Sunday, June 29, 2014

A Colony of Grey Pansy @ Mandai Track 15

After the morning rain on 14 June, I dropped by Mandai Track 15 in the late afternoon. As expected, the cool weather might have made the forest critters lethargic and inactive. For a long period of time I was just strolling along the quiet forest trail andoccasionally on the tarred road. 

Finally I came to an open space where a colony of Grey Pansy (Junonia atlites atlites)  was spotted fluttering and feeding on some Bidens flowers. 
These Grey Pansies were very alert and didn't seem to like my presence. Getting a decent shot required a lot of patience and luck.
I guess this is a Contiguous Swift (Polytremis lubricans lubricans) resting on a leaf surface.
A couple of Peacock Pansy (Junonia almana javana) was fighting for nectar amongst the Grey Pansies.
I could not get a proper underside shot of this Dart skipper, a Potanthus species.  
A glimpse of the underside shot was the best I could get as it opened its wings within  a split of a second.
On may way back to the "main gate", this Gram Blue (Euchrysops cnejus cnejus) presented a very nice pose for me to snap a few shots. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Lornie Trail in a Late Afternoon

A cloudy and rainy Saturday morning on 7 June confined me to staying indoor at my in-law's place for the whole morning. After getting some work done and with sunshine beginning to pierce through the thin clouds, I decided to drop by Lornie Trail (LT) en route to home.
Though it was quite late in the afternoon when I reached LT, a few critters were still active flitting around along the forest trails. A small but beautiful dragonfly was seen on a dry leaf -  Is this an immature Rubescens rubeola ?
A male Malayan Lacewing (Cethosia hypsea hypsina)  was visiting some flowers of a Leea indica shrub at the reservoir edge - one of my favourite spots for shooting butterflies.
A lovely male Crimson Sunbird  (Aethopuga siparaja)  was perching and feeding on a row of  Heliconia flowers. I approached it closer and snapped a few shots while it kept surveying the surroundings.
One of my field observations of Lycaenids was that they were more likely to open their wings for sunbathing in the late afternoon. The uppersides of the male Common Red Flash (Rapala iarbus iarbus) were stunning. But getting a good shot at this beauty above my eye level was too great a challenge for me.
The wings began to open up slowly (but partially most of the times) whenever it landed on a sunny new perch. 
I sped up my pace walking towards the boardwalk. Beside the SICC golf course, a few skippers caught my attention even though they were resting in some shade. I believe this was a Palm Dart (Telicota augias augias). 
This is likely to be a Lesser Dart (Potanthus omaha omaha).
A wasp was busy feeding on some flowers of the Mile-a-Minute. 
Just before the Golf Link boardwalk, I noticed a a Logania  marmorata damis kept fluttering erratically. It finally perched underneath a leaf where some ants were present too.
I turned back as time didn't allow me to wait for this skittish guy to perch again. On may way home, on the same Leea indica shrub, a Yellow-veined Lancer (Pyroneura latoia latoia) was hooked on one isolated flower for a long time.
The female Malayan Baron (Euthalia monina monina)  was puddling on the trail leading to Lornie Road.
I was quite surprised that the butterfly activities were quite good in the late afternoon. Perhaps it was due to the morning rain that they had to feed late in the afternoon to get enough food for next day.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Butterfly Species @ Jurong-Eco Garden

It has been a long time since my last visit to a wild place in the western part of the island. On a humid and hot Saturday morning (24 May), I dropped by at a new man-made garden behind the CleanTech Park outside Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Jalan Bahar - now I know it is called the Jurong- Eco Garden

Before I spotted any butterfly species, I was attracted by some "boulders" all with pointed ends, sitting uprightly at a quiet corner of the garden. An iconic and unique "landmark" of this garden, it is named the Sculpted Maze - an excellent piece of work created by our local pottery artist Mr Steven Low Thia Kwang.  
My first butterfly shot in the morning was this male Malayan Baron. Though it was skittish and alert, I could snap a few shots if I stayed still  patiently waiting for it to feed on the fermented fruits of the Singapore Rhododendron.
The male of this species has three different forms which can be distinguished from the uppersides - this is form-decorata.
Though this Tawny Palmfly (Elymnias panthera panthera) was competing with the Malayan Baron for the fruits, it was less aggressive and willing to wait for its turn to feed on the fruits.
There are a few look-alike "black-and-white" butterflies in Singapore. I wasn't sure which species this was when I saw this skittish fellow fluttering around a tree, "pretending" to oviposit. I think this is a Studded Sergeant (Athyma asura idita) which I have not seen it for a long time.
This is a  female Nacaduba species that we can't be 100% sure of  its identification - it was spotted along the forest fringe along the boundary of the garden.

