Sunday, 16 September 2012

Gram blue

In the morning, I decided to have a quick walk to shoot some
butterflies. Because of the dull weather, not many butterflies
came out to play. But these gram blues came out in full force!!
These fellas are really hard to nail because of their non-stop flight.
Yup, they are also extreeemely wary and flutter off at the
slightest of movements.

They seemed to like to flit close to the ground, then land
and bask with their wings half-opened. The male topside (below)
has a brownish base colour, and is strongly shot with blue, giving
it a pale purple appearance. The female is mostly brown,
but has the basal areas (the areas closer to the body) a bright blue.

These lovely butterflies are actually pretty common in
Singapore, and they love to fly around open grasslands, where
the caterpillar host-plant, pueraria phaseoloides, grows

The End.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Sightings from CCA

This morning I was out again with a few other ButterflyCircle
members explore some forest trails in the central catchment area.
What I wanted to go home with - the lesser harlequin. A small, rare
and beautifuuul butterfly. Yeah we didn't spot it. In fact we
hardly spotted anything. The first butterfly I saw was this little
Sixline-blue. He was actually feeding on the minerals deposited on
the leaf.

There were plenty of bush-browns fluttering among
the grasses too, chasing each other around. Much smaller are
the ypthima species. This fella is one of them, the Common four-rings.

This is a mating pair of Common five- rings.

The 'ring' butterflies are all extremely similar looking. Here
is an excellent article about our ypthima species and how the slight
differences tell them apart. The next thing spotted was the ever-
so-wary branded imperial. This male skipped across the trail and
showed me his topside.

After bashing through the trails but to no avail at all, we decided
to head back.This huge skipper suddenly landed heavily on a leaf
in front of me. Turned out it was a female Hoary Palmer. Sweet.

I made one wrong move and off it went, just as quickly as it
came. While searching for the palmer, I noticed a (much) smaller
something darting in and out of the undergrowth. When I peeked
under a leaf, a Plain banded awl was sitting patiently. 
It had such
wonderful glossy colours that were only visible with the flash-light.

Despite the low butterfly activities, it was still great to
get back out in the forests in a hit-and-miss quest to actually
see something new (to me, of course). And in the end I did see
a couple of new butterflies, making the trip pretty worthwhile.

The End. :)

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Hot morning at Eco Green

It was a while since I last went out for a nice butterfly outing,
so I decided to tag along with Uncle Khew and a few others
for a short visit to Tampines Eco Green. Our target: Singapore's
two silverline species. And our trip was successful! I went
home with shots of both our lovely spindasis butterflies. This
is the more common one, the Long banded silverline.

This male was feeding happily on the showy leea rubra
flowers, planted there for landscaping. He was sooo tame
and let us shoot from different angles. The second species,
the club silverline, usually has black bands on the underside,
instead of brick-red. The real difference lies in the forewing
basal streak (the little band at the base of the forewing). Club
silverline has its basal streak shaped like a club!

I only spotted two club silverlines though, compared
to the numerous long banded ones. They have established
themselves there, as the caterpillar host plant, acacia
auriculiformis grows abundantly. The plain tigers were also out in full force, and their graceful flight and bright colours made them attractive to watch.

It was a very fun outing on the whole, even though I was
baking in the sun. I was overcooked. I am glad to have
finally nailed my two silverlines.

The End.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Survey @ the Singapore Zoo

Last Saturday, ButterflyCircle conducted a smashing butterfly
survey at the Singapore Zoo. The species encountered would
be used as a baseline for further conservation efforts! That day,
our group of 12, spotted a total of 42 different species! One of
the most common butterflies was the Chocolate Demon.

They were attracted by the numerous Torch Gingers.
ButterflyCircle previously collaborated with the zoo to
transplant the torch gingers from the (now closed) Mandai
Orchid Garden. This was an amazing effort to save a rare
species, the Metallic Caerulean.

We were excited to spot this lovely metallic caerulean there,
as it proved that the efforts had paid off! Another beautiful
butterfly had been saved. Hopefully these jamides butterflies
will continue to strive there! Below is a much more common
relative, which was spotted as well, the Common Caerulean.
Among the wild grassy patches, a few speedy skippers
were spotted. One of them was the caltoris bromus, a new
addition for Singapore's check-list, where its presence here
was confirmed by our fantastic butterfly breeder, Mr. Horace Tan,
who first bred the caterpillars. This is another skipper that was seen,
the Yellow Grass Dart.
Another butterfly that was spotted many times that day
was this Peacock Pansy. It has beautiful orange wings, and was
very conspicuous.
With many rare species encountered, the survey was
a total success. I was very happy to be part of this wonderful
event, and I hope that I can participate in even more surveys
next time. I am still settling in to Secondary school life, but I
think I am doing all right. Kudos to ButterflyCircle for this super
conservation effort!

The End.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Tajuria Dominus!!!

Just about a week ago, I chanced upon an unusual looking
pupa. It resembles the pupa of the white royal, but a few
of the patterns where different. When it finally eclosed at about
11.30, it turned out to be the rare tajuria dominus.
The patterns on the abdomen were completely pale brown
with mottled spots, unlike the white royal where the abdomen
section is white with diffused yellow patches. When it finally came
out, it revealed its beautiful shimmering wings. The deep black
visual brand was very obvious.
Here is another shot of the newly eclosed butterfly showing
off his iridescent upperside.
When his wings had dried and straightened out, he
looked very much like the tajuria dominus.
This royal was discovered in an urban park in 2006.
Sightings of it since then have been few and far between.
It is the smallest tajuria species here in Singapore, and also the
rarest. This is a good sign that they are still hanging in there
and surviving in Singapore.

