Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Extension of SBWR

The 31-hectare new extension to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) was opened to the public on 6 December (see a detailed description here). I decided to take a look at this new extension the next day.
I alighted from Bus 925 at the entrance to the SBWR and walked towards the new visitor centre. Some sun-bathing mudskippers on the mudflats attracted my attention.
From far, I saw a group of people taking pictures from the boardwalk. When I approached closer, I noticed that  a well-camouflaged mangrove crab was their model. 
I didn't encounter many terrestrial insects that were of interest to me. At a grass patch along the forest trail, I finally saw a orange skipper - a Potanthus species.
There were quite a number of Sumatran Sunbeam (Curetis saronis sumatrana) along the trail at different locations - but they were skittish and alert. With a bit of luck and a lot of patience, I managed to snap a few shots.
This Short Banded Sailor (Phaedyma collumella singa) came down to puddle on the ground. 
It scooted off when I approached it closer and rested on a leaf.
Not very sure of the species, I was very determined to take some shots of the undersides. I patiently followed this guy and eventually got a record shot.
At noon, I spotted a few Ciliate Blues (Anthene emolus goberus) - this pristine specimen became my model for awhile.
The weather in December was fast-changing and unpredictable. It turned cloudy in less than 30 mins, I had to head back to the Visitor Centre quickly. 
Wishing everyone a happy and healthy year in 2015.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Trekking From USR Park to Bukit Panjang

On 9 Nov, my initial intention was just taking a leisure walk and hopefully shooting some butterflies at the Upper Seletar Reservoir (USR) Park but it turned out to be a long but enjoyable trekking through the forest.

Morning critters seemed to be either over-sleeping or already deserting this part of the forest. For a long period of time, I didn't have a chance to increase  my shutter count until I saw a planthopper resting on an overhead leaf lethargically.
At the L-trail, I noticed a moth from the Callidulidae family flitting in the undergrowth. I followed its flight path and snapped a record shot. Unlike many other moths, moths from this family usually perch with folded wings.
I explored the reservoir edge. At one particular location deep inside the forest, I spotted quite a number of damselflies - one of them was the male Prodasineura humeralis (?).
This guy kept hovering above the water but a bit far from me. Nevertheless, it enticed me taking some long-distance in-flight shots.
My GPS on my Note 4 indicated I was in a non-man's land inside the forest. I decided to turn around and head towards the main trail. 

At the Yellow Archduke's location, I saw a couple of them chasing each other but I just could not snap any shot. Instead, a female L. pardalis dirteana was cooperative enough for me to move in closer - but I wasn't very keen shooting this species.
Strolling forward slowly, I came to the highest point in the forest. After taking a short break on some big rocks, I decided for a change this time, going towards Bukit Panjang, at least another 3km to cover!

I bumped into a few Saturns (Zeuxidia amethystus amethystus) along the way. This guy was puddling on the dirt trail but it took off rapidly when I made just one step closer. Luckily, it landed on a dry leaf for a few seconds.
I had a reason to show this lousy specimen of the Purple Bush Brown (Mycalesis orseis nautilus) because it is an uncommon forest species which I have not shot it for many years. 
In terms of number of shots taken, it was a disappointing day. However, I still enjoyed the fresh air, the walking and sometimes the excitement of overcoming unexpected obstacles along the forest trails.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Butterflies @ Mae Kampong, Chiang Mai

Continue from this post.

Let me wrap up what I have shot during my butterfly-watching and photography trip to Chiang Mai. Our group of five butterfly enthusiasts from three different countries went to Mae Kampong waterfall on 15 Oct.

