Monday, October 10, 2016

Skippers at Sheung Shui, Hong Kong

It was a overcast morning on 1st October - The National Day of PRC. However, the bad weather didn't dampen our enthusiasm of our weekly butterfly outing  - my friends and I still headed out to He Sheung Heung (河上乡) in the north-western part of  New Territory, Hong Kong to hunt for a relatively rare skipper, the Halpe porus.  

We took minibus (51K) from the Sheung Shui MTR station. The moment we  reached the mini-bus terminal station, the sky opened up - we had to wait in a shelter nearby. Fortunately, we didn't have to wait very long before the rain subsided. We walked towards the Sheung Yue Rive where our shooting location was.
However, as the sun was overpowered by the clouds and passing rains dominated almost the whole morning, we were just waiting patiently and roaming around until around noon.

Though no butterflies, I shot other things  - this wasp was drenched and it just felt too larthagic to fly.
It was doing "exercise" to warm itself.
Dragonflies seemed to be common here - I encountered quite a number of them; some were not awake. Without any reference guide, I cannot identify any of these dragonflies.
Another small and beautiful dragonfly.
An attractive damselfly resting on a blade of grass.
At last, I managed to see butterflies coming fluttering when the air was warmed up.  A Palm Bob (Suastus gremius) appeared and immediately attracted some attention as we had nothing else to photograph.
Pieris canidia is one of those butterflies that is common in HK but difficult to shoot. Anyway, I have not encountering it often since August.

I was stalking a very skittish Angled Castor (Ariadne ariadne) as I have not shot this species in Hong Kong.
 I could only get a long-distance record shot of  both its upper and underside shot.
When I was trying to get more shots, Ivy alerted me on the phone that the skipper, the Halpe porus that everyone aimed to photograph was found on the opposite side of the river - so I gave up chasing the Angle Castor. 

I noticed that two specimen were zipping around. As I have shot this species many times in Chiang Mai and Malaysia, so I decided to look for the more pristine one. Another guy and I were lucky to see it zipping close to the ground and landed on the Biden flowers. A burst of of shots were taken when it was feeding on the flowers.

We hung around the same area after we had our late lunch at a small eating place nearby. At a far end corner, I was presented with this rare opportunity of  taking some quick shots of  the uppersides. 
In the late afternoon, this guy became less active and it stayed and posed on the flowers for us.  Look at the number of people queing up to shot this guy.
There were a few other skippers zipping around us. This pristine orange skipper, a Telicota species was having a afternoon nap.
 I cannot be certain what Swift this is - all these brown skippers are really difficult to identify them by just looking at the underside shots. 
A slightly larger Swift.
The next two shots were from the same specimen - it looks like a Borbo species?

My last skipper shot of the day - thanks to Samuel's dad who spotted this very pristine Common Redeye (Matapa aria) at a  muddy place.  
To wrap up this post, I would like to seek your advice on this critter as I have not seen this before - is this a nymph of  a lantern bug?