Friday, July 7, 2017

Waiting for an Ace at Tung A (東丫), Hong Kong

I must thank  my butterfly-outing group for initiating a trip to a rather remote location in Sai Kung - Tung A (東丫) on 20 May. From Hang Hau MTR station,  we took a 101M mini-bus to Sai Kung pier before boarding a taxi for Tung A via  the MacLehose Stage 1 trail which winds round the High Island Reservoir and leads us to a famous geopark in Hong Kong.

We walked down a long flight of stairs towards the Tung A village. Along the way, we didn't get to see any activity at all, perhaps due to cool and  cloudy morning.

Feeling bored, I snapped a few quick shots of this Grass Blue - likely to be the Zizeeria maha.
At the same vicinity, another common species, the Chilades lajus.  
As the weather in the morning was cloudy and drizzling intermitantly, not even a glimpse of any skipper was seen.

The Thoressa monastyrskyi (Monastyrsky's Ace) was our target - it was first discovered in Hong Kong in 2002.

We patienly waited and very often walking to-and-fro on a boardwalk to look out for it.  Thanks to a short spell of  sunny weather at noon, we spotted a T. monastyrskyi zipping past us and landed on its favoruite food source - bird droppings.
This species was first discovered by Alexey Devyatkin in North Vietnam (see this paper).  
It seems that the distribution of this particular Thoressa species is confined between southern China and northen Vietnam.
A record shot of the uppersides from afar.
Strangely, I spotted more caterpillars than butterflies in this trip. A fascianting and acrobatic pose by a moth larva on a row of metal railings.
Two differnt colourful moth larvae.
A very colourful moth larva for sure.
An early instar of  a Graphium larva was resting on its host plant.
Though a very long journey and "expensive" to come to this place, it was a fulfilling experience for me - knowing where Tung A is and more about this relatively rare Ace.