not many butterflies along the boardwalk so I took a closer look at dragonflies.I spotted a few small damselflies either resting or hovering in the air at one shady corner along the boundary of the reservoir. 
At another spot, I spotted this white juvenile damselfly - I have no idea what these two damselflies are.
Strolling on a section of the boardwalk which is built above the water, I arrived at a picnic ground fronting the reservoir. Watching some kids having fun with their parents on the groundsheets, I realised how fast years have passed. I lingered awhile, looking out for insects. Yes, you would not miss this mating squash bug having a good time on the red and prominent fruits.     

I am not sure what these fruits are but they certainly enhanced the composition of this shot - what a pity the mating pair moved away quickly.
This carpenter bee kept me busy for some time. This is my best attempt out of many shots.
This Malayan Lascar (Lasippa tiga siaka) displayed the typical pre-ovipositing behaviour - loitering around, making short perches and testing out the plants nearby.
Finally, she oviposited a single egg on the tip of a young Erycibe tomemtosa leaf.
Near the carpark, a solitary Small Branded Swift (Pelopidas mathias mathias) was taking a short break after feeding on the Ixora flowers.
There were many Cycad Blues (Chilades pandava pandava) fluttering amogst and feeding on flowers of the Yellow Creeping Daisy (Wedelia trilobata).  
Apart from the lush vegetation and the high canopy surrounding the reservoir, the serenity coupled with the morning breeze, the occasional bird melodies and the continuous cicada songs really changed my view of this reservoir park. I must come here more often to immerse myself into this calm and peaceful environment.    

Friday, September 20, 2013

From MacRitchie Nature Trail to USR

I am glad to know that one of my current PGDE (Sec) students WH has an interest in macro photography. With his initiation, we went for a hike with our cameras along the MacRitchie Nature Trail (MNT) on a fine Saturday morning (17 Aug).

We saw this Glossy Starling feeding on a big tree full of fruits -I am yet to find out the name of this tree
A small but hairy leaf beetle (Trichochrysea hirta) was found along the MNT.
We walked for a long time before spotting a Banded Yeoman (Cirrochroa orissa orissa). From far, I saw this fellow sun-bathing on a leaf, I approached closer and snapped a few shots while it was   flapping its wings constantly.
A notoriously skittish species, it was highly sensitive to human movement, flitting around tirelessly between short perches. 
A pair of mating fly was found on a twig. What kind of fly is this ?
Along MNT, there were not many macro subjects for us to photograph. When we reached the Island Country Club, we made a right turn walking towards the Venus Trail. 

To show WH where my other hunting grounds for butterflies are, we took  Bus 138 to Upper Seleter Reservoir Park (USR).  This damselfly being a permanent resident of USR,  
We didn't stay long at USR. Before we called it a day, this open-winged Palm Bob (Suastus gremius gremius) allowed us taking some shots.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

A Quiet Morning at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR)

I noticed that my last outing to SBWR was many years ago before I started this blog. So On 10th Aug, I decided to set off early to take a look. Perhaps due to its relatively poor "accessibility" by public transport on a Saturday morning, there were few visitors. If not for the continuously loud cicada songs, the whole place was truly deserted and devoid of wild life.

Strolling slowly and enjoying the morning breeze without taking any shot for close to an hour, I finally spotted this White Banded Awl (Hasora taminatus malayana) on a boardwalk resting beneath a leaf above my head. It was tame but not the kind of perch any photographer would like to shoot.
Not far away from the Awl, a female Common Mormon (Papilio polytes romulus) was flitting around the host plant Indian Curry plant (Murraya koenigii). At last, it ovipoisted a single egg on a young leaf.
Thanks John for helping me to identify this large Scoliid wasp, Megascolia procer. It was found along a quiet trail at in the northen part of Sungei Buloh, facing the sea. The green iridescent wings were rather beautiful when it was foraging on a tree trunk.
This mammoth wasp made my day as it was my first sighting. It disappeared quickly when I was trying to get closure despite the initial fear of getting close to it. 
Another good encounter was that I bumped into my ex-colleague Mr Tee who was alone, wandering around to photograph birds - he also wondered where the birds had gone to. This hover fly kept me busy for a while as I was chasing it for some in-flight shots. 
Despite the very low wild life activity for me to capture in the camera, I still enjoyed the slow walk and the unique SBWR's serenity. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

