Friday, January 30, 2015

Quiet Days in The Nature Reserve

After a quick breakfast at the Prata shop on 10 Jan, I decided to walk along the peaceful and tranquil Old Thomson Road. Surprisingly, there were very few cyclists and cars passing by me on a cool and windy Saturday morning.  As usual, I headed towards the Upper Peirce Reservoir Park. 

I usually hang around at two locations to look for dragonflies. True enough, a few damselflies were perching on the leaves of  the aquatic plants or twigs along the reservoir edge. This one looks like the Orange-striped Threadtail (Prodasineura humeralis).
My first butterfly shot of the morning was this Common Four-ring (Ypthima huebneri) the smallest of the Ypthima species that we can find here.
Low butterfly activities meant that I could spend more time enjoying the serenity of the surroundings. When it was time to go, I chose to trek along a quiet forest trail towards the main road. It was a bad choice  as the trail now was full of obstacles and  not a single shot was fired.  

It was the same situation on the following Saturday at areas around Mandai Track 15. I didn't have a chance of taking any shot until a Common Bluebottle (Graphium sarpedon luctatius) was attracted by a cluster of Bidens flowers.
This Nacaduba specimen had lost its tails. There are too many look-alikes in this genus, I could not identify it with certainty. It fluttered with a rather erratic flight pattern along the biking trail for a long period of time. It finally perched on a leaf, just for a few seconds. 
This skittish mating pair looks like the Dark Brand Bush Brown (Mycalesis mineus macromalayana). I had to chase them relentlessly before I could snap a few shots.
I noticed there were many fallen trees in these two outings. As a regular hiker looking for critters, especially butterflies at various locations in the nature reserve, I have reasons to be worried about  the states and conditions of  our nature reserve.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Lornie Trail On A Sunday Afternoon

An outing to the Lornie Trail on the first Sunday afternoon in the year 2015 was just like many other outings that I had before - strolling leisurely on a familiar forest footpath, but now covered with gravels and therefore less muddy. Thanks for the improvement!

This male Cruiser (Vindula dejone erotella) might have pitied me for not taking any shot for a long period of time. It flew past me and landed on the ground. How could I be choosy if this was my first clear chance of snapping a shot.
As usual, I turned back when I caught sight of that long stretch of open footpath lying between the reservoir edge and the golf course. My return leg on the same forest path was more rewarding. It was this very restless Saturn (Zeuxidia amethy stus amethystus) that tested my patience and stopped me from moving forward - and this gave me opportunities to encounter a few other butterflies at the same location.
After chasing and taking two shots of the Saturn in the forest undergrowth, I bumped into this pristine Malay Viscount (Tanaecia pelea pelea). It was more accommodating towards my presence and presented its undersides to me.
There were a few skittish Archdukes (Lexias pardalis dirteana) flying past me and feeding on the ground too. Though they were alert and took off from the ground very frequently, they also came back to the same vicinity often.  
This was the only Arhopala species I encountered high on a leaf. It appeared to be the Common Disc Oakblue (A. epimuta epiala).
The moth caterpillar was found hanging on a thin silk and wriggling upwards - an amazing behaviour that I had encountered before. Taking shots of this small fellow in the breeze and in constant movement was a challenge for me.
Albeit the initial disappointment, at the end of the day it was still a pleasant outing for me. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Wandering in the Wild Wild West

I almost forgot this solo outing to the western part of Singapore happened late last year in November.

I remembered that for a long period of time I was just wandering around, moving further away from the main road, without taking any shots. At last, at a shady spot along a forest path, a Pugnacious Lancer (Pemara pugnans) appeared and rested on a leaf quite tamely.
I went around it to take some shoots from a different angle. The Pugnacious Lancer is a not-so-common forest species. It can be identified by its undersides having a  good spread of dense pale yellowish hyaline spots.  
Not far away from the skipper, a Dark Tit (Hypolycaena thecloides thecloides) presented a high perch to tempt me. As there was nothing worthy of shooting, I waited patiently for it to come down to my eye level. This shot was my reward for my patience.
I decided to turn around and head back to the main road. Since its opening in year 2014, the Jurong Eco -Garden has been my butterfly-hunting ground if I go for an outing in the western parts of Singapore.  

To my surprise, there where quite a number of a tiny lycaenid, the Malayans (Megisba malaya sikkima) fluttering along a forest fringe.
 This Jamides specimen was very small. It fluttered among the Malayans.
I always tried to look for an endangered species apparently endemic to a small plot of forested ground along Nanyang Avenue - but I had no luck. Hope that I will be able to find the Harlequin (Taxila haquinus haquinus) in my next visit.