Monday, April 21, 2014

Two Quiet Outings to Upper Seletar Reservoir Park

After attending the annual Qingming Festival at Mandai Columbarium on 22 March, I met up with Mr Teo, CH and Dr Takashi  on 22 March at Upper Seleter Reservoir (USR) Park. Insect activities were extremely low along the forest trails and the reservoir edge. 

The four ocelli on the hindwings of this Common Four-ring (Ypthima huebneri) were exceptionally small. Perhaps this dry season form of the Common Four-ring was the result of the dry weather in February and March this year.
At the L-shaped trail, this Blue Spotted Crow (Euploea midamus singapura) was sighted perching on a leaf high on a tree. It flew away from us after we had taken a few long-distance shots.
We found quite a number of scale insects on the underside of some Wild Cinnamon (Cinnamomum iners) leaves.  It was interesting to see how this non-hostile association of the scale insects and ants benefit each other.   
  Looks like a happy family here.
I went to USR again late in the afternoon on 5 Apr after a heavy shower in the morning. Except for many long-tailed Macaques wandering and looking for food on the ground, there were nothing of interest to me.

I guess this is a Blue Brownie (Miletus symethus petronius). It was flitting erratically for a long period of time before it settled on a leaf.
Surprisingly, the next moment she knew where to look for ants to oviposit her eggs.
Based on my intuition and judging by the number of butterflies and other insects that could be seen in the nature reserves, I had a feeling that something might have gone wrong in many parts of our forest - I really hope that I am wrong.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Butterfly Watching and Photographing Deep In the Forest

I was privileged and delighted to be invited by Mr Teo to join him and Cher Hern hosting a Japanese butterfly researcher Dr Inoue A. Takashi who visited Singapore on 22 March. We brought our guest to the nature reserve for butterfly-watching, specifically looking for the Great Helen (Papilio iswara iswara).

After one quick round of butterfly-hunting at Upper Seletar Reservoir Park, we decided to head to the Upper Peirce Reservoir Park (UPR Park) and its nearby trails.

Behind the toilet at the UPR Park, Cher Hern spotted an early instar of the Plain Nawab's (Polyura ebe platus) lava resting on a Red Saga (Adenanthera pavonina) leaf.  Here is an excellent write-up on its life history.
The forest trail was exceptionally calm and quiet until the sun began to warm its denizens up in the early afternoon. An instinctive record shot was what I could get when I spotted this Grand Imperial (Neocheritra amrita amrita) above my eye level.  
An Arhopala was having a peaceful perch along a shady forest trail until my camera flash triggered its alertness. You could see how it reacted to the flashlight.
In order to take a record shot, I had to switch off the flash light. Thanks Dr Seow from BC who helped me to identify the species as the Raffles' Oakblue (Arhopala pseudomuta pseudomuta).

Again, CH's sharp eyes spotted a young lava - hopefully it would grow into a Commander (Moduza procris milonia) in a few week's time.
The size of the rings on this Malayan Five-ring (Ypthima horsfieldi humei) were smaller than the usual sizes that I usually saw.
I bumped into some puddling butterflies on a small patch of sandy ground while we were on our way out of the forest. But all the four papilionids in the picture were extremely skittish - they took off hastily when I inched closer. 
However, this Silver-Forget-Me-Not (Catochrysops panormus exigus) stayed on the ground for us to snap a few shots.
It was accompanied by this Common Line Blue (Prosotas nora superdates).
We hope that Dr Inoue A. Takashi  had captured some video clips of the Great Helen when they were fluttering speedily past us a few times. Though we didn't get to photograph many butterflies in this outing, we did see quite a number of species of butterflies in the early afternoon. 

We really enjoyed this outing with our visitor and a big thank you to Mr Teo for giving us a lunch treat and sending us this picture.