Friday, October 31, 2014

Butterfly Paradise at Chiang Dao (Northern Thailand) Part 2

Continue from last post.

In part 2, let me begin with a picture of a female Grey Baron (Euthalia anosia anosia). I spotted her on the ground peeping at me. As I tried to go around here, she took off and landed a few meters away from me.  She never returned again after we snapped a few quick shots.
A pristine Clipper (Parthenos sylvia apicalis ) was busy feeding on the ground.
It kept flapping its wings. But with patience and determination, I managed to get one upperside shot.
It seemed that this time, the Great Nawab (Polyura eudamippus nigrobasalis) was more abundant than the Shan Nawab (P. nepenthes nepenthes) I was here last November. 
However, the Shan Nawab did appear on 16 Oct. These two friends walked pass each other while enjoying their meals.

There were at least two other Polyura species appeared at different times of the day. This is the Polyura athamas athamas (Common Nawab).
Another Common Nawab.
The common name of this Polyura species is called the Indian Yellow Nawab (Polyura jalysus jalysus)
The undersides of the Leaf Butterfly (Kallima inachus siamensis) varies but they do look like dry leaves.  
It opened and closed its wings very rapidly and irregularly. So I was quite contented that I was able to snap a quick shot. 
The underside markings on this specimen were certainly different from the previous one.

Here is another specimen which was found resting on a leaf in the late afternoon along a hill slope.
The Eastern Courtier (Sephisa chandra chandra ) is a very pretty butterfly. It stayed on the ground for a long period of time.
I always looked for opportunity to take some shots of a butterfly. This cooperative Eastern Courtier presented us with many opportunities of  photographing its undersides.
The ground colour of this Common Duffer (Discophora sondaica zal) blends very well with the surrounding. I would have chased it away if I had not stopped in time.
There are enough pictures for now in this post. I will showcase some smaller butterflies in my next post.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Butterfly Paradise at Chiang Dao (Northern Thailand) Part 1

Many thanks to Antonio who planned, arranged and made  this butterfly outing and photography trip to Chiang Mai possible for three of us from Singapore and Les from Koh Samui. We checked into the Dome Residences at Chiang Mai city upon our arrival in the evening of 13 Oct by SilkAir.

The weather was not too bad in the morning of 14 Oct. After our breakfast at the hotel, we were heading towards the north - our destination is about 75 km away. About 10 am, we arrived at Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary - in fact, a butterfly paradise to me. We immediately sprang into actions, looking closely at the butterflies puddling on the wet gravel ground.

Behind a hut,  there was a cluster of puddling butterflies. The moment I saw an isolated individual, I quickly snapped a few shots but unsure of what I had actually shot. After checking my reference book, I think this is a Adamson's Rose (Atrophaneura adamsoni) which I didn't encounter during my last trip in early November last year. It was a pity that I could not get a clear shot due to the space constraint and the messy sandy ground.
On our second day at Chiang Dao, I managed to take another shot, perhaps of a different specimen.
I saw more large Papilionids puddling compared to my last visit. This is a male Redbreast (Papilio alcmenor alcmenor  f-leucocelis
 Here is another specimen exhibiting a similar pose.
My first shot of the morning on 16 Oct was this Burmese Batwing (Atrophaneura varuna zaleucus).
There were at least a couple of the Great Windmills (Atrophaneura dasarada barata) fluttering around and feeding on the ground.
A common, large and beautiful papilionid in Thailand, the Paris Peacocks (Papilio paris paris) is a magnificent butterfly, especially when it is in flights. They stayed on the ground for a long period of time for us to compose our shots.
I feel that the undersides are not as attractive as the uppersides.
There were many Dragontail butterflies on 16 Oct but not on 14 Oct. They usually congregated and puddled together on wet sandy ground.
It seemed that there was only one White Dragontail (Lamprotera curius curius) that morning so I was particularly interested in taking a shot of it.
I considered this was a luck shot for me when a Green Dragontail (Lamproptera meges virescens) opened its wings side-by-side with the White Dragontail.

