Sunday, April 24, 2016

Butterflies at Wu Kau Tang (烏蛟騰), Hong Kong

The weather on 14 April was much better than previous two weekends. So once again, Samuel, Mr To, Ivy and Shan invited me to join them "venturing " to a rather "remote"  butterfly-hunting ground  in the Tai Po district - a place called Wu Kau Tang (烏蛟騰).

It seems that the place is popular with hikers as the number of people queing up for the bus 20R (the only bus going to Wu Kau Tang)  at Tai Po Market Station was far more than a mini bus could take. After about a 30-minute non-stop journey, we reached the terminal station at Wu Kau Tang village. 

At the first shooting site along a small stream,  we saw a tiny lycaenid flitting around but it refused to stop. With a group of  photographers  crowding at this small area, we deciced to move to another location.  On the way, I took a quick  shot of this dry season form of the Dark Evening Brown (Melanitis phedima), perching high on a leaf.
This is a very beautiful damselfly - there were many of them. I could not resist photographing one of them when it  presented me with a nice perche like this.
The Lethe europa seemed to like us as it kept following us along the trail.
This is another Lethe species, the L. confusa  - it stopped in front of me and scooted off as fast as it appared.  A hasty shot  without composing it properly was what I could manage.

A Common Mapwing (Cyrestis thyodamas) flew past us a few times and occasionaly stayed on the ground. But it was too active for me to snap a better shot than this.

I rarely saw a "proper" Mycalesis species (I mean the wet season form) in the last few months. When I saw one, I quickly took a long distance shot. This may be the M. zonata when it perched high to "examine" what was below its view. 
We hiked deeper into the forested areas, always  looking out for a small lycaenid.
Finally, we met a  a solitary Pithecops corvus (Forest Quaker 黑丸灰蝶 ) - our primary tarket for this outing as I was told that this species is rather localised in HK..
While we had some fun stalking and shooting this guy, his two friends appeared - this was one of them.
We found a few more Forest Quakers at another location, about 100 metres ahead of the first site.
We followed them and snapped shots whenever they gave us good and nice perch - yes, now we were getting choosy.
I also looked out for other species. I think this is the dsf of the Ypthima baldus (Common Five-ring).
On our way back to the bus stop, we met this Ampittia dioscorides (Bush Hopper) again. This time I managed to get a shot of it.
I found it difficult to identify the dry season form of the Mycalesis species. I shall wait for the experts out there to help me.

Here is a mating pair too.

A butterfly on flowers is always pleasing to the eyes. Though this is a very ordinary and dull-looking skipper - the Chestnut Bob (Lambrix salsala), all of us queued up to snap a few shots.
A big bonus for us - thanks to Samuel for spotting this Gaudy Baron (Euthalia lubentina) puddling on a mudftat. We went closer and snapped a few shots.
However, getting an underside shot was not easy as it kept flapping its wings half-openly only.
I noticed some people didn't like the black-and-white butterflies like the Neptis species - but not for me. So when this skittish guy came down flitting around a particular plant, I quickly snap a shot - it looks like a N. clinia   which was trying to lay eggs.
I am not sure if this is always the case - this particular speice of cicade was abundant.  Their songs were loud and I could see many of them high on the tree trunks.
What a fruitful outing - many many thanks to my HK butterfly photographer friends.

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