Posts Tagged ‘Mainland’

Chiang Mai – 3/8 November 2013

Posted on: February 13th, 2014 by lesday | No Comments

In early November, 5 of us took the long trip up to Chiang Mai Province, spending a couple of days to the East of the City near Doi Mot and then travelling further north to stay in the mountains at Doi Ang Kang (1900m), which was very beautiful.

The mountains at Doi Ang Kang

The mountains at Doi Ang Kang

The first part went well, but we had forgotten that in the mountains, up north, it gets rather cold, 8C (this is what comes when you live in a place where the coldest night time temperature is a freezing 25C! I had not needed socks, long trousers or sweaters for 7 years.) and there were few butterflies at altitude at the time. Accordingly, we spent most of our time at the bottom of the mountain at Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary, which was brilliant.

DOI MOT – This area does not reach the altitudes were to find later on, but we did come across some interesting species. The highlight here, for me, was Delias acalas pyramus. The subspecies is only found in the northern part of Thailand.

Delias acalis pyramus

Delias acalis pyramus

The other real find was the very rare skipper, the Nonsuch Palmer (Creteus cyrina cyrina).

Creteus cyrina cyrina

Creteus cyrina cyrina

DOI ANG KANG – This is where we stayed, in the mountains, and, as previously mentioned was poor in butterflies, no doubt owing to the time of year we visited. Nevertheless, there were a couple of new species for me, including the local subspecies of a species I had come across commonly when living in the UK, the Green-Veined White, Pieris napi montana.

Artogeia canidia canidia

Artogeia canidia canidia

Another Pierid we saw was the Indian Cabbage White (Artogeia canidia canidia). The other interesting species for me there was the very aptly named Dull Forrester (Lethe gulnihal peguana).

Lethe gulnihal peguana

Lethe gulnihal peguana

 

CHIANG DAO WILDERNERSS SANCTUARY – This was, by far, the most productive area we visited. Many new species were seen, and it was not the best season. I am travelling there again at the end of February. Just some of the species found can be seen below.

Athyma cama cama

Athyma cama cama

Kallima inachus siamensis

Kallima inachus siamensis

Hestina nama nama

Hestina nama nama

Hestina persimilis persimilis

Hestina persimilis persimilis

Niphanda asialis

Niphanda asialis

Catapaecilma subochrea

Catapaecilma subochrea

Gerosis sinica narada

Gerosis sinica narada

Delias agostina agostina

Delias agostina agostina

Papilio alcmenor alcmenor

Papilio alcmenor alcmenor

Phitsanulok/Petchabun Provinces – 22/25 September 2013

Posted on: January 2nd, 2014 by lesday | No Comments

In late September, I took my first trip to the north of Thailand, visiting both National Parks in both Phitsanulok and Petchabun Provinces.

The first two days were spent in company with some friends from the SaveButterfly website, and they proved excellent hosts, knowing the Thung Salaeng Luang National Park (which approximately means Large Savanah) well.
Thung Salaeng Luang
With our friends help, we were able to see many species not found in the south of the Country, which has been my hunting ground up to now. Just a few of them can be seen below.

Pseudotajuria donatana donatana

Pseudotajuria donatana donatana – The Dawnas Royal

Coelites nothis nothis

Coelites nothis nothis – The Scarce Catseye

Dodona egeon egeon

Dodona deodata deodata – White Punch

Dichorragia nesimachus nesimachus

Dichorragia nesimachus nesimachus – The Constable

Ancema ctesia ctesia

Ancema ctesia ctesia – Bi-Spot Royal

On the third day, after saying goodbye to our friends who had to return to Bangkok, we headed off to Tad Mok National Park in Petchabun Province. Unfortunately, after heavy rains, we were not allowed to walk along the path to the waterfall. Nevertheless, there were still different, more forest orientated species, the area being particlarly rich in Athyma species.

Pseudergolis wedah wedah

Pseudergolis wedah wedah – The Tabby

Athyma species. Exact species is a matter of current debate. I believe that this is an undescribed subspecies of Athyma cama.

Athyma species. Exact species is a matter of current debate. I believe that this is an undescribed subspecies of Athyma cama.

Mimathyma ambica miranda

Mimathyma ambica miranda – Indian Purple Emperor

Our final day was to be spent at Phu Hin Rongkla National Park, our first venture into the montane area of Phitsanulok Province. The entrance to the park is at approximately 1650 metres, and climbs up to a maximum if 1800 metres. The road is heavily pockmarked which makes driving uncomfortable, particularly when driving through very heavy rain, which, unfortunatley we had to do. The heavens opened shortly after our arrival on the mountain, but we still were able to see a few species.IMG_1702

Acraea issoria sordice

Acraea issoria sordice – Yellow Coster

Neorina patria westwoodii

Neorina patria westwoodii – White Owl

Sumalia daraxa daraxa

Sumalia daraxa daraxa – Green Commadore

This was a lovely area at the edge of the main central rice plain of Thailand, and we hope to go back in April/May time, when we have been told that it should be possible to find a species of JungleQueen (Stichophthalma sp.), a species that is at the top of my ‘Want to See’ list.

