Moth at Fraser’s Hill

Spotting birds at Fraser’s Hill might have been the main objective and seeing beautiful butterflies was a bonus, but the other thing that I was looking forward to was moth. From my memory of my last trip to Kota Kinabalu, I knew there was going to be moths aplenty here. And unlike the butterfly, I hit pay dirt from the word go!

When we reached Fraser on Friday morning, it was raining and we waited at the lodge’s lobby for the rain to stop and not only was it pouring rain, it was also pouring moths. The very first moth was this beauty on one of the wall. 

Its wing is damaged and it was found dead on the floor the next day.

Most people prefer butterfly to moth. The first impression of moth is that moth are dark, ugly flurry creatures that fly in the dark like the above moth and this next one that was also in the lodge’s lobby.

But this next one will soon dispel that notion. 

A very beautiful green moth. It even has a line of red trimmings all round its wing! Certainly this one does not fit the usual image of moth right? And also to most people, beside being dark, ugly and flurry, moth are also big and scary. Like this dead one that we spotted on the road.

While at the abandoned Jelai Resort, I got this funny shape moth. Kinda like some sort of bat mask.

 I continued looking for moth after dinner and found 2 new one in the lobby and restaurant. This leaf shape moth on the ceiling.

And this one that looks like some type of alien bug.

Outside the lodge, I spotted this White beauty on one of the shrub.

Next morning, the moths from the previous days were either dead on the floor or gone so it was only later in the evening that I managed to get some. And this lot is definitely not your usual moth.

This beautiful iridescent moth that looks like dull brown until the flash lit it up to reveal the beautiful pattern and color 

This beautiful red and white striped moth that is no bigger than a finger nail

And this one that looks like a lice or a white bed bug and is half the size of my pinkie nail.

And of course the usual brownish moth of which there were 4 different species on the walls

Because this is a birding trip, I didn’t come prepared to take photos of butterfly and moths and these photos were either shot with a 200 mm zoom lens, or the phone camera or a mirrorless camera without flash. Photo quality that up to par but I will settle for what birders call Record shot and that I have 15 of them in one trip. 

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