To be continued.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Two Butterflies at Mandai Track 15

I went to Mandai Track 15 on 4 Oct in the afternoon instead of  my usual morning outing due to a stormy weather.

For a long period of time, there were no cyclists and no critters coming along to greet me while I was heading towards the direction of the highway,  along the forest trail. However cicada songs did accompany me at times and broke the dreadful silence of the forest.

Almost an hour later, I noticed a small lycaenid, Logania marmorata damis resting rather tamely on a leaf surface which was not its usual behaviour. Though it is not a pretty butterfly in terms of colour variations, its wing patterns look rather intricate and artistic to me.
Being rather lethargic on a cool afternoon, it  provided me with more time to compose my shots with different camera settings of this usually active lycaenid always fluttering with erratic flights.
I decided to turn back and walked along a tarred road when I reached the end of the forest trail. At one open patch where some Mikania micrantha  flowers were abundant, another lycaenid was waiting for me. It was believed to be a male Nacaduba berenice icena. Not cooperative as the above Logania, it didn't stay still for me to take some properly-composed shots.
Wild grasses and Bidens flowers along the road and at the shelter had been cleared. I am not sure if this had greatly reduced the number of  skippers and other critters in the area.?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Quiet Morning at USR

On a fine Saturday morning on On 27 September, I dropped by Upper Seletar Reservoir (USR) Park.  At the entrance to the second trail, a Starry Bob (Iambrix stellifer) was flitting around. 
A small orange skipper, the Common Dartlet (Oriens gola pseudolus ) preferred to hang around sunlit forest fringes. 
A female Common Posy (Drupadia ravindra moorei) changed her perches a few times hastily before I could snap a record shot. 
Something extra on this rather tattered Arhopala major caught my attention. It was rather skittish initially but after a while it succumbed to my persistence. A red parasitic mite was sticking on to its head. More information on mites on butterflies :

Interestingly, when I returned to the same location, I noticed the mite had occupied the whole eye.  What a poor butterfly - its vision might have been affected.
There weren't many critters for me to photograph. So when this Dark Brand Bush Brown (Mycalesis mineus macromalayana) perched at a nice position, I could not resist taking some shots of it.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Butterflies Around Ulu Sembawang Park Connector

The Ulu Sembawang Park Connector was open to the public again after it was closed for maintenance work for a few months. On a nice Saturday morning (20 September), I decided to find out what has been done to the park connector.

Before crossing the road and heading to the park connector, I usually walked to the reservoir edge. There were a few butterflies flitting around. But only this Purple Duke (Eulaceura osteria kumana) was kind to let me take a few shots while it was resting underneath a leaf, albeit at an awkward position.
The park connector was very quiet and devoid of insect activity until this Starry Bob (Iambrix stellifer) appeared at the entrance of a forest trail.
I used to find skippers along this shady trail but not this time. The shrubs at the end of this trail have grown so tall and dense that I had difficulties looking for walking space and hunting for critters. I decided to wander around a large plot of "no man's" land on side of the park connector.
Some orange skippers were sunbathing on a grass patch. I believe this is a Potanthus species resting on a blade of grass.
Very soon it opened up its wings - a characteristic of certain Potanthus species.
Strolling along a stretch of tarred road, at least a couple of "hopping" skippers caught my attention. The Grass Demon (Udaspes folus) seemed to be common as its host plants - from the ginger family (Zingiberaceae) were rather abundant in the area.
When it changed its perch, I managed to get a quick shot of its undersides.
I always had difficulties shooting a Horsfield's Baron (Tanaecia iapis puseda). After chasing this male for a long time, it finally settled on a tip of a leaf just below my eye level.
There were many Gram Blues (Euchrysops cnejus cnejus)  at one particular spot where its larval host plants Vigna reflexophilosa - a creeper with yellow flowers were growing wild.
This is another shot of a different specimen. While searching for pristine specimen for my shots the weather changed rather rapidly - soon dark clouds gathering and rain drops falling. I had to leave hastily.
I didn't notice any changes to the stretch of the park connector before the shelter. I guessed the soil has been strengthen to prevent further landslide at one particular spot further down.