Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Hot Spot for Butterfly Sighting and Photography Part 1

During the first few weekends of October, quite a few of us from the ButterflyCircle (BC) forums gathered at a butterfly hot spot to look for and photograph butterflies in a forested area. I believe the Melastoma fruits there once again attracted the butterflies. 

Let me begin with some lycaenid shots. I was quite lucky to bump into a rather pristine Bifid Plushblue (Flos diardi capeta) on 5 October. This is one of the four Flos species that can be found in Singapore.
It fluttered from one Singapore Rododendron shrub to another. I was rather lucky to be able to get another shot when it perched on the tip of a leaf. There was at least one other Flos species hanging around high on the trees. 
This rather pristine specimen looks like a male Rounded Sixline Blue (Nacaduba berenice icena) according to Dr Seow from BC.  
It displayed another pose on a stem, allowing me to take a few shots of the other side of the wings.
The Acacia Blue (Surendra vivarna amisena) is rather common here - this is one of the better specimen that I have encountered.
Sumatran Gem (Poritia sumatrae sumatrae) always attracted a lot of interest and attention from us - thanks to Simon for alerting us of its presence. This cooperative little beauty didn't make our life difficult - it stayed still and long for most of us to take some shots. 
Arhopala amphimuta amphimuta is a shade-loving species found in forested areas.
My attention was drawn to this strange-looking Arhopala species. I have no idea what this is - it could be an aberration of a known species. 
A male Silverstreak (Iraota rochana boswelliana) was teasing me for a long time before I could snap a shot.
I am not very sure if this is the Slate Flash (Rapala manea chozeba) which appeared only once when I was there on three different occasions.
This Narrow Spark (Sinthusa nasaka amba) was spotted in a deep shade - it took me awhile to get a decent shot. I am not sure why the picture looks "pixelated" here but not on the BC forums.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

No New Surpirse @ Bukit Brown

On a fine Saturday afternoon (24 Sept), I decided to drop by the Bukit Brown cemetery ground again. At the main gate, I noticed this rather tame and small cricket resting on a leaf.
At the round-about, this white planthopper flew past me and perched above my eye level. I walked casually towards the location where I found the Banded Line Blue (Prosotas lutea sivoka) last December. Sadly, I could not find a single specimen this time. 
A small lycaenid, this Tailless Line Blue (Prosotas dubiosa lumpura) was fluttering at the ground level. Its momentarily perch on a piece of wood provided me a chance for snapping some shots. 
A mating Malayan Five Ring (Ypthima horsfieldii humei) kept me busy for a short while along a shady and mosquitoes infested forest trail.  
My first sighting of a Common Posy (Drupadia ravindra moorei) at Bukit Brown was at a shady spot along a dirt path.
It was flitting around from leaf to leaf and sun-bathing occasionally.
My final shot of the afternoon was a  robberfly. I noticed that robberflies like to perch on the tip of a leaf looking outwards demonstrated by this particular shot.
Very soon once the construction of a new road commences, I doubt we will be able to visit Bukit Brown as often as we like. So it is important that we should record the fauna and floral species that can be found here before they disappear completely.  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Venomous Snake at Upper Seletar Reservoir Park

Thanks CJ for giving me a lift to the USRP when she spotted me waiting at a bus stop along Upper Thomson Road on 21 Sept and thanks Simon for getting the ButterflyCircle's embroidered badges ready for all of us. 

