Saturday, 30 October 2010

The Great Mormon

It's taken quite a few trials on several excursions to finally get a butterfly photo like this...  just about right.

This butterfly, Papilio memnon or The Great Mormon, is always just fluttering and fluttering and fluttering all over the place in all directions and barely stops even when collecting nectar.

Times like these, I do sometimes wish I have a DSLR with great continuous shooting speed, yet I am not exactly a serious photographer in this sense and certainly won't be keen to lug all the gear everywhere...

Anyway, will still be trying for more pics whenever I get the chance!  After all, it does have a lot to do with timing and being at the right place at the right time!

That's where all the fun is, isn't it?


Saturday, 23 October 2010

Orthetrum chrysis In Wheel

This is the first time I have managed to get a photo of a pair of Orthetrum chrysis in wheel.

If this pair of dragonflies hadn't been in pursuit by another amorous male, I would not have spotted them from across the pond.

I had to practically run around the perimeter of the small pond as quickly and as quietly as I can to get to them.  I was lucky on this day.  This pair was still in wheel when I got close enough for a photo.

And not just one lucky shot this time, but two!

Based on what I have seen of this species, the Orthetrum chrysis has a very short courtship-copulation period and would usually be in wheel for only a brief moment before they separate.  Almost immediately after that, the pair will fly about to look for suitable egg laying sites before the female begin laying her eggs in the pond by flicking the tip of her abdomen in the water in succession at quick intervals while the male dragonfly hovers over her in close proximity to keep guard and will give chase to other male dragonflies that come too close.

After that, the male will perch nearby in the same vicinity while the female flies away to hide. 

There have been times when the pair gets assaulted by another male before ovipositing is completed and sometimes the female may even be caught by another male before the egg laying can occur.

The whole cycle then starts all over again!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Another First

I finally did go out exploring.....

It was not a long walk but it was a good one.  And that's the whole point of it.  It does not have to take up the whole day but just a bit of an effort to get up and get out there just to do something else for a change.

On this day, I came across the Prodasineura humeralis again and this time I found a pair in wheel, which is a first for me...



Here is another male damselfly of the same species that was perched nearby.



Although I had found these damselflies next to a fast flowing forest stream, they were perched on the grassy edge of the stream where the water was just so still, there was an almost perfect mirror image of the damselfly reflected off the water.



I had a good few hours out there and I felt so much more rejuvenated after a walk in the forest... 

...after my rendezvous with nature.

And I wondered why I have not gone out there for so many weeks? 

I couldn't find a real answer.  I can say that I have been busy with work, I have been tired, I have been doing other stuff, the weather's not been cooperative, I've been under the weather, etc, etc, etc...

All of which is quite true too but are still excuses. 

Who are we bluffing?

For many of us, getting up to get going or getting started on a project or going for a run or finding the time to do something can be a bit challenging and take a bit of an effort sometimes.  It is easy to just procrastinate and to find many excuses for not doing something that would be important for ourselves.  But once you get started and get going, it is not so difficult after all, isn't it?

I hope if you have been putting off doing something important for yourself, you will get to it now.  Why wait till the New Year to make a new resolution?

Do it now.

Go for it!



Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Nature's Creations



Mother Nature is truly amazing in all her creations.

Just look at this leaf... the way it curves, the lines...

The way it all comes together as one.

It looks so simple yet it is a complex thing.

It speaks harmony.

It is beauty!



Sunday, 17 October 2010

Holding Your Breath


The current Southwest monsoon season can be a bit of a damper for dragonfly excursions.  Sometimes. 

Some days start out nice and sunny in the morning but the weather suddenly changes.  It then starts raining and the sky is overcast for most of the day after that.  Sometimes, the weather would be really nice but I would be tied up with work and other stuff instead.

Also, I have to admit to being a bit lazy sometimes, not wanting to do anything at all, even on a day when it is really nice but maybe a bit too hot as I have already been out in the sun quite enough during the week.

Ahhh... humans!  We are such complaining souls!  Without the sun and the rain, we would not have this beautiful, big blue marble!

Anyway, I have been wanting to share with you an observation about the ovipositing behaviour of these damselflies but for some reason, I have been putting it off till now.  These damselflies are of the Pseudagrion spp, Pseudagrion australasiae if I am correct.

There was this one afternoon a few months ago when I was at this pond filled with murky-looking stagnant water.  Yet, it was buzzing with activities. 

It's like there's been a mass wedding! 

There were lots of dragonflies and damselflies flying around.  A few were in tandem and in wheel, and even more were ovipositing in the pond.

With the P. australasiae, the male is in tandem or contact guarding while the female oviposits.  The reason for this behaviour is to ensure that the female can complete laying the eggs that have been fertilized with his sperm. 

In most species of dragonflies and damselfies, both the males and females may mate repeatedly.  Therefore, due to sperm competition, the males maintain tandem contact to prevent other males from displacing their sperm from the female damselfly before ovipositing is complete.  Contact guarding during oviposition also increases the probability of the female laying a complete clutch of eggs.

Sometimes, other male damselflies may attempt to disengage a pair in tandem to disrupt the copulation or oviposition process, clamoring to be her next suitor.

What do you think the male damselfly would do?


Here's a pair of damselfly with the male in tandem guarding during oviposition.


There was another male damselfly hovering around, so the female was pushed deeper into the pond.


And they kept going deeper till the female is now completely submerged.


As the place was still buzzing, they kept descending.


Until the male is also submerged and the female can now oviposit in peace.


This must be a favourite spot for these damselflies... another pair of damselflies started ovipositing here as well.


That female damselfly was submerged for quite a few minutes.  Most people can't even hold their breath underwater for that long!

Fascinating creatures!



Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Another Little Birdie...

I can't believe I have left my camera sitting around for such a long time... almost to the point of collecting dust! 

And I did not really realise how long it's been till when I picked it up this morning for a few quick shots.  As can be expected, the rechargeable batteries were dead and I was almost afraid I could not be quick enough for those few quick shots I wanted to take.

I had heard the little thud on the sliding glass door and through my "temporary make-do curtains", which is actually a light tent tarp, I had glimpsed the shadow of something dropping onto the balcony.  The next thing I did was to get down into a crawl and, as stealthily as I can, crept towards the door to take a peek out there.

A tiny little bird had crashed into the glass door again.

How did this happen?  I mean, I have my drying rack with laundry out there.

Anyway, this is a series of shots I took of this little birdie.  Here's the first shot...



Just looking at that face, all I could think of was that I hope he'll be ok.  And I tried to keep my distance in case he panics and tries to take flight and gets hurt further.



When he saw my presence, he did get a bit startled and tried to get up.



And I am sure that would have been painful because it looked like he winced!



After a while, he looked up again...  perhaps to orientate himself?  To plan his escape route?



But... nope... he decides he still needs to rest and get his wind back!



So he continues to sit there.

I guess it is still too soon to move anywhere yet.  I can just imagine it would hurt.



Eventually he did feel better, though I don't like the look of his right feet.



And then after a while, he starts to wonder.... in which direction should I be taking off?



So he looked left, then right...



It took him about 30 minutes to recover from the crash.  I was relieved to see him taking off again without further incidence.

Maybe it's a bit of an overkill with so many photos of just one little bird.  Front profile, side profile, front profile...  you said it.

I must be mad!

But my heart totally goes out to this little birdie!


...and I think he's cute!



UPDATE 14 Oct 2010: 

wchinner and birding friends have kindly confirmed this little birdie to be a juvenile Flyeater, Gerygone sulphurea, that grows to a length of only 9cm from tip of bill to tip of tail.