Posts Tagged ‘singapore’

Came across SO MANY of these adorable little creatures today.Planthopper4

They were no bigger than HALF of my pinkie fingernail.Planthopper1

And look so amazing up close with their fantastic tri-horns.Planthopper3

And their comical faces!Planthopper


Hazing sleepily through the first weekend of shooting after starting a full week of commuting 3 hours daily on the ever popular SBS bus alternating between trying not to collapse on the person next to me and trying not to throw up from all the braking and surging like a small dive boat riding the Fremantle waves, we happily came across a Wide Jawed Viciria, which somewhat resembles a Scorpion.

Wider Jawed viciria (Viciria praemandibularis)

Wider Jawed viciria (Viciria praemandibularis)

The Wide Jawed Viciria comes under the family of Jumping Spiders (Salticidae).  Jumping spiders are a hit with nature photographers.  Wow, they’ll give you a million great poses.  They could scratch their armpits and still look glamorous.  In the photo above, the spider is drumming on the leaf.

The most photogenic spider in the natural world

The most photogenic spider in the natural world

Here our model is looking demure by clasping its “hands” together like a formal portrait while directing its famed “headlights” gaze gently at the camera.  Oh by the way, our model is male.Wider Jawed viciria (Viciria praemandibularis)jpg2

Over here the spider is doing the tango, putting its weight on one side and then quickly on the other side and back again.

Getting ready to jump!

Getting ready to jump!

Our eager model also provides great action shots.  Here it is above, getting ready to do the action that gives the Salticidae its name: JUMP! And jump it did, multiple times onto… my partner’s lens hood.  Look at the back legs bunch up ready to provide it with the force to jump a distance so many times its own body length it’s like us jumping over an entire HDB estate.

Hmmm.... what kind of disguise might this be?

Hmmm…. what kind of disguise might this be?

Other than the typical poses, the Viciria also does this strange yoga like pose when disturbed.  Though I don’t know what on earth it’s trying to mimic.  Wider Jawed viciria (Viciria praemandibularis)ipg3

Next time you’re out wandering in the park, do keep an eye out for this great looking fellow!  It likes to hang out under leaves, literally, just like these good looking fellows of the bat persuasion:bsts


I had the great fortune of coming across an Orange Tailed Awl (Bibasis sena uniformis) in Singapore after having never sighted or photographed it here before during any of my hikes.  The Awl had been muddying itself in the very kind of habitat Awls are famous for frequenting… a dank putrid toilet.  And so there we were lying belly down on the toilet floor trying to get a good shot of it.  After having had enough of all that… stuff …coming out of the toilet, the Awl was full and sleepy enough to be grimy-finger held.

Orange Tailed Awl (Bibasis sena uniformis)

Funnily enough, this rare treasure of a butterfly was flitting around smelly bodies coming in out of the rain and landing on dirty footprints.  In flight, to the inexperienced eye, it was moth-like.  And to many a passers-by, when they curiously asked what we were soiling our clothes for, this was probably as far from a pretty butterfly as they could have imagined.

Another not so commonly photographed although occasionally commonly encountered is the Yellow Flash (Rapala domitia domitia).  Congregating in clusters of several individuals, the lambourghini of the butterfly kingdom makes its getaway almost unlike any other, by zipping away upwards into the trees, almost never offering a second chance at a better shot.

Rapala domitia domitia (Yellow Flash)

However, it seems that when you do chance upon a cluster then you would get to enjoy their company for a short while, before they seem to disappear for a long spell, during which many visits thereafter reveal no reason for this strange phenomenon except to assume that they seem to be seasonal in a country with only one season.  This would be only the second encounter of a cluster in 5 years.

For all intents and purposes, it’s hard to imagine why a snake might fall on one’s head, considering how graceful, intelligent and poised these creatures are… unless you are prey.

I had the privilege of witnessing one of the members of the Genus Dendrelaphis or commonly known as Bronzebacks come cascading down like a deadly colourful ribbon on a skink amongst some large dead leaves.