The Malayan Eggfly (Hypolimnas anomala anomala) is a common butterfly. The male occurs in two forms. This is form-nivas which has a prominent patch of diffused white markings on the hindwing. [Note : in this write-up, the butterfly identified as Dwarf Crow should be The Malayan Eggfly. The other wrongly identified butterfly is labelled as the Blue Helen]
Before I went to explorer the forested area, I saw a Common Birdwing (Troides helena cerberus) fluttering overhead and finally feeding on some Ixora flowers - it was so difficult to get a good close-up shot when it refused to stay still at one feeding position. 
Generally, it was a quiet and disappointing outing for me as I didn't encounter any of  the rare species that we used to see in the forested areas next to the garden - not a good sign !!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Reservoir Edge Opposite Sembawang Park Connector

The thunderstorms followed by intermittent passing showers on Saturday 17 May lasted the whole morning. In the late afternoon around 3 pm, the sun started to warm the ground. So, I decided heading out to Mandai, opposite the Sembawang Park Connector. 

My first shot of the afternoon at the reservoir edge was a pink critter, perhaps a nymph of  a shield bug. It was found on a Singapore Rhododendron leaf.
A rather common but colourful and attractive shield bug was seen at the same location before. In fact, I could find more of this bug when I search around the plants carefully.
I am not sure if this damselfly is Onychargia atrocyana which perched at the tip of a blade of grass.
The Common Palmfly (Elymnias hypermnestra agina) tends to be very skittish and sensitive to movement. However when it was feeding, we might have a chance to take a few shots.
A female Malay Baron (Euthalia monina monina) was at rest in the late afternoon under a shady spot.
A Malay Viscount (Tanaecia pelea pelea) was flitting around before settling down on a leaf of the Singapore Rhododendron.
I am not sure if this is a kind of Ricaniid planthopper. It was turning its wings up and down while I was taking this shot.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Blooming String Bush@Tampines Eco Green Nature Park

A last minute decision on 13 May (Vesak Day) brought me to Tampines Eco Green Nature Park. It has been a long time since my last visit to this rather huge neighbourhood park.

Many Plain Tiger butterflies (Danaus chrysippus chrysippus) were fluttering under the hot sun and "dancing in the wind" at the main entrance facing Tampines Ave 9.
Blue Pansy (Junonia orithya wallacei) butterflies were extremely skittish and alert. I was lucky to get a instinctive shot when one of them perched in front of me.
Quite a few critters were attracted to the many small white flowers of  the String Bush (Cordia cylindristachya). A critter with a triangular-shaped head and a reddish-orange elongated body, this is kind of net-winged beetle which was hooked on the flowers.
Many day-flying moths were competing with other critters for the nectar of these flowers.
Take a closer look at the this lycaenid - a Tailless Line Blue (Prosotas dubiosa lumpura) had become a prey for a white crab spider.
Taken from another angle, the crab spider could be seen more clearly.
A male Slate Flash (Rapala manea chozeba) was found feeding on these small flowers - an interesting posture with its legs folding close to its hindwing.
I quickly snapped a shot when it perched on a leaf after feeding. 
I remembered there was a colony of  Silverline butterflies about three years ago. After a long search, a lonely Long Banded Silverline (Spindasis lohita senama) was spotted feeding on the flowers.
A few Blue Glassy Tigers (Ideopsis vulgaris macrina) were also attracted to these tiny String Bush flowers.
The Lesser Grass Blue (Zizina otis lampa) was fluttering around a shelter when I took refuge from the hot morning sun.
The blooms of the String Bush injected so much life to the park. Other than the "dancing flowers" in the air, I could see many bees and wasps also. I am not sure what this wasp is,  having a pair of orange antennae.
A few skippers of spotted but they didn't seem to like the white flowers as much as the lycaenids.  This is the Bush Hopper (Ampittia dioscorides camertes) when it  rested high on a leaf.
Orange or brown skippers are always difficult for us to name them correctly with certainty - I guess this is a Potanthus ganda feeding on the Snakeweed (Stachytarpheta indica).  
Here is another shot taken when it used one of its antennae to "support' its body - an interesting moment being captured.
There were a few skippers zipping around with high speeds. Occasionally, once they perched at the right place at the right time, I might be able to snap a quick shot like this - a suspect of the Pelopodas mathias mathias due to the presence of a fading hindwing cell spot.
Another Small Banded Swift (Pelopidas mathias mathias) was found at the entrance.
The different types of natural habitat help to enrich the biodiversity of the park. Apart from butterflies, there were dragonflies, lizards and birds in the park that may surprise you. So, when you visit the park next time, slow down your pace and take a closer look at these fascinating creatures in nature.

Related blog articles: