Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Butterflies of Chiang Mai Part 5 (Papilionids and Pierids)

It was a long overdue since I last posted my butterfly pictures taken in Chiang Mai. Let me concluce the series of shots with this post.

We didn't encounter many butterflies from the Papilionidae and Pieridae families during the trip.  This  Great Windmill (Atrophaneura dasarada barata) was one my first few shots at the Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary on 27 Sept 2015.
This looks like a Common Windmill (Atrophaneura polyeuctes polyeuctes) which was foraging on the ground under the hot sun.
A male Redbreast (Papilio alcmenor  alcmenor) appeared on our first day of shooting at our favourite spot - I call it the  Chiang Dao Square.
Not far away, there was this male Great Mormon (Papilio memnon agenor) approaching towards the Redbreast.
Finally, they met up with each other.
In the late afternoon on 1 Oct, a male Great Mormon decided to take an afternoon nap and sunbathed right in front of me.
A Red Helen (Papilio helenus helenus) was puddling on a pacth of sandy ground behind a worker's' quarter.  
I noticed that the number of  Paris Peacock (Papilio paris paris) was a lot lesser than my previous trips. I managed to capture the undersides of a rather pristine Paris Peacock.
It is interesting to note that he Dragontail butterflies do not have the usual body and wing-shaped of a Papilionid.  There were a few White Dragontails (Lamproptera curius curius) congregating and puddling on the wet ground. But I managed to spot one isolated specimen and took some shots.
The Tailed Jay (Graphium agamemnon agamenon) is one of the Graphium species that we can find in Singapore. Just like other Graphiums, it usually puddled with both wings folded and remained very alert most of the time.
I think this is the Veined Jay (Graphium chironides) which was puddling and moving gradually on the gravel ground.
Finally, it found a friend , a Common Jay (Graphium doson) that it could talk to.
Compared with my last two trips to Chiang Mai, we didn't get to see many Pierids  this time. Let me being with a shot of a very docile Red Bese Jezebel (Delias pasithoe).
The female of the Lemon Emigrant (Catopsilia pomona) has quite a number of different forms - this is form-pomona.

However, this is form-catilla. It was a great pity that I could not isolate this guy from other Yellows appearing in the foreground.
When there was nothing interesting to shoot, even a common species such as the Common Grass Yellow (Eurema hecabe hecabe) became our model if it presented us with a  nice pose on flowers.
I remembered in the late afternoon, while the butterflies slowerly disappeared from the puddling ground at Chiang Dao, some Pierids such as the Chocolate Albatross (Appias lyncida)  were still actively feeding on wild Bidens flowers growing along the roadside. I was lucky to photograph both the female and male even though they were quite alert and active. 
Lastly,  let me showcase some non-butterfly shots that were taken at Doi Suthep. Here are some colourful beetles.
This mating pair and an "intruder" provided some excitement and interesting shooting opportunities for some of us when the butterfly activities were low.

Finally the mating pair shaked off their "intruder" and had an intimate time for themselves.
Apart from beetles,  I noticed a good number damselflies along the stream at Doi Suthep - sorry I cannot identify them.
Today is the second day of the Year of the Monkey on the Lunar calender.
Wishing every reader a happy and fulfilling year ahead.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Fung Yuen @ Hong Kong - After 7 Years

My last visit to Fung Yuen Butterfly Reserve at Tai Po,  Hong Kong was 7 years  ago (see here). As the weather was relatively good on 30 Jan 2016 (not too cold and have a few hours of intermittent sunlight), I decided to visit Fung Yuan again.

I set off quite early at about 8:40 am as the weatherman predicted that the sunshine was shortlive. After about 1 hour plus of bus and MTR journeys from South Horizons in Ap Lei Chau where I have been living since late December 2015, I reached Fung Yuan. The surroundings of Fung Yuan has changed so much that I almost could not recognise the place - high-rise private apartments are just next to the Butterfly Garden. Following the signage, I found my destination and I  was very surprised to see  manye  butterfly photographers were already there.

Knowing that there would not be many butterflies in winter, I didn't have high expectation. So, I just walked around to find out how big the area is.  At a sunlit spot, I bumped into a Purple Sapphire (Heliophorus epicles), flitting around.  Perhaps due to the low temperature, it always perched with its wings wide open to absorb heat from the sunlight.
A few Common Grass Yellows  (Eurema hecabe) were frolicking under the intermitent sunshine. As usual, they were skittish and alert even when they were foraging on flowers. My only shot was from an instinctive squeeze off the shutter.
This brown Restricted Demon (Notocrypta curvifascia) kept zipping around me but when it landed, it always at a distance away from me and again with wings open.
There were a few Mycalesis species hopping in and out of the bushes - this may be the dry form.
A Chocolate Pansy (Junonia iphita) was resting on aleaf surface before it scooted off shortly after this shot.
The catch of the day must be this lantern bug - it flew past me and landed in front of me on a bamboo stick.
These small flowers actually were nice and attracted insects, mainly small bees and flies like this one.