Sunday, October 18, 2015

Butterflies of Chiang Mai Province, Thailand - Part 1 (Skippers)

Four of us, Khew, Simon, CJ and I once again booked on a SilkAir flight to Chiang Mai for yet another butterfly-photography trip from 26 Sept - 3 Oct, as usual led by Antonio. This time, we had another butterfly enthusiast - Hiro joining us from UK. After meeting Antonio at the airport, we headed to Doi Chiang Dao for our first 3 nights of stay at Nest.

On our first day (27 Oct) of shooting, I saw a few small orange skippers puddling on the ground of the"mysterious" Chiang Dao "Square"where the gantry to the sanctuary is. However, I chose to photograph one which stayed on a leaf - it is a  Golden Ace (Thoressa masoni).
This brown Light Straw Ace (Pithauria stramineipennis stramineipennis) was rather co-operative, staying on the wet gravel ground for quite sometime.
Another Light Straw Ace was shot on 1 Oct - our third visit Chiang Dao "Square" 
A look-alike but smaller brown skipper, so I am not what this is, perhaps a Helpe species.  
A rather alert and active Helpe porus (Moore's Ace) was spotted on a table top. But it was too shy for me to take a proper shot. 
Another similar-looking skipper which looked like a Pale Marked Ace (Halpe hauxwelli) was attracted to a rock. 
I believe this is a Northen Ace (Thoressa cerata) puddling and looking at a dead ant on the ground.
Another individual had an elegant perch on a leaf at a quiet corner.
A solitary Long-banded Ace (Halpe zola zola) appeared on our third day at Chaing Dao (1 Oct).
A very cute and small skipper, the Tiger Hopper (Ochus subvittatus) was found  walking on a twig
Antonio usually drove up the mountain in the early afternoon, hoping to see some surprises. However, the mountain was rather quiet this time. 

We bumped into a Large Snow Flat (Tagiades gana meetana) feeding on some wild flowers before settling down. 
A Water Snow Flat (Tagiades litigiosa litigiosa) was feeding on the blue flowers at the same vicinity as the Large Snow Flat. 

On 30 Sept, we went to Doi Pha Hom Pok in the Fang District of the Chiang Mai Province.  Due to road improvement work, we were prevented from heading upwards to the two streams where we spotted quite a number of butterflies in our previous trips. However, with his familiarity of the hunting ground, Antonio could always find an alternative location. 

We spent sometime exploring a forest trail on foot as a barricade prevented all vehicles from going into the trail. Butterfly activity was low. However, we did have some excitement shooting this rather pristine Green-based Redeye (Matapa sasivarna) resting on a leaf.
An Extensive White Flat (Gerosis sinica narada) was zipping around us at the same location as the Redeye. It finally settled down for a long time when t found a sweet spot on the ground.
A different sub-species from we have in Singapore and Malaysia, this Yellow Snow Flat (Mooreana trichoneura pralaya) was having a long afternoon nap underneath a leaf. 
Before we moved towards the entrance of trail where our car was parked , a Spotted Snow Flat (Tagiades menaka menaka) appeared on a sunlit spot.

To be continued.

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