Butterfly Hill at Pulau Ubin

I confess I have no idea there was such a place at Pulau Ubin. I only saw it when I went to shoot the Pesta Ubin Run recently. And I knew I have to come back to take a closer look at it.  Soback on Pulau Ubin over the weekend for a full day trek, we made a pit stop here to check out the scene. 

And my golly, there were indeed butterfly galore. Just walking alongside it, I could see a few butts flying –  a couple of Jeezebul and some Yellows. I knew I must explore the place in depth. But the hike training has to take priority and after just about half an hour of looking at the many different butterfly flying around, I have to move on with just 3 photo of butterfly out of the so many there. One Peacock Pansy, a Glassy Tiger and an unidentified butterfly or maybe moth.

Peacock Pansy

Blue Glassy Tiger

Unidentified Butterfly/moth

I consoled myself that earlier on right at the beginning of the day, I had got a photo of the beautiful Common Birdwing at the Assembly Area.

Common Birdwing

And there was bound to be other butterfly around although I swear I am so gonna come back to Butterfly Hill again just for the butts. 

Anyway, at the fruit farm, I managed to shoot a beautiful Lascar. Not too sure whether it is a Common or Malayan Lascar though.

Lascar

There was also a pair of Glassy Tiger flying around the same plant

Dark Glassy Tiger

On the way in to and out of Chek Jawa, there were a few butts flying around despite it being almost 4 pm. Despite being pressed for time, managed to get a photo of a Knight. Too bad the angle isn’t too good. It was too skittish and it didn’t help that there were many cyclists whizzing through and every time one of them pass by, the butterfly will take off.

Knight

I shall return and the next time it will only be butterfly time!

 

Butterfly at Fraser’s Hill

Actually for my first oversea birding trip, I was just as excited that I can get to see butterflies and moths in addition to birds especially after reading posts from Butterfly Circle and others about the varieties there.  But the initial excitement quickly turned into disappointment when I didn’t spot that many butterflies as I thought will be able to.

Our first stop of the day after we reached Fraser’s Hill was the Jeriau Waterfall. I was hoping to see puddling butterflies along the banks but alas there wasn’t any, even though I walked up and down the length of the place many times. Perhaps the heavy dawn rain was the reason? I did see a few butterflies flying around – mainly Yellows and one or 2 Black/Blue butterflies but they were flying too fast for me to take any photos. Eventually we left the place around 11 am after the rest of the group gave up their quest for the Silver Breasted Broadbill. 

After lunch, the group went to a road junction for the Slaty Backed Forktail. And it was here that I finally got my first butterfly. Between trying to make sure I do not miss the birds and the butterfly, I had a hard time doing the balancing act but finally the egg was broken!

I think this is a Magpie Crow butterfly. There were a couple of them flying around near a small shelter and they were very skittish but eventually one landed on the ground just in front of me and I blasted away before it flew off. Incidentally, as this was a birding trip, I had only brought along a long lens certainly not very suitable for butterflies and other insects so all the photos are zoomed in from pretty far and crop to size for display purposes.

After check in, we went to the “Jelai Resort” which looks like a haunted house. But the butterfly hunt was looking up. There were a few flying around and eventually one settled long enough for me to take a decent shot. 

This is a Common 3 Ring if I am not wrong but it looks like the wings are pretty tattered.  I managed to snag another one later but it was in just as bad shape or maybe they are the same butterfly?

So day 1 ended with a big success for birds but not butterfly. The score was better for moths though but that will be for another post.

Next morning, we went back to Jeriau Waterfall. The group didn’t want to give up on the hunt for the Silver Breasted Broadbill and I was still hoping for more butterfly. Unfortunately again no puddling but there were a number of butterflies flying around. I managed some shots of them, most of them not very good photos though before I managed a slightly decent photo of a Grass Yellow.

I saw more of the black blue butterfly which I confirmed later to be Bluebottle but there is this other Black butterfly with a blue patch diagonally on its upper side which stopped briefing on one of the railings before it flew away. It came back later but all I managed to shoot was the lower side which was dull brown.

As far as I can cross reference from the Checklist at Butterfly Circle, this is a Horsfield’s Baron.  

I did see another butterfly. A Sergeant! And it was on the long lens of one of the group member. From where I was, I could only managed this awkward shot. 

And then on our way out, I finally got what I came for. Puddling butterflies! And at the carpark of all the place and not at the river bank. There were at least 4 species of butterfly including the beautiful Bluebottle.

There were also several Yellow coloured butterflies. 

Let me try and ID them: L-R Lesser Gull, Chocolate Albatross and Yellow Glassy Tiger (some expert reading this please correct me if I am wrong). I was so happy that I squat there and shoot and shoot until a car came and drove over the spot where the butterflies were puddling scattering all of them. 

Saturday was a good day for butterfly. After lunch, walking out of the Shahzan Inn, someone spotted a butterfly on a tree and started clicking. All of us joined in and this is a beauty. Remind me of a Discus fish.

I later found out this is a Pallid Faun and usually found up high in the forest and to see one so near and at eye level! I am a very lucky man. And to round off the day, I managed to get a nice shot of a nice Common 3 Ring butterfly. No tattered wings.

And that conclude my haul of butterfly for what is my first official birding trip and unofficial butterfly/moth trip (is there a equivalent term for butterfly similar to birding?). Not alot but still considering that I am a newbie at this and doing it along while the rest shoot birds, I am very satisfied with the results. 

