Saturday, December 31, 2016

Butterflies of Lantau Island, Hong Kong Part 1

Lantau Island (大嶼山) is the largest offshore island of Hong Kong. Covered with hilly and mountainous tarrain, the island has an area of about 150 km square.
There are a few butterfly-hunting grounds in Lantau Island. An open grassland behind the North Lantau Hospital seems to be a hotspot in the month of November and December. My friends brought me there in early November and subsequently  I visited the place again in early December.

It was a beautiful scene when many Common Tiger (Danaus genutia genutia) were fluttering graciously and feeding on the wild flowers. But they were generally alert and sensitive to human movment.
There were quite a number of lycadnids flitting around in this open grassland too. The Catochrysops strabo strabo seemed to be another common butterfly - we could easily find them feeding on different wild flowers.
I spotted only one Pea Blue (Lampides boeticus) with a very coperative perch in  the late afternoon during my first visit.
When there were not many butterflies to shoot, small and "boring" Grass Blues attracted my attention. A Zizula hylax was having a quiet and peaceful moment on a blade of grass.
There are a few look-alikes Grass Blues - this is  Zizeeria maha.
Another Zizeeria maha presented a nice perch for me to shoot.
The Brown Awl  (Badmia exclamationis) was a surprise to me. It came down to feed on the Bidens flowers for  split seconds before disappeared completely. 
This Tagiades menaka menka was feeding on the Bidens flowers when I accidentaly bumped into it near the edge of this open grass land.
I rarely encountered the Blue Pansy (Junonia orithya) in Hong Kong. So when this male specimen landed in front of me, I didn't hesistate to snap a quick shot - as usual, it was skittish and took off as soon as I snap a shot. 
When this female Argyreus hyperbius hyperbius appeared in the late afternoon, some of us were chasing after her. I was particularly interested in getting a good shot of the female as I didn't get to see a female often.  
This male Hypolimnas bolina opened its winds fully to absorb heat from the sun on a breezy and cold winter morning during my second visit in early December.

Perhaps due to the a lower temperature (about 20 C), this Cabbage White (Pieris rapae  ) was feeding with wings wide open too.
Perhaps it was "colourless" and also skittish , black-and-white butterflies generally don't get the attention of many photograpers. However, I was the only person chasing after this guy - a Common Sailer (Neptis hylas).


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