Saturday, May 14, 2016

Butterflies at Lung Kwu Tan (龍鼓灘), Hong Kong

Situated at the western coast of Hong Kong's New Territories, Lung Kwu Tan is one of the hotspots for butterfly-watching and photograpy.

Leaving home early on a warm Saturday morning (7 May), I took the West Rail MTR Line from Hung Hom to Tung Man. After having a heavy breakfast, I met my  friends at Exit C. Another 45-minute bus ride on a MTR K52 bus finally brought us to Lung Kwu Tan village. My total travelling time from my home at Ap Lei Chau to this place was almost 2 hours.

The hunting-ground is in fact a patch of wasteland (abandoned farm land?) at the foothill of a mountain.

The site was quite crowded with photographers when we arrived. I decided to follow the Lung Man Trail and walk up the stairs leading to the Emperor's Cave (but I didn't reach). Along the way, I was lucky to bump into a Mahathala ameria (Falcate Oakblue).
There were many Rustics (Cupha erymanthis) along the trail. As usual, all of them were extremely skittish and alert to movement. With a lot of patience and luck, I finally got some record shots. 
  The undersides.
There were two female Cethosia bibles working diligently to look for the correct plant to lay eggs.
The other female decided to take a short break after a long search for the correc host plant.
Some males were fluttering around and feeding  on flowers , occasionally they landed on the ground.
There were many Bidens flowers at the wasteland. Getting tired of walking up and down the stairs, I stood next to the flowers waiting for butterflies. A very fast flyer, this Common Gall (Cepora nerissa) loved to feed on the flowers.    
A mating pair of Pieris canidia caught my attention when I was resting under a tree.
I noticed there were quite a number of butterfly species  at this place. Feeding on the Bidens flowers with wings wide open,    the Chestnut Angle (Odontoptilum angulatum) presented a nice composition for me to take a few shots before it scooted off to a treetop.
The sighting of this samll Purple and Gold Flitter skipper (Zographetus satwa) in the late afternoon got everyone excicted.  Scooting around with high speeds but  perching on the same leaf surface or nearby, it  gave everyone a chance to snap some shots though from far.  
A glimpse of its markings on the forewings.

A forest denizen I believe, the Graphium doson (Common Jay) was takiing a nap.
It looks like the intermediate form of a Mycalesis species
A Neptis speceies perhaps the N. clinia was hanging around a tree in the afternoon.  
Geeting an upperside shot was a challenge for me as it kept flapping its wings -  this was the best I could get.
Due to its five distinctive five black spots on the hindwing underside, it is quite easy to identify this bbutterfly - the Parathyma sulpitia. 
I managed to get just one upperside shot.
It was late in the afternoon when this Tajuria cippus landed again on flowers but it took off a few seconds later.
The insect diversity at Lung Kwu Tan is good. Apart from  butterflies, I saw quite a number of other insects. I have not shot a Tiger beetle for a long time  When this guy landed on a cement step just infront of me, I instinctively squatted down to snap a shot. 
A small but colourful and interesting bug - not sure what this is.
It seems that this particular species of the  Lantern bug is common in HK as I have seen it at a few trails.
Finally, let me conclude this post with a mating pair of moth. Many of us queued up to take some shots of this beautiful moth.
Though this place is very far away from my home,  the number of fauna species we can find here is worth spending the time to come here again.