Monday, December 16, 2013

Butterflies at Pha Dang National Park and Angkheng Nature Resort, Thailand

Angkheng Nature Resort is situated on Doi Angkheng which is one of the peaks of the Dan Lao mountain range along the Myanmar-Thai border. On 6 Nov morning, we decided to visit the hosting site for the Angkheng Royal Project which is just around the corner of the resort. As the butterfly activities in this huge garden were generally low, we left the place after about an hour plus.

The Spotted Demon (Notocrypta feisthamelii alysos) was quite large and it flit away rapidly whenever I tried to get closer to it.
This Lethe verma stenopa (The Straight Treebrown) was also skittish and alert to movement. I had to cross over a drain to take this shot afar.
A few other shots taken in the garden were accidentally deleted from my camera without knowing that these pictures have not been transferred to my computer. 
Hoping to find and shoot some mountain butterfly species,  Antonio drove around and finally found a suitable place to park the car. We started to explore a forest trail nearby.  

A well-camouflaged Melanitis phedima ganapati  (The Dark Evening Brown) was found along a forest trail.   
It appeared that the Common Punchinello (Zemeros flegyas allica) was quite common at high altitude - this was one of them we spotted along a forest trail. 
We kept walking slowly but there were very few things worthwhile for us to shoot. When Antonio spotted this "acrobatic" moth larva hanging on to a twig, I took a few shots. 
We decided to head back to the resort due to very poor butterfly activity along the trail. We encountered a rather tame Lethe gulnihal peguana (Dull Forester) puddling on the dirt road near the car.
When we reached the Ang Kheng Nature Resort, we wandered around in the resort. We did see some butterflies flying past us but there wasn't any clear chance for us to take any shot. At last, a very cooperative female Miletus croton croton (?) (The Plain Brownie) was spotted by LC and three of us had some fun shooting her.
Another shot was taken when it changed its perch.
The Artogeia napi montana (Green-veined White) was seen resting on a twig.
A small lycaenid which looks like the Acytolepis puspa was puddling on the ground.
We noticed the Pha Dang National Park while Antonio was exploring a new route back to the resort from Doi Chiang Dao.  So, on 8 Nov morning, instead of looking for highland butterfly species, we explored this national park.
Except for some workers keeping the park clean, there weren't any other visitors. Roaming around, I noticed quite a number of bracket fungi growing on some decaying wood.
The sound of a waterfall and the flowing stream waters running alongside the forest trail created a very natural and soothing sound in this quiet park.
The first butterfly we could shoot was found feeding on tree sap. It was The Herona marathus marathus (The Yellow Pasha). With patience, all of us managed to take some shots as it kept coming back to the same spot.
We saw quite a few of  Common Evening Browns (Melanitis leda leda) - this species has a great variations in its markings.
Resting on a rock, this mammoth iguana was so lethargic to move around. It wass my first sighting of a huge iguana in the wild.
It was a rather disappointing morning at Pha Dang National Park, so we decided to visit Chiang Dao again - not too far away.

Once again, I must thank Antonio for providing the transportation for us throughout the whole trip. His knowledge and familiarity of the various national parks in Chiang Mai made this trip very enriching and fruitful for me. I would like to visit these  national parks again in the future, in a different month, perhaps. Good bye Chiang Mai !

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