Wednesday, December 30, 2009

November at Fraser’s Hill

After 2 days at Maxwell Hill, we headed south to Fraser’s Hill, our favorite highland get away. 

Oct-Nov is the 2nd durian season in Malaysia and the road from Maxwell to Fraser’s was lined with stalls selling durians. The durians were dirt cheap, going for RM3-5 each.  We stopped along the road and ate till our heat’s content and ‘ta pao’ some to Frasers.  The durians were soooo good and we paid only RM40 for 10 ! 

On our way up the hill we saw both the male and female Wanderer - Pareronia valeria lutescens ! The female mimics the Yellow Glassy Tiger – Parantica aspasia aspasia.

Pareronia valeria lutescens (m)-MYFHRub_20091126_D3416-480Pareronia valeria lutescens (f)-MYFHRub_20091126_D3401-480 

By the time we reached our bungalow, the whole place was surrounded by mist !

MYFH_20091128_D3737a_stitch MYFH_20091128_D3736

The next day we headed to our favorite Raub waterfall.

There I saw my butterfly lifer of the trip – a very rare male Elymnias esaca andersonii. Unlike the larvae of other Elymnias which feed on Palms, this one feeds on the Bamboo Orchid - Arundina graminifolia  !

Elymnias esaca andersonii (m)-MYFHRub_20091127_D3549-640 

Along the way we saw a Plain LacewingCethosia penthesilea methypsea-MYFH_20091128_D3871-640

and a few male Wanderers feeding on Hibiscus flowers.Pareronia valeria lutescens (m)-MYFHRub_20091127_D3572-480

The weather was less than ideal for moths but I still had many moth lifers. This hawkmoth - Acherontiini Agrius which we only noticed when we were packing up our moth screen, is the #47 hawkmoths we have recorded at Fraser’s Hill.
Acherontiini Agrius convolvuli-MYFH_20091128_D3844-640

other intersting moths we saw include :

The lovely Luna moth – male Actias maenas.Actias maenas diana-MYFH_20091127_D3504-640

A large Noctuid moth - Phyllodes verhuelli , with a forewing length of about 90mm.Phyllodes verhuelli-MYFH_200911-640

A colourful Arctiid moth - Areas galactina.ARC-Areas galactina-MYFH_20091128_D3709

This is my 5th and last trip to Fraser’s Hill for 2009 and I look forward to going back there next year.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bukit Larut aka Maxwell Hill

Maxwell Hill is the oldest and least developed of all the hill stations in Malaysia. It is about 1250m above sea level and the temperature is about the same as Fraser’s Hill, between 19-25C. 

The virgin jungle reserved is supposedly rich in wildlife with 25 species of mammals and more than 200 species of birds recorded at Bukit Larut and around its foothills.

Most of us either have not been to Maxwell Hill or were there  many years ago so we decided to make a trip there in late Novermber to see if the wildlife there is as good as Fraser’s Hill.

We depart early as it is a long drive from Singapore and the last transport up the hill departs at 3pm !  We arrived at the park office at 2+, just in time for the last transport up the hill.  We transferred our baggage into a cart and hopped onto a jeep. 



The ride up the hill top was about 30+ minutes, through very bumpy, steep and whining road.  We regretted leaving our camera bags in the cart and wondered if our cameras will survive the journey.


After what felt like a never ending roller coaster ride, we finally arrived at our bungalow, Angkasa, in one piece.  All our cameras survived the trip, thanks to our padded camera bags.

