Saturday, December 13, 2014

Butterflies @ Mae Kampong, Chiang Mai

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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.    

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