In spite of its length (very long snake… at the very least 1.5m), the Elegant Bronzeback (Dendrelaphis formosus) made no more than a light thwack when it hit the ground and before you could open your mouth to gawk, the tail of the skink was already curling around a corner of the snake’s jaws with the rest of it down its gullet.

Unlike some snakes which would sidle and slink away to the cover of the trees, this snake displayed an interesting curiosity, approaching the lens carefully, sliding under some leaves before raising its head high above the leaves, flicking its red tongue and wavering its long yellow neck.  It did this at several instances, in spite of my boots making considerable amount of noise amongst the leaves, approaching closer instead of backing away.


Although I got a little hesitant when it got less than a metre away from me, it was hard not to be enraptured by its gaze and dance and took one last photo before letting it carry on on its merry way.

A butterfly photographer is oft heard lamenting the harbingers of heavy rain but given that even grey skies and the thunderous threat of lightning have recently delivered no promise of rain, I have been risking time and equipment in the hope of meeting sleepy individuals who would have been normally active at mid-day, like the Common Mormon and the rarely settling Tree Nymph:



Lulled by the cool breeze and the easy sway of the trees, even the normally skittish Chocolate Royal exchanged break neck speed for a quiet moment in the dim sunlight, warming its purple wings.

Chocolate Royal Upperside


A couple of Grey Sailors coupling under the cover of a leaf.


The male was that much smaller than the female.  When disturbed, the female flew a short distance away with the male hanging onto her by its tail.


The Sailors moved their wings up and down in slow meditative fashion.  First the male then the female, the female than the male.

The contemplative couple did not grace me long with their elusive presence, and flitted in uncharacteristic clumsy fashion to the deep cover of the brush, leaving nothing but a couple of great photos!

Every once in a while, something great happens. Like after the many times where the Orange Emigrant and I would pass shoulder to ear, and ear to shoulder, that I’d force myself to keep walking away, having to watch the weather, watch the time and watch the circumstances and weigh this choice against the probability that it would never quite stop for me.

Then on a day bereft of practical choices, having walked myself into the ground, the Orange Emigrant stopped for me.

Things certainly did not start out that way. During the seasons when I was young and was on a path to prove to the world that they were wrong to doubt me and that I would brave any kind of fire just to prove a blind point that I could fight wars, I chased the Orange Emigrant through many a trail, believing that that was all that would take to turn the odds of making a creature beyond command bend to my will.

Through the years that ensued, however, having torn my knees and hands through thorns and brush, my thoughts, confused, conditioned to believe that all things in Life live out an unerring pattern, lost themselves in the best intentions and desires of others.

Then on day when the caterpillars have eaten all these palaces of trees to the ground, whilst languishing amongst the dead leaves, in a magic meeting of time, space and day, the Orange Emigrant stopped to drink water bleeding from sand and stone.

And I sat up in the mud and rejoiced at being proven wrong, watching a whole inflated third of my life with its grey skin of make-believe wisdom and sinewy beliefs and preconceptions tear open to give way to second chances, different choices.

I blew the Emigrant a kiss long time coming, and stopped, watching as the familiar bright tail of the Singapore Dream flit farther and farther through the trees out of sight, leaving in its wake, wet trails spangled with possibilities.

To see the world in a butterfly
You must first on the bare earth lie
Look up into the sky
And let your heart take wing.


A male Chocolate Albatross shot in Gombak, Kuala Lumpur.

Where might you have been?
What have your tattered wings seen?
To fly with you, my soul is keen
Come and take me to the brink.

Your freedom tresspasses all
I lay trapped in this shell
Everything in my world becomes so small
When on your amazing travels I dwell


The migrant Chocolate Albatross butterfly travels great distances from Malaysia all the way to Singapore.  The butterfly is seasonal and is not always found throughout the year.  This rare female spotted in a Nature Reserve was a rare find as females are very rarely seen.  In this rare occasion, the female also appeared to be puddling, a behaviour which is not impossible but is rarely observed amongst female butterflies.

To see the world in a butterfly
Worldly pleasures become a lie
Look at life through your mind's eye
And let your soul take flight.

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