48th National Day at Pasir Ris Park

My hope of visiting Pulau Ubin on our 48th Singapore National Day was crushed when I was shocked to see the queue for the bumboat ride snaking from the ferry embarking point to the road. My common sense told me to forgo Ubin. I eventually ended up at Pasir Ris Park (PRP).

I reached PRP around 10 am. Roaming on the mangrove boardwalk, I came to an observation tower where I saw a shrub growing with some strange-looking blue flowers. Knowing nothing about this weird plant, I just snapped a few shots out of curiosity. I think this is one of our native plants Nipis Kulit (Memecylon caeruleum )  in the Family Melastomataceae.  

While strolling along the boardwalk, I just could not find any terrestrial animal worth shooting. So I looked at the mudflat and saw quite a few crabs - this one just came out from the water.

Of course, the Kitchen Garden has always been one of my favourite spots at PRP for butterfly watching and photography. The Plain Tiger (Danaus chrysippus chrysippus) is everywhere but I didn't have much interest in chasing for a "perfect shot".  

This male was feeding on its larval host plant - Blood Flower (Asclepias currasavica). Of course mating pair is always a popular subject  for photographing.

I went round the boardwalk again but it was not a lucky day for me to bump into surprises. So I decided to call it a day and headed towards the MRT station. A consolation for me at least, I encountered a tattered Sumatran Sunbeam (Curetis saronis sumatrana) flitting around skittishly - a long distance shot was my initial prize for being patiently waiting for it to perch.
This open-winged shot was a result of my instinctive reaction - it scooted off as soon as I snapped it. 
Finally a sting bug (Pycanum rubens) hiding beneath a large Simpoh Air (Dillenia suffruticosa) gave me the last chance of the day to fire some shots. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

From MNT to Ranger Station

On a fine Saturday morning (2 Aug), I decided to take a long distance walk from MacRitchie Nature Trail (MNT) to the Ranger Station. My first shot of the morning was these beautiful cactus flowers outside a private house next to the forest.
Many red and blue dragonflies were either hovering, darting in the air or resting on twigs and leaves at a small stream along the forest fringe. I am not sure what this pretty blue dragonfly is.
A rather skittish damselfly was found along a very shady forest trail. I just could not get a shot with a brighter background without over-exposing the abdomen of the damselfly.   
Though the sun was high up but it didn't seem to be strong enough to wake the the forest up with movement of life. At last, a Branded Imperial (Eooxylides tharis distanti) was flitting across my path and landed on a big rattan leaf.
I also noticed a rather worn out small lycaenid kept fluttering around a particular plant. Yes, she was trying to oviposit but I just could not find any egg. I guess this is a Pointed Line Blue (Ionolyce helicon merguiana).
I finally reached the Ranger Station - it was quite crowded with hikers. No flowering Leea indica shrubs that I used to see here.  While on my way towards Venus Drive, I just snap any shots that I could - here is another damselfly shot but I am rather lazy to find out what it is at the moment.
This dark and dull low-flying butterfly looks like the Dark Brand Bush Brown (Mycalesis mineus macromalayana).
For a change, I took a slow walk along the Island Country Club Road instead of the shady Venus Trail. A wasp, perhaps, was busy feeding on the Leea indica flowers.
I was lucky to notice a female Scarce Silverstreak (raota rochana boswelliana) roaming around a Ficus tree at a T-junction. Most of the time she perched high up on tree branches and leaves.
Her behaviour seemed to suggest that she was trying to lay eggs but I could see any. A rare moment happened when she decided to open her wings on a leaf at my knee level.