Sunday, November 18, 2018

A Hike From Mandai Track 15 to Bukit Panjang

It is the north-east monsoon season during this time of the year.  We are expecting more rainy days and fewer opportunities for outings.

After a very heavy downpour yesterday morning (17 Nov), I could feel the air was fresher; the weather was cool and nice - so I went for a long hike. I decided to have a quick lunch at Bah Soon Pah Road before grabbing my shooting gears and heading to Mandai Track 15.

During the first half an hour, there was nothing interesting for me to shoot except for a diligent carpenter bee.
I just kept walking towards the direction of the expressway (BKE). Finally, I saw something worth taking some shots - a rather uncommon large dragonfly, a male Camacinia gigantean presenting a balanced and elegant perch on a climber.

Walking past underneath a flyover, I came to a shady water-logged spot  where I noticed another dragonfly. This is male Dark-tipped Forest-skimmer (Cratilla  metallica) - the distinctive blue metallic thorax and the black segments on the abdomen make it quite easy for us to identify it.
  A side-view shot.
A common shrub we can easily find along forest fringes is The Singapore Rhododendron (Melastoma malabathricum). I was waiting beside this shrub with many dry and ripen fruits, hopping some butterflies would visit them. Instead, a few wasps came and fed on them. 
When I was about to move on, a fast-flying lycaenid perched and open its wings immediately. Two instinctive shots were what this female Common Imperial (Cheritra freja Frigga) offered to me.
The highlight of  my hike was the encounter with this Common Red Flash (Rapala iarbus iarbus ). It was zipping around and rather skittish at first. Once it got used to my presence, it stayed on a leaf surface for a while.
Turning left into a small short-cut path, I found myself walking on a slippery and long stretch of grass patch running parallel to the highway. I am glad to mention here that a group of foreign workers were clearing the debris of a few fallen trees.

This small blue Halictid bee (Anthophora zonata) was buzzing around and feeding on the flowers.
It was accompanied by a wasp.
A surprise to me, I could see all the four Junonia butterflies at this particular spot. The ground was wet and muddy so I wasn't keen to chase after them. However, I could not resist taking a record shot of this intimate pair of Grey Pansy (J. atlites atlites).
It was almost 4 pm when I reached Zhenghua Nature Park and bumped into a skipper - I believe this is the Lesser Dart (Potanthus omaha Omaha) - my last shot from a long hike -  well, it wasn't  a   disappointing hike.

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