Archive for the ‘Da Keng’ Category

Lethe chandica ratnacri – This butterfly shows its true colours under the flash.  Reminiscent of the Singaporean Bamboo Tree Brown, this butterfly flies close to the ground but however, does not fly straight into the thick foliage.  It hops short distances away, hoping that you’d eventually lose interest.

Now onto the second Taiwan chapter of Taiwanese butterflies.  On the last few days of the butterfly hunting adventure, we decided to try out Da Keng Camping Grounds.  We were initially told by our driver that it would not be a good idea as he didn’t remember any butterflies hanging around there.  Perhaps he hadn’t been to the camping grounds.  But it was a great gamble.  There were so many butterflies we couldn’t finish photographing every single one of them.

Da Keng Camping Grounds (大坑露營場)

Horaga-onyx-moltrechti

Da Keng is not a small area.  There are many treks to explore (whee!) and there are several camping grounds in the area.  One of these has a butterfly enclosure but it was locked and didn’t allow us access when we visited.  Around and behind this enclosure was a pretty plot of garden where it seems just about every Papilio species in Taiwan was hanging out.  You can spend the entire morning in this area and not get bored.

Papilio thaiwana

Papilio memnon heronus – These butterflies were trying to get it on.

Papilio dialis tatsuta

Papilio dialis tatsuta – upperside

Papilio bianor kotoensis -upperside… just a glimpse of that ethereal green.

Papilio bianor kotoensis

To add to the excitement of seeing these butterflies, you also had the screams and cheers of the Taiwanese youth coming from the camping ground to egg you on! Don’t give up!  And keep dancing!

Burara jaina formosana – This awl made it very difficult for anyone to photograph. Not that it was skittish. It couldn’t the least bit be bothered with us, having to make sure every single purple and white flower had been sat on in turn with its hairy legs and rightly probed with its long proboscis. It didn’t rest more than a few seconds on each flower!

Neptis hylas lulculenta

Heliophorus ila matsumurae

Cupha erymanthis

Celatoxia marginata

Graphium agamemnon

Of notable mention was this pair of mating Delias butterflies.  It’s on one of these rare occasions that one actually gets to see a somewhat stationery open-winged Delias.

Delias pasithoe curasena

Delias pasithoe curasena – the male open winged in flight

Delias pasithoe curasena – all by itself in its typical close winged pose

Also of notable mention were this pair of very territorial butterflies.  I’d seen this butterfly vehemently chase down a falling leaf… to ensure that it would indeed make its way down to the ground and not fight with it for its lofty perch.  Other butterflies, regardless of size, would also be chased down or away.  No, there are no exceptions for anyone.

Dravira chrysolora – your typical “I’m looking down at you” territorial pose

Dravira chrysolora – a different sex (I think this is the male). This was marking the entire tree as its territory. Mine. All mine.

Dravira chrysolora – an upperside view. How intimidating.

And then we hit the grand prize by shooting this special butterfly we’d been searching for a year now…

Polyura narcaea meghaduta – I couldn’t believe my eyes.  Unfortunately as with most great encounters, the butterfly did not stay long… or return… no matter how long we waited.

It was a perfect way to end the day at Da Keng….with one more flat thrown in:

Aimio tethys niitakana

Butterfly Waterfall (彩蝶瀑布)

I should say that this was the hardest trek of all the sites.  In order to access this site, one had to climb up steep slopes with the aid of a rope, scale jaggedy rocks and teeter on flat slippery stones to traipse to and fro the stream which was not shallow either.

I can’t seem to get an identification for this pretty little thing. I’ve searched in butterfly books from Taiwan and on online photo id lists. So if anyone comes across this photo and knows what butterfly this is, please tell me!

The weather was not very cooperative that morning when we were at this site.  I knew it cos I didn’t feel the hot sun and cold air blistering my lips and face (somehow these are perfect conditions for the butterflies.  Any less heat and you can sit down and read a book).  Instead it was just nice and cool, just like it would be before a good rain.  Thankfully though, it didn’t rain.  The sun came out after we’d been clambering about the rocks for close to 2 hours and we didn’t see many butterflies.  I was just about to give up, sit down on a rock and call it a hard day when the sun poked out of the clouds and sent many butterflies our way.

Deudorix epijarbas menesicles

Zizeeria karsandra

Timelaea albescens formosana – This skittish little fellow is not uncommon in Taiwan. You can find it on hills, in the grass brushes… but it just wouldn’t stop for you… that is… until it feeds on dead matter!

We found a snake that had expired on the rocks.  And on it, the very skittish butterfly we did not have much opportunity to photograph earlier on during the trip.  To our surprise, the greedy little butterfly didn’t move when we danced around it or shuffled our knees in the rocks right next to it.  It was concentrating SO HARD on probing the dead snake.

Timelaea albescens formosana – This butterfly has a beautiful upperside

Neptis soma tayalina

Neptis soma tayalina – upperside

Symbrenthia lilaea formosanus – this jester looking butterfly was also equally skittish. And just as greedy. When settled to puddle, nothing much can distract him!

Euthalia formosana

Euthalia formosana – another individual with much lighter or more obvious white spots on the forewing

Athyma selenophora laela – Another butterfly that’s into dead snake meat.

Heliophorus ila matsumurae – open winged Purple Sapphire

Heliophorus ila matsumurae

Cepora nandina eunama – There were schools of this butterfly fluttering around when the sun came out

One of the most beautiful butterflies we encountered in Butterfly Waterfall is the male and female of this pair:

Sephisa chandra androdamas – female

Sephisa chandra androdamas

Sephisa chandra androdamas-Male

Sephisa chandra androdamas-Male

This trip to Taiwan has been unforgettable.  We were happy we had more than enough shooting days to make two posts instead of just one.  And Taiwan, being Taiwan, probably a lifetime may not be enough to write about the wonderful things it has to offer.  If you like what you see, get a plane ticket to Taiwan and experience the wonderful country for yourself! 🙂

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