Nakhon Si Thammarat Province-April/May 2013

Posted on: June 11th, 2013 by lesday | No Comments

This year has been very dry on Samui, and the numbers of butterflies here have been exceptionally low, one could say boring! Accordingly I have been popping over, several times, to the mainland in the hope that things were better there. I have been concentrating on the Province south of Surat Thani, where I live.

Nakhon Si Thammarat Province has a diverse range of habitats, from lowland plains, near the coast and to the south-west of the province, to central mountain ranges, which includes Khao Luang which, at 1835m. in height, is the highest point in Thailand south of Bangkok. It has been in these central mountains and their foothills where I have concentrated my searches, as it is there where one can find the best rainforests.

I have not been disappointed! The star of the show was this Delias singhapura singhapura (Lion Jezebel).

Delias singhapura singhapura - male

Delias singhapura singhapura – male

This is one of the rarest species in Thailand, and the subspecies can only be found in Southern Thailand and in West Malaysia, where it is equally rare. Owing to this, I can not, unfortunately, reveal the exact location of the finding. We found a small colony, which I had not found during my previous visits to the location a few years back. However, they were breeding, as can be seen in the photo of the female, who, with her abdomen raised, is saying that she had already mated, and therefore did not want to be bothered with a male that was fluttering, hopefully, close by.

Unwilling female, with suitor flying around

Unwilling female, with suitor flying around

I will be keeping a close watch on this colony in the future in the hope that it may expand in size, and also be found in other locations nearby.

Locations we visited where I can reveal which species we found include Karom Waterfall. There is a quite short nature trail there, and below are a couple of the species we saw there.

Arhopala ariel

Arhopala ariel. A rare species of the ganesa subgroup of this huge genus.

Pirdana hyela rudolphii

Pirdana hyela rudolphii

 

At the Krung Ching Waterfall trail (about 4Km.long) we have seen many species. Near the start of the trail, there is a short steep climb, and at the end, near the very beautiful waterfall, a long, steep and slippery drop, which could be dangerous with the wrong soles on your shoes. The species include:

Choaspes stigmatus caudatus. A late afternoon species.

Choaspes stigmatus caudatus. A late afternoon species.

Deramas livens evansi. All members of this genus are very rare.

Deramas livens evansi. All members of this genus are very rare.

Sithon nedymond ismarus - male

Sithon nedymond ismarus – male

Arhopala ammonides ammonides. Another member of the ganesa subgroup, but with an additional costal white spot.

Arhopala ammonides ammonides. Another member of the ganesa subgroup, but with an additional costal white spot.

Idea lynceus lynceus

Idea lynceus lynceus

Kallima limborgi. The famous Leaf Butterfly, a species I had always wanted to find.

Kallima limborgi. The famous Leaf Butterfly, a species I had always wanted to find.

Symbrenthia hypatia chersonesia

Symbrenthia hypatia chersonesia

Zeuxidia doubledayi doubledayi - male. A rare upperside shot.

Zeuxidia doubledayi doubledayi – male. A rare upperside shot.

Isma bononoides. A very rare species distinguished by having the hyaline spots yellowish.

Isma bononoides. A very rare species distinguished by having the hyaline spots yellowish.

Yong Waterfall National Park was the southernmost area I visited. Again, there is a short nature trail away from the main waterfall which is very popular with locals, and, once more, I came across some new species to me.

Britomartis cleoboides cleoboides

Britomartis cleoboides cleoboides

Losaria neptunus neptunus

Losaria neptunus neptunus

These are just three of the places we visited on our trips, and there are many more locations that can be investigated in this varied and beautful province, a large part of which, I am pleased to say, is made up of protected areas.

Kaeng Krachan NP, Petchaburi Prov., 6-13 March 2013

Posted on: April 1st, 2013 by lesday | No Comments

In early March, 5 members of the Butterfly Circle went up to Kaeng Krachan NP, in Petchaburi Province, Thailand, for a short visit.

This is an interesting location as it is situated just north of the supposed divide between the Sundaland fauna (South), and Indo-Burmese fauna (North). I was therefore hopeful that I would come across a few species not seen on or near my Samui home. I was not disappointed.