This snake which looked like a highly venomous Wagler's Pit Viper (Tropidolaemus wagleri) was lurking behind a shrub just a few meters away from the pavement. I was told that it had been curling around this tree for more than two weeks.  I cautiously approached closer and took a few shots.
We ventured deep into the forest. I could see a few butterflies flying pass us but I just could not get any shot. Instead, I noticed a cicada resting on a tree trunk, rather high above me.
A very alert and skittish Spotted Judy (Abisara geza niya) made me work very hard before I could take a long distance shot. After that, it never appeared again.
We didn't have many photographing opportunities. So when this mating plant hopper appeared in front of me I could not resist taking some shots.
I encountered two different Lesser Harlequins (Laxita thuisto thuisto) at two different locations. They loved to turn and hop around whenever they perched so getting a shot was a test of my patience and reaction. 
I didn't stay too long in the deep forest. I moved out early and made a slight detour to check out the area outside the SAF firing range. I believe this is a kind of wasp which I may have shot before.
It has been a long time since I last shot of  an Arhopala species at this location. It looks like a Arhopala amphimuta amphimuta.
Last shot of the day was this sun-bathing Malayan Snow Flat (Tagiades calligana).

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Common Tree Nymph @ Upper Seletar Reservoir Park

I went to the Upper Seletar Reservoir Park (USRP) on two consecutive Saturday mornings (14 and 21 Sept). On 14 September, I met BJ at the park. and and we encountered a female Archduke ovipositing underneath a young leaf of her larval host plant - Mempat tree (Cratoxylum formosum). 
Strolling along the quiet forest trails was what we could do before we encountered this beautiful lycaenid Semanga superba deliciosa near the reservoir edge. 
At the entrance of another forest trail, a greenish blue tiger beetle caught my attention while it was foraging on a piece of wooden plank.
It didn't stay still - this shot was taken when it was turning away from me.
These shiny young leaves showing some beautiful hues of green were sprouting out from the forest floor - what plant is this ?  
We met a few other BC members along this forest trail - here I managed to shoot this Lesser Harlequin (Laxita thuisto thuisto) which kept "hopping" around.
We could see some other skittish butterflies zipping around but they were just too alert and fast for me to take any shots. So we decided to move out of the trail around noon. At the Ixora bushes, a female Chocolate Royal (Remelana jangala travana) was seen flying around and occasionally ovipositing eggs on some flower buds.
We were very fortunate to meet this slow-moving "tissue paper-like" large butterfly; The Common Tree Nymph (Idea stollin logani) at a shady corner along the first trail while we were on our way out.
A lucky morning for us as I have not shot this species for a long time.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Long Hike from Mandai Track 15 to Bukit Panjang

As usual, I look forward to Saturdays. On the last day of August, I decided to go for a long hike starting at Mandai Track 15. Arriving quite early, I went around the training shed to look out for insects and hoped to see if there were any early skippers visiting the Bidens flowers.

Disappointed, I wondered where the Potanthus and Telicota skippers had gone to. At last, I had a small consolation from this sting bug which can be found easily here - it was resting on a blade of grass enjoying the morning sun.
The way it rested on the grass allowed me to snap a shot of its ventral view.
A blue dragonfly presented me with this elegant pose on a twig. I didn't realise it was so difficult to find a good match from my limited resources of dragonfly that I have. With the yellow marking on the third segment of the abdomen, I have no idea what this is.
A slight change of the camera angle produced a very different background colour but the subject wasn't parallel to the camera sensor.
A close-up shot of its compound eyes.
I took my own time, strolling and occasionally side-tracking along the cyclist's trail for a long period of time before bumping into this very active and alert Common Line Blue (Prosotas nora superdates).
At the end of Mandai Track 15, a Grey Pansy (Junonia  atlites atlites) provided me with some fun and excitement of stalking and chasing it.
After that it was a long walk on a gravel path under the hot sun. A beautiful bug or a beetle perhaps caught my attention.
There was a cluster of Common Snakeweed flowers (Stachytarpheta indica) attracting some skippers. This brown skipper which looks like a Contiguous Swift (Polytremis lubricans lubricans) was simply too active and alert for me to take some proper shots.
This might be another specimen of a brown skipper but I can't  be sure what species it might be.
Though I didn't take many photographs, the long hike was a good exercise for me. After a good lunch at Bangkit Road around 1:30 pm, I boarded bus 171 heading to Bah Soon Pah road for my next round of activity. I really enjoy every Saturday as it keeps me busy and enriches my life.