Sunday, April 28, 2019

Butterflies of Langkawi (Dec 2018)

Last December from 8 to 12 Dec, I joined CH and TP in their annual butterfly outing to Langkawi. This time, we focused on two locations, Kisap and Lubuk Semilang.

Let me start sharing a few new additions to my collection from this trip. At the entrance to a forest trail at Lubuk Semilang, I saw a whitish slow-flying lycaenid. It was an ordinary Grass Blue was what I thought initially.  But the longer I observed, the more I was convinced that it might be something else. I followed it closely and I was rewarded with a few shots of this Gem, the Cyaniriodes libna andersonii.
 Another shot when it changed its perch.
From the upperside, I knew that it was a female
I have shot a different sub-species of the Branded Yamfly (Yasoda pita dohertyi) in Chiang Mai but it was my first sighting of this species in Langkawi.
Another snap shot when it landed on a twig.

Some bread or buns  was what we usually prepared for our lunch when we were out in the wild shooting.  While I was resting and having my lunch on a big rock at the waterfall, this Poritia erycinoides caught my attention. Without hesitation, I quickly grab my shooting gears and went after it. 
The upperside of the male looked like this which I shot at Kisap. This beautiful Gem appeared to be quite common at Kisap in the morning before certain time as we spotted quite a few of them.
Along a forest trail at Bulok Semilang, a small lycaenid was fluttering rather erratically. This Allotinus substrigosus subtrigosus seems common here as I shot it during my last visit here.
I noticed a rather pristine Banded Peirrot (Discolampa ethion ethion) was among other Peirrots puddling on a moist ground so I decided to take a few shots.
Among the Peirrots, we could find one or two different species - this is a Straight Peirrot (
We spent quite a lot of time prowling along a dirt path besides a golf course at Kisap during this trip. Perhaps some other collectors had come before us or due to forest-clearing, the butterfly activities were below my expectation. 

We encountered a few species that we can find in SG - this is the Spindasis lohita though the colour of the bands look more like the S. senaya. 
A single Quaker (Neopithecops zalmora zalmora) was puddling on a damp soil.
A Large Snow Flat (Tagiades gana gana) was taking an afternoon nap on a foilage - it was quite oblivious to my presence.
We didn't get to see many skippers this trip. A lonely Telicota species was puddling quietly on the ground.
On the second day when we were at Kissap again, I decided to venture further in from the main road, almost reaching the fringe of the forest. Along the way, I noticed a large plot of land was cleared. Very disappointingly, very few butterflies were encountered - just a Purpe Bush Brown (Mycalesis oresis nautilus) gave me a chance.
There were quite a few Yellows congregating on the ground. One of them was the Forest Grass YellowEurema simulatrix tecmessa
Shooting a Tree Yellow (Gandaca harina distanti) usually a daunting task as this species is rather alert and active. But when it found a sweet spot on a moist ground, it could stay for awhile.
"Two-in-one" shot is something I like to take if an opportunity arises. When the Eurema andersonii andersonii came closer to the Tree Yellow, I quickly snap a shot.
 It looks like the Appias albina.
We also met a few "Yeomans" in this trip - these Yeomans are generally very skittish and alert to human movement. The Little Banded Yeoman (Paduca fasciata fasciata) was shot at Kisap after  stalking this guy for a long period of time. 
I was lucky to see it showing me the underside wings.
Though there were quite a number of Malay Yeomans (Cirrochroa emalea emalea) at Lubok Semilang, we still needed a lot of patience to get some decent shots.
There were only a few sightings of this species in SG in the past few years.
The Common Yeoman (Cirrochroa tycha rotundata)  is smaller in size and it appears in the vicinity of the Malay Yeoman. 
Its underside is quite similar to that of the Malay Yeoman.
This is a Black and White Helen (Papilio nephelus annulus)resting on a tarred road side leading to the waterfall at Lubok Semilang
I always find shooting the Cateye butterfly  (Coelites epiminthia epiminthia) challenging as it often stays at the forest understory. This was an lucky shot when it landed just above my eye level.
We spent half a day at Kampung Kadah but didn't find anything interesting. We just got a couple of shots - a dark brown skipper - maybe a Baoris species.
A Yellow Banded Flat (Celaenorrhinus aurivittatus) was zipping around me and visited the flowers quite randomly. I waited at the flowers and managed to get a shot.
Just before noon, after shooting this Common Peirrot (Castalius rosimon rosimon ) we decided to go back to Kissap again for our last afternoon of butterfly-hunting in Langkawi.
This is a male Euploea klugii erichsonii that I saw it on two days while we were at Kisap. I finally got a decent shot.