The park is the third largest in Thailand, situated on the southern border of Thailand and Myanmar (Burma), and home to many of the larger mammals of Thailand. We stayed at a small resort just outside the Park boundary, and it is used primarily by bird-watchers, as this park is a well-known mecca for this activity.

The park office is about 15Km inside the boundary, and the road to it starts of paved, but halfway along reverts to the more normal dirt track. At the office, there is also a restaurant, and camping facilities. To travel further, there are strict times when vehicles are allowed either up or down. This is because after 3Km. the road is single track, very steep in places and with no passing areas. Only 4-wheel drive vehicles are allowed after the 3km point. As a group, we did not venture past that point, but before my friends from Singapore and Malaysia arrived, Antonio and I did venture up to the top of the mountain (1035m). It gave very pretty views, but was not rewarding, butterfly-wise.

The best areas for butterflies were 3 areas where the road from the office to the 3Km. point were crossed by small streams. I have never seen so many puddling butterflies in such a small area in my life. It certainly never seems to happen further south on the peninsular. The pictures below can only give a poor idea of the true numbers seen at these locations at any one time.

Puddlers disturbed!

Puddlers disturbed!

Group puddling

Group puddling

These huge conglomerations made it difficult to isolate single specimens to get decent photos, but we still managed it to our satisfaction, though some species seen were never co-operative. In fact, there were so many that I missed several species which, although previously photographed by me were of a different subspecies, which I had not come across before. There was one species which I had dismissed for the first couple of days as Papilio memnon, common on Samui, and so had ignored it. Only on the third day did I discover that the undersides were different and it was a new species for me, The Spangle (Papilio protenor euprotenor).

Papilio protenor euprotenor (The Spangle)

Papilio protenor euprotenor (The Spangle)

One of our main objectives had been to photograph the Great Nawab (Charaxes (Polyura) eudamippus eudamippus), and a few happily turned up. This species is one of many that we saw that are at close to the southernmost part of their range.

Charaxes (Polyura) eudamippus eudamippus (Great Nawab)

Charaxes (Polyura) eudamippus eudamippus (Great Nawab)

Another of the species, which only appeared on the first day, so Ellen, Nelson and LC all missed it, was this Blue-striped Mime (Papilio slateri slateri).

Papilio slateri slateri (Blue-striped Mime

Papilio slateri slateri (Blue-striped Mime

A true jewel of the forest is the Paris Peacock (Papilio paris paris), which was seen on most days, it is stunning! It is also not found further south.

Papilio paris paris (Paris Peacock)

Papilio paris paris (Paris Peacock)

I had hoped that I might find a species, the Blue Helen (Papilio prexaspes andamanicus) known once from Samui, but for which I am still lacking a photo. The species was there, but it was the wrong subspecies, P. prexaspes pitmani, which immediately told me that I would not find my goal here as two subspecies can not live in the same area.

Papilio prexaspes pitmani (Blue Helen)

Papilio prexaspes pitmani (Blue Helen)

Below are other species found in the open, near the road, which were new to me. As far as I can see, some of these photos may increase the known range of the species southwards.

Athyma ranga obsolescens (Black-veined Sergeant)

Athyma ranga obsolescens (Black-veined Sergeant)

Graphium xenocles lindos (Great Zebra)

Graphium xenocles lindos (Great Zebra)

Seseria strigata (Evan's White Flat)

Seseria strigata (Evan’s White Flat)

Ctenoptilum vasava vasava (Tawny Angle)

Ctenoptilum vasava vasava (Tawny Angle)

Symbrenthia lilaea luciana (Common Jester)

Symbrenthia lilaea luciana (Common Jester)

Libythea narina rohini (White-spot Beak)

Libythea narina rohini (White-spot Beak)

There are a few short trails off the main ‘road’, and these produced different species, which prefer to stay in the undergrowth.

Tagiades lavatus (Plain Snow Flat)

Tagiades lavatus (Plain Snow Flat)

Zographetus satwa (Purple and Gold Flitter)

Zographetus satwa (Purple and Gold Flitter)

Sinthusa nasaka amba (Narrow Spark)

Sinthusa nasaka amba (Narrow Spark)

Because of the overwhelming number of butterflies around, I spent little time looking for other forms of insects, but we did come across this particularly beautiful Long-horn Beetle.

Thysia wallichi tonkinensis

Thysia wallichi tonkinensis

This National Park is a wonderful place to visit at any time of the year, though the road up to the mountain is closed during the rainy season for safety reasons. However, it is very remote, the nearest petrol stations and ATMs are about 30Km. away and credit cards are not universally accepted! Be warned.

For all the species and subspecies new to me from this trip, please go the ‘Expeditions’ section and click on Thailand-Mainland.