About an hour of driving from our hotel in the city brought us to the waterfall site.
Without much delay, I walked and looked around this shady site - my sight was attracted by a Yellow Flat (Mooreana trichoneura pralaya) sunbathing on a rock under the morning sun.
After shooting the Yellow Flat, I noticed a rather large butterfly flitting past me a few times. At last, it settled on a rock and allowed all of us taking many shots. This was my first sighting of the Veined Labyrinth (Neopa pulaha pulahoides).
The waterfall area was rather quiet so I decided to explore a trail which leads to a farm land. This skipper (Celaenorrhinus dhanada affinis) loved the ferns so much that it kept coming back to the same perch.
The Koruthaialos rubecula hector was abundant along the trail as I encountered a few of them resting on foilage. 
We drove up to a higher altitude and walked along the road. There was a small colony of  the Restricted Purple Sapphire (Heliophorus ila nolus). Once the weather turned cloudy, they disappeared from our sight.
It was a pity that I couldn't get a chance to take shots of pristine uppersides of this species . 
A common species, the Notocrypta curvifascia curvifascia was zipping around rapidly. It had the tendency to revisit the same leaf which gave me an opportunity to snap a quick shot.
Though the Spotted Snow Flat (Tagiades menaka menaka) was feeding on some Bidens flowers furiously, it kept moving on the flowers.
Walking down a slope, I spotted a Dark Judy (Abisara fylla fylla) was sun-bathing with its wings fully open.
In fact, as we walked further in along the trail, we saw more Dark Judy - they were either resting or feeding on some wild flowers.  
We were glad to meet Toi, a Thai butterfly-photography enthusiast on his motorcycle before meeting him again at the spot where a Dull Forester (Lethe gulnibal peguana) was puddling on a leaf together with its two friends - a fly and a Common Punchinello (Zemeros flegyas allica). It was certainly a rare and interesting gathering in the middle of the road.
I saw Sunny chasing something very patiently. I walked towards him and saw this White Dryad (Aemona lena) fluttering slowly. At last it rested in a shade behind some branches. After taking some shots, yes, I should mention here that I got rid of a leech from going under my shirt.
In the afternoon, we went back to the waterfall. Not knowing what it was, I took a few shots of this small brown skipper which was feeding on the rock. Again, thank you Dr Seow for identifying it, might be a Halpe arcuata.
Another Halpe species was zipping around at the waterfall. It finally found a sweet spot on a rock and stayed there for a long period of time, allowing everyone to take many shots. However, It has not been identified with confidence.
In the late afternoon, I went back to the trail again and bumped into this brown Rapala rhoecus rhoecus. This was my last shot of the day - so sorry that I didn't know all my friends were waiting for me in the car while I was shooting this guy.
Let me wrap up my Chiang Mai trip with other interesting critters. This is a kind of weevil I believe.
A beautiful moth that Les had mentioned the name to me but I am sorry that I cannot remember it now.
A colourful bug which stayed rather still for me to shoot.
Thanks Les for highlighting this large leech to me.
Lastly, a brilliantly coloured moth larva.
It was an enjoyable and fruitful trip for me. I sincerely thank Antonio for being our driver and our guide in Chiang Mai and his wife for baking and sharing the delicious cakes with us.  I am looking forward to next March when we will meet again in Chiang Mai.    

Saturday, December 6, 2014

My 3rd Visit to the Tampines Eco Green Nature Park

On a warm Saturday morning (1 Nov),  I decided to drop by Tampines Eco Green Park it was my third visit. The most promising spot in terms of butterfly activities was at the entrance where we could see a lot of Bidens flowers and String Bush (Cordia cylindristachya). Apart from many Plain Tiger (Danaus chrysippus chrysippus) butterflies, a few brown skippers were zipping around - one of them is the Pelopidas mathias mathias.
Another brown skipper had the tendency of open its wings as soon as it rested on a leaf.
The forewing spots could be seen in this shot.   
There were a few Telicota species flitting around me. As the veins are lightly darken, this particular shot looks like a female Telicota besta bina .
A solitary orange skipper  -  it might be the Common Palm Dart (Telicota colon stinga) was busy feeding on the Bidens flowers near the shelter.
A Potanthus species also came to visit the Sting Bush flowers.
There was only one Black Veined Tiger (Danaus melanippus hegesippus) fluttering around and feeding on the flowers. I observed that it would open and close its wings a few times whenever it changed its perch.  
I wasn't very interested in shooting the  Dark Glassy Tiger (Parantica agleoides agleoides). But when it presented a nice pose in front of me, I could not resist taking some shots.
I was quite surprised at encountering two Anthene species at different times in the morning. This is the Pointed Ciliate Blue (A. lycaenina miya)            
A rather pristine Ciliate Blue (A. emolus goberus) visited the garden in the late morning. It stayed on the tip of a leaf above my eye level, demonstrating almost the same perch as what the Pointed Ciliate Blue did. It remained at the same position for quite a while before scooting off to look for nectar.    
This very large wasp was busy visiting flowers diligently. It showed us its acrobatic behaviour on the flowers but its agility and behaviour made it very difficult for me to take a proper shot.
This is a kind of hover fly. It was seen hovering in the mid air and nectaring at flowers.
A  hawk moth belongs to the Sphingidae species was spotted near the pond. 
Finally, a Common Tit (Hypolycaena erylus teatus) was found on the same shrub as where the hawk moth was.
I was impressed by the number of butterfly species we could find in this town park. Let's hope that these flying jewels and other creatures would thrive and remain as the residents of the park.

Related post :