Unlike my previous two visits to Langkawi, I encountered only one Arhopala species this time. I wondered why? On the whole, the number of butterflies and the species we have encountered in this trip was a lot fewer this time. Let's hope that we will find and shoot many more species if we will go back to Langkawi in the near future.

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Sunday, February 24, 2019

Flora and Fauna of Tampines Eco Green Park

It has been more than 3 years since my last visit to this nice and wild place in the northern part of Tampines town. Yes, I am referring to the Tampines Eco Green. After coming back to home for good last July, I had visited the park twice. 

I noticed that the shrubs at the south entrance have grown a lot taller and the number of butterflies have dwindled quite a bit - perhaps due to the construction work currently going on along Sungei Tampines.

As usual, many Plain Tiger butterflies (Danaus chrysippus chrysippus) were there to welcome me on both occasions. Yes, with the host plant, the Crown Flower (Calatropis gigantea) doing well, we are bound to see this elegant butterfly fluttering around. 
A female was ovipositing her eggs
After taking a shot of the flower buds, I noticed that a critter was lurking nearby, waiting to strike any Plain Tiger going there to lay eggs?
A close-up shot of the spider - I wonder what this is?
Besides the Plain Tiger, I encountered a few other butterflies. One of them was this very alert and skittish male Common Tiger (Danaus genutia genutia).
To fully appreciate nature and be able to see some small but interesting critters, we need to slow down and look around without any other interfering thoughts in our mind. 

These small creatures can be spotted quite easily if we pay a bit attention to our surroundings. This is the Bush Hopper (Ampittia dioscorides camertes), a small skipper resting on a blade of grass.  
Same pose - but I moved a few steps away from it. 
Another specimen showed its upperside wings.
A very small nymph of a katydid was feeding on the Coat Buttons flower (Tridax procumbens). 
This tiny and beautiful Ricaniid planthopper (Ricanula stigmatica) is quite common in grasslands. But you will miss it, if you don't stop and look around. 
A few male Potanthus species were "chasing and fighting" before they settled down on a leaf surface with wings open - so I had no chance of taking an underside shot to identify them.
A different male specimen displayed the same behavior of opening its wings immediately when it perched.
A poor skipper, a Telicota species I believed was trapped in a spider web. While it was struggling to flee itself, I was thinking should I offer a helping hand. At the end, I didn't.  
The Long Banded Silverline (Spindasis lohita senama) is one of the star butterfly species that many of us would love to shoot. 
Another more pristine specimen.
Unlike many other urban parks in SG, the Tampines Eco Green integrates much of the original natural and wild grassland and woodland habitats as the main concept of this huge natural park in Tampines town. Apart from many interesting critters that have established their home there, numerous attractive wild flowers were abundant too.

A pair of Moring Glory (Ipomoea cairica) flowers captured my attention for photographing. 
This small yellow flower is nice and attractive. 
Before the south entrance, a few bushy shrub with many attractive flowers stood out and aught my attention - I believe these are the flowers of the Kopsia fruticose.
I watched with a great worry for the waterhen as it didn't seem to know that the Malayan water monitor (Varanus salvator) was quite close to him.