Sunday, January 26, 2014

My First Outing in 2014

This might be my last visit (on 4 Jan) to Bukit Brown as rows of green zinc hoardings have been erected. Very soon the greenery and some tombstones at this tranquil and quiet cemetery ground will be lost. While strolling alone without a definite location in mind, I noticed a a male Cruiser (Vindula dejone erotella)  hovering around some horse dung on a tarred road not too far from the main gate.
I went to the spot where I found the Banded Lineblue (Prosotas lutea sivoca). Apparently, some maintenance work had been carried out and the host plants of the Banded Lineblue had been cleared also. I stayed there for quite sometime, hopping to find if the Banded Lineblue was still around - it is not difficult to deduce the answer. 

Instead, two small orange skippers kept me busy for a while. This is a Yellow Grass Dart (Taractrocera archias quinta).
I guess this small skipper is the Pothanthus ganda - it  was not as cooperative as the Yellow Grass Dart. 
I explored one of the forested trails and was rewarded with some shots of a not-so-common skipper - The Common Redeye (Matapa aria).
A small but beautiful net-winged beetle caught my attention while it was roaming on a blade of grass. 
Knowing that nobody will be able to repeat the 2 km route that I had walked in Bukit Brown, I hope this map which tracked my movement will remind me of  how I roamed around and explored Bukit Brown.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Butterflies of Pulau Ubin Part 2

We went to Pulau Ubin again on 28 Dec - our last outing in 2013 on a breezy and cool Saturday morning. As usual, we headed straight to the Butterfly Hill. There were quite a number of butterflies fluttering around the area; amongst them was this Black Veined Tigers (anaus melanippus hegesippus). 
I like the perch and the background colours of this picture of a Blue Glassy Tiger (Ideopsis vulgaris macrina).
This is another "Tiger" - the Common Tiger (Danaus genutia genutia) resting on a stem.
A female Common Birdwing (Troides helena cerberus) was seen hovering around her larval host plants Instead of laying egg, she presented a nice high perch for me to snap a few shots.
A female Jacintha Eggfly (Hypolimnas  bolina jacintha) was taking a long break at the Butterfly Hill - it has been a long time since my last encounter of a female.
This Telicota colon stinga (The Common Palm Dart) was the only orange skipper I came cross in this outing.
Brown skippers seemed to be more common as I saw at least three different species. The Contiguous Swift (Polytremis lubricans lubricans) was rather common in Ubin - it had the tendency to open its wings shortly after it settled on a new perch.
So taking its underside shot required a bit of luck.

According to Dr Seow who identified this rather large brown skipper on the  BC forum , this was likely to be a female Baoris oceia (The Paintbrush Swift).
A different perch of the same specimen.
Another large and dark brown skipper was zipping past me a few times before it landed on a Hibiscus flower. I could only snap two shots before it disappeared completely. It looks like the Conjoined Swift (Pelopidas conjunctus conjunctus).
A very tame Palm Bob (Suastus gremius gremius) was enjoying its meal on a Bidens flower for a long period of time.
This Indigo Flash (Rapala varuna orseis) was a surprised visitor on the Butterfly Hill - but it wasn't cooperative, giving me no chance to take more shots.
This brown praying mantis tried to hide under a blade of lalang grass but obviously it was a wrong choice as its brown-coloured  body and the green leaf are too contrasting to disguise its preys.
It was a very fruitful outing on the last day of 2013. I hope the year 2014 will be a good year for me - shooting more interesting or rare fauna and flora and hopefully discovering something new !

Friday, January 17, 2014

Butterflies of Pulau Ubin Part 1

CH and I went to Ubin on two weekends (14 Dec and 28 Dec) last year. We found that Pulau Ubin is still one of the best places for butterfly watching and photography. 
A rather unusual lycaenid which could not fold its wings together so they remained open all the time - this male Cycad Blue (Chilades pandava pandava) was found along the fence overlooking the Pekan Quarry. 