The End.

Monday, 28 May 2012

A quick walk at SBG

Today, after the Biodiversity Festival and the launch of
the amazing new caterpillar book by ButterflyCircle's Mr Horace
Tan and Mr Khew Sin Khoon, I finally felt the urge to get back out to
shoot. We decided to check out the newly completed side of SBG at
the Botanics MRT station. Not far from the entrance, we spotted a
group of bamboo tree browns at the bamboo clumps.
They were so hard to track, flying in and out of the thick bamboo
growths then landing deep in the undergrowth, and even harder
to photograph. The bamboo tree brown is an uncommon species
here. When I was trying to nail them, there were many
common palmflies that 'distracted' me. This is a male.
The most surprising encounter, however was this common
duffer. Contrary to what the name suggests, the duffer is very
rare here. I was shocked to see it there, and even more surprised
to see how large it was, since this was the first time I spotted one.
This is my pathetic record shot.
It was tattered and skittish but I was still really happy
to see this magnificent butterfly.

The End.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Behind my house

I have not been posting very often lately. The weather hasn't
been very predictable either, but the butterfly activity is definitely
picking up. Even though I couldn't go out to shoot, I managed to
find a few common butterflies just outside my house. This is a
pristine chestnut bob resting on a blade of cow grass, its caterpillar
host plant.

It was very tame and stood still for a few photos.
The second, a pale grass blue, was settling down to rest
for the night. The fading light and the swarming mosquitoes
made her really hard to nail. This was one of the few
sharper shots I managed of this abundant little critter.
Well that's all I have for now, hopefully I will be able
to get out to photograph more butterflies soon.

The End.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Common Posy

When I walk into any forest here in Singapore, it is
usually quite hard to avoid these little fellas. The common
posy is abundant here. They always seem to flit around
close to the ground, and are very wary. The slightest movements
scare them off!
The male common posy has dark brown forewings above,
but the hindwings are a bright shimmering blue. The
females are pale brown on top with a blueish tornal
( where the tails are ) area. They are often seen sunbathing
in the late afternoon. They also like to drink the sweet sap of
the young leea indica shoots.

The End.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

The Quaker

The weather has not been very friendly lately, but today it was
surprisingly sunny. Here I have a shot of the quaker. It's a tiny
butterfly that lurks about the undergrowth in our forests.
When it flies, the near-black upperside contrasts with
its white underside, making it sparkle as it flits close to the
ground. They often fly in shady and dim conditions. The
quaker is an uncommon species here. They are
usually restless, but this time it came down to puddle.
This may be one of our smallest butterflies, but it is by no means
uninteresting. There is so much minute detail squeezed into this
little butterfly.

The End.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Rifle Range again

Today Uncle Khew brought me back to Rifle Range.
Mark and Ms CJ tagged along. The weather was
not favourable, and it was windy and overcast. But it was
just a matter of time before the sun, and the butterflies came
out. There were many blue Jays flying speedily around.
After a few hopeless attempts to shoot the cruizers
and the magpie crows, I decided to check out what else
was flying. To my surprise, a blue helen had come down
to puddle! The blue helen is a rare swallowtail. This was the
first time I actually got to shoot it.
The helen got us all very excited. When it had enough
of feeding and flew off, the magpie crows stayed to tease us.
They were way too skittish for me to shoot. Instead, I settled
for this uncommon pointed ciliate blue.
It was quite a good day out, I must say. That's
all I have to show.

The end.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Harlequins Galore

Today I went out with Uncle Sunny and a few others to
find the beautiful harlequin butterfly. The habitat was a
forest and it was very dark. Just after we entered their patch,
I could see a few flying around. This is the male.
They were all over the place, and stayed close to the ground.
They were not easy to shoot though, as they would keep
tuning around and flitting from leaf to leaf with half open wings.
The females were especially active and skittish. Below is a
female harlequin.
The harlequin is a pretty butterfly from the family
riodinidae. They are rare here, and are also very local.
More often than not, they can be seen hiding in the
deep shade. The male is dark brown above, with an
orange forewing apex ( wing tip ). Underneath, it is brick red
with silvery-blue and black spots.
The female is paler, and there is a large white patch on
the forewing apex. They have hindwings that are slightly
serrated. The blue spots are also more translucent, rather
than metallic. The upperside is similar to the underside, but
darker and lacking the blue spots.
The harlequin butterfly is dependant on an uncommon
host plant. It is very sensitive to its habitat and environment,
making it a rather delicate species. If efforts are not made to
protect the forests that this wonderful creature lives in, it is sad
to know they may soon vanish.
I hope this reminds us to treasure nature's fine creations,
and remember just how fragile they can be.

The end.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Recent Shots

Hi, sorry I haven't posted in awhile. My pictures
from my earlier posts have vanished and I am trying my best
repair the damage. But for now, I want to share a few recent
shots I have taken.

Fuffy Tit
This one was very hard to shoot, the wind was strong and the
butterfly was skittish. I only managed this picture when he
came down to feed.

Fivebar Swordtail
This is a lovely butterfly, with a bright white upperside.
It was puddling on sand and was actually very approachable
and easy to shoot.

Common Mormon
I got this picture at the same spot as the fivebar swordtail.
The mormon was tame enough for me to snap a few pictures.

Dark Caerulean
It wasn't easy to get this shot of this uncommon butterfly.
The wind kept on blowing the grass blade it was on so I had to
hold my breath and fire!

Dark Glassy Tiger
This shot is actually from Pulau Ubin, where these lovely
tigers are quite common. This one was feeding on the chemicals
found on a pea pod.

Well, that's all for now, I hope you enjoyed the pictures.
I will post more next time! :)