Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Short Outing to Lornie Trail

I was grounded at home on a stormy Saturday morning on 4 July. So I decided to make up for the loss of a weekly outing on the next day - a short Sunday morning outing though.

I entered the forest reserve from Lornie Road. Walking slowly along the forest trail, my first shot of the morning was a rather unattractive shield bug. 
 A rather small leaf beetle was appeared to be scavenging on a leaf - rather challenging for me to snap a good shot in the morning breeze.
Walking towards the reservoir edge to look for one of the smallest dragonflies, rather unexpectedly, I bumped into a pristine Grey Pansy (Junonia atlites atlites) flitting around and sun-bathing on some ferns. 
It has been years since I last spotted a Grey Pansy at MacRitchie area. So, I decided to spend sometime chasing and stalking it to get more shots. 
A Malay Viscount (Tanecia pelea pelea) flew past me and landed on a leaf - the duration of the perch was just enough for me to snap a quick shot. 
I moved towards the other exit to Lornie Road. A rather common forest denizen, this female Archdule (Lexias pardalis dirteana) was looking for her food on the ground.
From far, I saw a tall Caucasian with a camera trying to track a butterfly flitting around in the undergrowth. I approached closer and said hello - he is rather knowledgeable about butterflies. Nice meeting you James and welcome to Singapore - I guessed what we saw was a Malayan Lascar (Lasippa tiga siaka) perching high on a tree.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Butterflies of Taiwan Part 2

Many thanks to 晟智 for driving us to Puli on Saturday 13 June. We left Taipei City early in the morning and  heading south towards the  Nantou Province. After more than 2 hours of journey, we arrived at  our first shooting location - at a stream (I could not remember the name of the place).

My first shot of the day was this Curetis acuta formosana (銀灰蝶) spotted by the sharp eyes of our host.

 I managed to shoot another similar species, the Curetis brunnea (台灣銀灰蝶).

There were some puddling butterflies along a stream. But they were rather skittish and alert to our presence. This Cyrestis thyodamie formasana (網絲蛺蝶) was one of them.

散紋盛蛺蝶 (Symbrenthia lilaea formosanawas another skittish one which didn't stay still on the rocks along the stream.

蓬萊環蛺蝶 (Neptis taiwana) seemed to be rather common at Puli. We found a few of them along the stream.

Its upperside colour is slightly different from other Neptis species.
I must thank 晟智 for highlighting this Grass Yellow  Eurema mandarina  (北黃蝶 ) to me  - it was a different species from what we have in SG. Indeed, the shape of the hindwings are quite different.
There were quite a number Cepora nadina eunama  淡褐脈粉蝶).I managed to get some shots of this guy on a leaf before the arrival of a group of parents and children led by a butterfly enthusiast from Puli for their weekend outing.  
At the second shooting location, a small dirt road besides a farmland, we saw quite a number of puddling butterflies on the ground. The highlight of the day must be this 紅玉翠蛺蝶(Euthalia irrubescens fulguralis). He came down a few times to tease us in the early afternoon.
Another beautiful Euthalia the E. formosana  (台灣翠蛺蝶)kept me busy for awhile .
The undersides are less attractive though.
This 鋸粉蝶 (Prioneris thestylis formosana)  was initially among a  group of  Pieridae puddlers  in the late afternoon.   
This is Seseria formosana (台灣瑟弄蝶)  
When it perched on a leaf for a few seconds I quickly snapped a few shots.
This is the Polyura  narcaea meghaduta (小雙尾蛺蝶)which seemed preferring  to hang around on the wet ground in the afternoon.
Of course, there were quite a number of Papilio species puddling on the wet ground . This is  Papilio thaiwanus (台灣鳳蝶). 
琉璃翠鳳蝶(Papilio paris nakaharai ) is rather common here. They tended to congregate in a small group and kept fluttering their wings..

It was at its resting mode after it had enough nutrient solution.
Let me feature a pretty damselfly to conclude this posting.
We checked into Hotel Kim (金谷丰饭店) at 285, Nanchang St. in the town of Puli - a very affordable hotel for visitors like us.

To be continued here.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Butterflies of Taiwan Part 1

On two separate flights , CH and I landed at the Taoyuan International airport in the evening of 10 June. Our host picked us up from the airport and headed to Taipei cty centre for a steamboat dinner before checking into hotel. Our first shooting location on 11 June was the 拉拉山. We had to leave our hotel at around 3:30 am to hunt for an endemic lycaenid - the 拉拉山鑽灰蝶 (Horaga rarasana)Many thanks to 晟智and 陳全 who drove us to 拉拉山 and bought breakfast for us. 
We arrived at the mountain park early and took our breakfast outside the gate while waiting for the park to be opened at 7 am. Another 3 km of trekking brought us to a sunlit spot where the rare lycaenid would show up. Anyway, a long distance shot was what I could get on our way back to the gate.

While waiting for our target to appear, I noticed this strange-looking fly hovering on a blade of grass.
I know there are many different species of ladybird  beetles but this one with a pair of  large white eyes was my first collection.
A small robber fly with a long and sharp abdomen.
While loitering around a small patch of open ground, I noticed this 大紅蛺蝶  (Vanessa indica) puddling on a piece of wooden prank. It must be a very common species that the local butterfly photographers ignored it completely.   
I waited for opportunities to snap its upperside shot - this was my only shot.
I am not sure if this is the Neptis soma tayalina (斷線環蛺蝶)- it kept flapping its wings while it was trying to settle on a leaf.
At last it stayed still for a short moment.
There were a  few 流星絹粉蝶 (Aporia agathon moltrechti) zooming around from tree to tree and feeding on flowers at the site.  

The 靛色琉灰蝶 is a different subspecies  from our Common Hedge Blue (Acytolepsis puspa lambi).
紫日灰蝶 is (Heliop ila matsumurae)  a common butterfly in Taiwan.

I managed to take an upperside shot of another individual.
After we left La La Mountain in the early afternoon, we headed back to Taoyuan city along a winding mountain road. Along the way,  晟智 parked the car at the roadside and let us took some shots of these beautiful nymphalidae butterflies which were feeding on the sap of a fallen tree trunk. 

There were a few 燦蛺蝶 (Sephisa chandra androdamas) feeding  the tree trunk. We could not get any closer to this  female as one step forward would land us in the ravine of the mountain.
 The male was more colourful.
I could see this male Chitoria chrysolara  金鎧蛺蝶) from where I stood and it seemed to be at the resting mode for a long period of time.
Apart from butterflies, different species of beetles were attracted to the tree sap too.

After taking some shots, 陳全 showed us other shooting locations nearby. He spotted a (Tongeia hainani台灣玄灰蝶.  
Before the above shot was taken, it was trying to mate but somehow they lacked the sexual instinct to get into the correct position - strange !
Take a good look at this beautiful  台灣翠蛺蝶 (Euthalia formosana), what was wrong with it? 

After this, 晟智 brought us to our last shooting location of the day. He suddenly parked his car at the roadside. Guess, what did you see? Yes, a snake was stuck inside a pipe in an embankment of the road. 陳全 was really brave - he pulled it out and I quickly took a few shots.

We finally reached a trail leading to the top of a mountain. Immediately, we noticed a Stichophthalma howqua formosana 箭環蝶-my first shot of a Jungle Queen. 
The undersides of this (大紫蛺蝶) Sasakia chadronda formosana are less attractive then the uppersides - but I could not get a proper shot. 
There were quite a few Symbrenthia hypselis scatinia (花豹盛蛺蝶)along this forest trail.
Its uppersides.
To be continued.