 Another Cycad Blue with one extra spot on the hindwing was found a grass patch leading to the Butterfly Hill. A write-up on the possible variations of the markings can be found on the BC Blog .
It appears to me that the number of  visitors coming to Ubin on weekends has been increasing over the years. Despite the heavy traffic of cyclists along the gravel road outside the Nparks nursery, this worn Silver-forget-me-not (Catochrysops panormus exiguus)  remained quite still on its perch.
This upperside shot tells us that it was a female.
A small Potanthus skipper was zipping around on the Butterfly Hill. The markings and the veins of the wings suggest that it looks like a Potanthus ganda.
At a shady and mosquitoes-infested grass patch, a rather uncommon Common Redeye (Matapa aria) skipper appeared briefly. Highly sensitive to the camera flash light, it was shot in natural light.
This Lesser Darkie (Allotinus unicolor unicolor)  was rather alert too - it was found at the same place as the Common Redeye.
At the mangrove area along the Sensory Trail, I waited very patiently for this fluttering lycaenid to perch. At last it did and I had to react quickly before it took off again. I think this is the Singapore Fourline Blue (Nacaduba pavana singapura) - my last sighting of this species was at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve  some years ago.
A short but a good outing for me.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A Few Critters Along Mandai Track 15

I decided to drop by Mandai Track 15 on a nice and cool Saturday morning (21 Dec 2013). Quite often, I didn't see many hikers, bikers or photographers here - I was rather lonely in this "one-man's land" most of the time.  As usual, my first "check-point' was the training shed near the gate. I wandered around the area for awhile but found nothing to shoot.

A lonely female Striped Blue Crow (Euploea mulciber mulciber) finally showed up and started to feed on the Bidens flowers.
Strolling leisurely on the biking trail, I had to give way to groups of  bikers occasionally. Butterflies and other critters were either sleeping or not there at all, the trail was devoid of  insect life. When I spotted this tiny ladybird - a small beetle in fact, I took a quick shot before it flew off unexpectedly in a breeze.
I made a correct decision of  switching to walking on Track 15. A Plain Nawab (Polyura hebe plautus) was zooming around rapidly and "testing" the dry ground a few times. Pouring some water to wet the ground, I waited patiently for it to puddle. I was lucky that it did come back and found the damp spot. What a good opportunity  for me to snap some shots of a  Plain Nawab, a species that I have not had a proper shot for a long time.
I went further in and spotted a Short-banded Sailor (Phaedyma columella singa) flitting at the ground level and looking for puddling spots amongst some dry leaves. It had the habit of flapping its wings slowly while feeding on the ground.
I turned back before noon and found quite a number of Purple Duke (Eulaceura osteria kumana) flitting from leaf to leaf along the biking trail.
A pair of mating shield bug caught my attention when I was about to leave the place. I like this shot as I didn't get to see mating shield bugs often. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

A Few Other Critters in Langkawi

Continue from the previous post.

Apart from the many butterflies that I have featured in my last few posts, I was also attracted to some other critters especially when they presented good shooting opportunities for me. This white moth (I have no idea of what the species is) was abundant at Lubuk Semilang.
The way it perched on a twig allowed me to photograph its undersides as well.
I guessed this was its pupa
A "armour-clad" critter was found on a fallen tree trunk - it looks like a larva of  a kind of Trilobite beetle.  
I can't remember if I have seen this beautiful red bug - its prominent perch on a leaf attracted by attention. 
There were many  Flashwing dragonflies (Vestalis sp) found along the forest trail at Lubuh Semilang.
I saw a critter flying past me and landing on a stem.
I went closer and took some shots - I guess this is a kind of planthopper.
A spider stayed very still on a leaf - waiting for its prey to come close to its striking distance. 
This moth larva was wriggling on the leaf aimlessly - it might be looking for the correct plant.
This long-legged, small but brilliantly coloured insect was new to me - this is a kind of fly I guess.  
As I focused a lot more on butterfly species in this trip, I believe I have missed many interesting critters. I may visit Langkawi again at the end of this year to discover and photography its rich flora and fauna.A Few