Sunday, January 22, 2017

Butterflies of Lantau Island Part 2

Another hunting ground is the San Tau village. From Tung Chung bus terminal , I took Bus 34 to Yat Tung Estate and walked along a foot path along the coast.

The Neopithecops zalmora was taken in last September during my visit to this coastal village - a small colony there. I could see them around during my subsequent visits in November and December. 
A female was trying to lay eggs on its host plant

Green Dragontail (Lamprotera curias walker) is the only Dragontail butterfly we can find in Hong Kong - it is quite common. It was puddling on the footpath before settling down on a leaf for sunbathing.  
This Black Prince (Rohana parisatis) was extremely skittish and sensitive to movement. Whenever I approach closer it would take off - a quick shot was taken when it perched high on a tree. 
This is the dry-season form of the Chilades lajus - it was quite abundant in December.
An upper side shot of a male when it was exposed to the sunshine in a cool weather.
It was a pity that I scared this large fellow away when it was puddling on the ground behind a house. It lnaded on the flowers instead. A long-distance record shot of a female  (Euthalia phemius seitzi) was what I could do.
There were some wild Bidens flowers near a small temple. Here we could see some common butterflies busy feeding on the flowers on a sunny day.

This form catilla of the Catopsilia pomona pomona is rather rare in Singapore. However, I have encountered a number of times in Hong Kong.
A solitary Blue Spotted Crow (Euploea midamus) was feeding voraciously from flower to flower in a cool and breezy day.
Delias parsithoe was everywhere but it was not that easy to compose a good shot.
 At times she opened its wings to enjoy the heat from the sunshine
A large praying mantis was crawling on the handrail when we were heading out to the bus terminal at the Yat Tung Estate.
My friends and I also went to Tai O fishing village area in last November but the butterfly activities were rather low. A lycaenid flew past us and landed on a leaf - it looks like a Jamindes alecto.
This is a Dark Cerulean (Jamides bochus)

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).


Monday, October 10, 2016

Skippers at Sheung Shui, Hong Kong

It was a overcast morning on 1st October - The National Day of PRC. However, the bad weather didn't dampen our enthusiasm of our weekly butterfly outing  - my friends and I still headed out to He Sheung Heung (河上乡) in the north-western part of  New Territory, Hong Kong to hunt for a relatively rare skipper, the Halpe porus.  

We took minibus (50K) from the Sheung Shui MTR station. The moment we  reached its termianl station, the sky openen up. Fortunately, we didn't have to wait very long before we walked towards the Sheung Yue Rive where our shooting location was.
However, as the sun was overpowered by the clouds and passing rains dominated almost the whole morning, we were just waiting patiently and roaming around until around noon.

Though no butterflies, I shot other things  - this wasp was drenched and it just felt too larthagic to fly.
It was doing "exercise" to warm itself.
Dragonflies seemed to be common here - I encountered quite a number of them; some were not awake. Without any reference guide, I cannot identify any of these dragonflies.
Another small and beautiful dragonfly.
An attractive damselfly resting on a blade of grass.
At last, I managed to see butterflies coming fluttering when the air was warmed up.  A Palm Bob (Suastus gremius) appeared and immediately attracted some attention as we had nothing else to photograph.
Pieris canidia is one of those butterflies that is common in HK but difficult to shoot. Anyway, I have not encountering it often since August.
  

I was stalking a very skittish Angled Castor (Ariadne ariadne) as I have not shot this species in Hong Kong.
 I could only get a long-distance record shot of  both its upper and underside shot.
When I was trying to get more shots, Ivy alerted me on the phone that the skipper, the Halpe porus that everyone aimed to photograph was found on the opposite side of the river - so I gave up chasing the Angle Castor. 

I noticed that two specimen were zipping around. As I have shot this species many times in Chiang Mai and Malaysia, so I decided to look for the more pristine one. Another guy and I were lucky to see it zipping close to the ground and landed on the Biden flowers. A burst of of shots were taken when it was feeding on the flowers.
 

We hung around the same area after we had our late lunch at a small eating place nearby. At a far end corner, I was presented with this rare opportunity of  taking some quick shots of  the uppersides. 
In the late afternoon, this guy became less active and it stayed and posed on the flowers for us.  Look at the number of people queing up to shot this guy.
There were a few other skippers zipping around us. This pristine orange skipper, a Telicota species was having a afternoon nap.
 I cannot be certain what Swift this is - all these brown skippers are really difficult to identify them by just looking at the underside shots. 
A slightly larger Swift.
The next two shots were from the same specimen - it looks like a Borbo species?

My last skipper shot of the day - thanks to Samuel's dad who spotted this very pristine Common Redeye (Matapa aria) at a  muddy place.  
To wrap up this post, I would like to seek your advice on this critter as I have not seen this before - is this a nymph of  a lantern bug?