Jee Kin checking to see if everything is intact.20091124_DSC05829 

Angkasa is 1036m above sea level - MYMaxwell_20091124_D2789

The front of our bungalow -MYMaxwell_20091126_D3298

Another view of the bungalow -20091126_DSC05877 

Looking out from the bungalow - 20091124_DSC05830

In the 2 days there we saw many interesting wild life :

Butterflies :

Ancistroides armatusAncistroides armatus armatus-MYMaxwell_20091124_D2863Female Jacintha EggflyHypolimnas bolina jacintha-MYMaxwell_20091125_D3127Red HelenRed Helen - Papilio helenus helenusSmaller Wood Nymph
Smaller Wood Nymph - Ideopsis gaura perakana
Yellow Glassy Tiger
Yellow Glassy Tiger - Parantica aspasia aspasia
Hasora salanga
Hasora salanga

Moths -the larger and more colorful ones:

Antheraea helferiAntheraea helferi (m) Antheraea larrisa ridlyi
Antheraea larrisa ridlyi (m)Ambulyx tattina
Ambulyx tattina
Kunugia sp 
Kunugia sp
Underside of Eupterote sp

Other wildlife:

Ashy Minivet

Ashy MinivetBlack-throated Sunbird
Black-throated Sunbird
Bushy Crested hornbillBushy crested hornbill (f) Dusky LangurDusky LangurSlow LorisSlow Loris Giant Flying SquirrelGiant Flying SquirrelPope's Pit Viper
Pope's Pit ViperKing CobraKing Cobra

These are just a sample of what we saw during our two days at Maxwell.  There are places that we did not have time to explore and we will definitely go back next year to continue where we left off.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Tiger at Kuala Selangor Nature Park

I am referring to the milkweed ‘tiger’ butterfly from the Danainae sub-family, specifically the Mangrove Tiger butterfly - Danaus affinis malayanusThe Mangrove Tiger is an endangered species and is only found at 2 locations in Malaysia – Kuala Selangor Nature Park (KSNP) and Kuala Kurau, Perak.

I have always wanted to see this butterfly so armed with a GPS, I drove 1.5 hrs from KL to KSNP, arriving at 11:30am.

Map of KSNP

 MYKualaSelangor_20091203_D5947 MYKualaSelangor_20091203_D5951

Along the bund, I saw lots of Tylophora sp, the larva host plant of the Ideopsis and Parantica ‘Glassy Tiger’.

Tylophora sp-MYKualaSelangor_20091203_D3938-640Tylophora sp-MYKualaSelangor_20091203_D4008-640Tylophora sp-MYKualaSelangor_20091203_D5953
Tylophora sp growing climbing onto mangrove trees

I saw three type of Glassy Tigers at KSNP :

Ideopsis vulgaris macrina – The Blue Glassy TigerIdeopsis vulgaris macrina-MYKualaSelangor_20091203_D4005-360 

Parantica agleoides agleoides - The Dark Glassy Tiger Parantica agleoides agleoides-MYKualaSelangor_20091203_D3943-320

and Ideopsis similis persimilis - The Dark Blue Glassy TigerIdeopsis vulgaris macrina-MYKualaSelangor_20091203_D3949-360

but there were no sign of the Mangrove Tiger. As I made my way towards to seaward side of the bund, I saw butterflies which are commonly found at mangrove forest  :

Common Tit,Hypolycaena erylus teatus-MYKualaSelangor_20091203_D3953-640

Autumn Leaf,Doleschallia bisaltide-MYKualaSelangor_20091203_D3947-360

Long Banded SilverlineSpindasis lohita senama-MYKualaSelangor_20091203_D4012-360

After 2 hours of walking, at about 1:30pm at the mid section of the seaward side of the bund, a male Mangrove Tiger suddenly appear !

Danaus affinis malayanus - Mangrove Tiger
Danaus affinis malayanus-MYKualaSelangor_20091203_D3974-640

Danaus affinis malayanus-MYKualaSelangor_20091203_D3985-640

A few more started appearing and feeding on the flower of the Sea Ox Eye, Wedelia biflora.

Wedelia biflora-MYKualaSelangor_20091203_D4018-640
All in all I saw about 8 individuals. I was hoping to see the larva host plant - Ischnostemma selangorica but I cound’t find any along the bund :-(.  Time was running out and I had an appointment at 4pm in KL so I headed back to the car.

My mission the next time I come back to KSNP is to locate and photograph the larva host plan Ischnostemma selangorica.