20 December 2008

Butterflies and bees of Pulau Semakau

The Semakau Book Team were out at Pulau Semakau again this morning. I was out with a very energetic and professional team from the Butterfly Circle led by Khew.Here's the hardworking Team getting those 'butt' shots with Raffles Lighthouse and Pulau Biola in the horizon.
It was a sunny day with glorious blue skies, but a ferocious wind as well. So it's truly amazing that the Butterfly Team could take so many nice photos of these fluttery animals.The Team spent a lot of time in the mosquito infested forested areas. I am in awe of their ability to put up with these annoying insects. I just fled through the trail as I usually do.There were butts too in the grasslands nearby, a sea of grasses waving in the constant winds.

Butterflies of course love flowers. And there were plenty of wildflowers in the grasslands.
And even on the concrete sea walls.As well as in the mangroves.

The Butterfly Team spotted 18 different kinds of butterflies and took lots of nice photos which I saw on their cameras. I was too lame to take any photos of these marvellous flying creatures. Sigh.

The Butterfly Circle run the fantastic Butterflies of Singapore blog with regular posts of fabulous photos and facts about our beautiful butterflies.

It was also a delight to be joined by John Lee who runs the amazing vespa-bicolor website on wasps and bees of Hong Kong and Singapore. He was just as busy as his subjects, and running about to get a closer look at them. John can even catch some with his bare hands. He says he does this only with the males, which don't sting. But then, you do have to know your wasps to know which ones are males! So we all shouldn't try this.We were shown a humungous hornet's nest near the entrance to the shore. It must have been about a metre in diameter! John points out that it probably fell off the tree. He also points out how the creepers in the undergrowth would alert the insects if we stepped too close. We indeed kept a respectful distance from this enormous metropolis of stingers.John shows a photo of what happened to his hand when he was stung by a not so virulent wasp. Ouch. Worse things can happen with a sting from a really nasty wasp, he says. Well, we should indeed be respectful of these beautiful, elegant and intelligent insects.
It was really fun and educational for me to be out with the Butterfly Team. Thanks for a great outing and the fantastic weather! This was a group photo shared by the Team, and taken on the very windy Southernmost point of Singapore. Jacqueline had to hang on to her hat.

Here's the official Butterfly Circle account of the Semakau Butterfly survey with the list of 18 butterfly species spotted and lots of photos! Fantastic!

Meanwhile, Marcus was out with the Bird Group, who were also energetically checking out the island for birds. On this hot sunny day, the raptors and herons were obviously out and about, as well as lots of other birds. Dr Ho Hua Chew had a long list when I met him on the shore.

The blue sky and sunny weather was a nice change from the wet wet trips we have had recently. But I realised I do not do well under the full sun and was totally exhausted at the end of the trip. Shore explorers are vampirish creatures and do better near sunset or sunrise.


  1. Thanks for organising the trip Ria. At least you know what we land-lubbers have to go through to get the butt photos. But it was a really beautiful blue-sky day, and double thanks for the speedy boat, and the aircon bus to take us to the survey spots. :)

    BTW, our stinger expert is John LEE.

  2. Thanks for the correction! Sorry about that John!

    It was a fantastic outing. And I am greatly impressed by the dedication and skill of the Butterfly Team.

    I shan't complain anymore about shooting on the shores. Not even about the early morning trips, which turn out to be a lot easier than mid-day ones, blue sky not withstanding :-)

    Looking forward to more trips to Semakau with the fabulous Butterfly Team!



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