Tampines Butterfly Garden

Wow the last time I went to the Tampines Butterfly Garden was in 2012. Time really flies! So I wasn’t really sure whether the place was still around but yes it was still there. Same old place but just appear a bit unkempt and more wild.

A lot of butterflies flying around but most of them of the more common variety. Didn’t see any Mormons which was one butterfly I really wanted to have a picture of. ūüôĀ

Anyway here are some photos of the butterflies and caterpillars

Chocolate Pansy Butterfly

Chocolate Pansy Butterfly

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Plain Tiger Butterfly

Plain Tiger Butterfly

Mottled Emigrant Butterfly

Mottled Emigrant Butterfly

Lime Butterfly

Lime Butterfly

2 different specimen of caterpillar. Can’t identify this particular one though:TEG_1377-001

Mottled Emigrant Caterpillars

Mottled Emigrant Caterpillars

And last but not least, a Changeable Lizard managed to sneak in and had a Lime Butterfly for lunchTEG_1404

I think it really great that there is such a facility in Singapore and which is free and open to the public and lizards unlike the other butterfly park in Sentosa or the new one at the Science Centre. The Tampines Butterfly Garden is run by volunteers, mainly residents staying around the area. There is even a “Nature Centre” on the ground floor of a nearby flat although it was closed when I was there on Wednesday. ¬†Hopefully Nparks will set up more such collaboration in other neighbourhoods.

Kranji Marshes

Finally found some time to go take a look at the new Kranji Marshes. There was some excitement when it opened a few months ago especially as there was some birds like the Moorhen that can only be found there.

The place has been spruced up well with a  carpark, clean toilets and some small offices and rooms.

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Kranji Marshes is divided into 2 areas – the first is a single track road that is open to the public and the other is a conservation area that is only opened for guided tour. The first part of the public area is a long walk next to the canal. There are shelters like this along the way.3-DSC_1271

That leads to the Marsh Station where there is a watch tower and some viewing hides5-DSC_1278 02-KMW_0618

From here one can get a good view of the conservation area and the marshes6-DSC_1279

But I wasn’t really here to look at the marshes. I was more interested in something else. A little bird that has got the birding world abuzz and camped there. A Blue Earned Kingfisher. This is where it has been spotted the past weeks but fortunately today there were only a handful of photographers and not the usual hordes.2-DSC_1269

I didn’t spot the kingfisher on the way in but on the way out I was lucky enough to get a distant short of not just the Blue Earned Kingfisher but a Pied Fantail and a Baya Weaver!

Blue eared Kingfisher

Blue eared Kingfisher

Pied Fantail

Pied Fantail

J Munia

And some nice insects

Grey Pansy

Grey Pansy

Peacock Pansy

Peacock Pansy

Dragonfly 1

Butterfly Watch

A few weeks ago, we signed up for a volunteer to survey butterflies. We had no idea what it entails but what attracted me was the opportunity to learn how to identify butterfly. After a half morning lesson at the Singapore Botanic Garden and a demo walk, we were thrust into doing our own survey.

The survey has to be conducted using¬†a method called Pollard’s Walk. Each of us got a different site and which consist of 2 mini sites called transects. We were to walk 20 minutes over a 200 metres route. ¬†We roped in a friend to help us do this. ¬†It sound simple enough but it wasn’t easy to walk so slowly over such a short distance. But the idea was to count the butterflies along the route so definitely going fast wasn’t the right thing to do.

We first went to Bedok Town Park. There was a lot of butterflies at the 1st transects but most of which fortunately we can recognise including the Common Grass Yellow, the Chocolate Pansy and many many Grass Blue

Chocolate Pansy

Chocolate Pansy

There was less butterflies at the 2nd transects and which we attributed to there being no flower beds just trees and non flower bearing plants.

Common Grass Yellow Butterfly

Common Grass Yellow Butterfly

Our next stop was at Bedok Reservoir. The coordinates given to us was actually the Bedok Reservoir Road itself. At first we thought there must be a mistake but soon realised it was the pavement and what a beautiful pavement. There was a short stretch just after the car park which was planted with Heliconia, Ixora and other flowering plants.

Grass Blue Butterfly

Grass Blue Butterfly

An added bonus was a pair of Olive Backed Sunbird on one of the trees.

Olive Backed Sunbird

Olive Backed Sunbird

However, our last transect for the day was a big disappointment. It was up on the hill and there were no flowering shrubs except for a few very tall Yellow Flame trees. Consequently, this was the place where we spotted the least butterflies.

It has been a fun time looking out for butterflies and the birds around the areas. There were many Blue collared Kingfisher at Bedok Town Park. We also saw a Common Iora, an Oriental Magpie Robin and Changeable Lizard and Squirrel.

Oriental Magpie Robin

Oriental Magpie Robin

Blue Collared Kingfisher

Blue Collared Kingfisher

Plantain Squirrel

Plantain Squirrel

Changeable Lizard

Changeable Lizard

Maybe next round we will volunteer to do Bird Watch too.

Butterflies at Pasir Ris Park

Can’t remember the last time I managed to take photo of butterflies. Was at the vegetable plot at Pasir Ris Park and there were many butterflies flying around and managed to take a few photos of those that were willing to pose for me

This is either a Common Mime or a Glassy TigerButterfly 1

This is a Plain TigerButterfly 2

This should be a Spotted Black CrowButterfly 3

Think this is a Tawny PalmflyButterfly 4Also saw this beautiful big spider.Spider 2 Spider 1