Sabah Revisited (2013)

In April 2010, I went to Sabah for butterfly watching.  This time, I revisited most of the spots I visited in 2010.  Unfortunately, the weather was quite cool so it was not good for butterflies.  I did not see as many butterflies as I did in April.

Crocker Range Park Station (Keningau Area)

Crocker Range Park is the largest National Park in Sabah.  The park station was situated at the middle part of the park.

Crocker Range Park Station

The “Crocker Trail” was one of the major trail for butterfly watching.  While it was cloudy, windy, and cool, I only saw very few butterflies.  In case you walk through the lower portion of the “Crocker Trail”, beware of leeches.  There was a “healthy” population in the lower climb-up section.

Crocker Trail

Crocker Range Park (Tambunan Area)

While the weather was not good, I took a short walk in Kipandi Butterfly Park.  Basically, I was not interested in butterflies reared in the net.  I just wanted to mark the GPS coordinates for future publications.


↓ Flos anniella (花灰蝶屬) outside Kipandi Butterfly Park
Flos anniella

The second spot I visited was Masakob Waterfall.  In 2010 trip, the place has already been shut down due to landslide.  Now, some kind of construction is taking place.  The site was simply inaccessible though the entrance still worth visiting.

The third spot I visited was Mahua Waterfall.  It was one of the major site in this area.

Cyrestis maenalis

Poring Hot Spring

The trail to the waterfall was the focus for this spot.  It was finally sunny.  However, the shade under the dense forest remained too cold for most butterflies.  I saw several Morphinae species.  Overall density was so so.

Kinabalu Park

It was raining and too cold for butterflies.  It may be a good spot for bird watching though.

Butterfly Watching in Nanling National Forest Park, Guangdong (2013)

Nanling National Forest Park (南嶺國家森林公園) has long been one of the major butterfly spot in Guangdong.  Possibly due to the influence of Typhoon approaching Guangdong, we did not see as many bufferflies as before.  It was quite unexpected that we hardly met any Graphium sp during the trip.

Luckily, we still met the lovely Sasakia funebris (黑紫蛺蝶).Sasakia funebris


Butterfly Watching in Taiwan (2013)

Due to geographical isolation and complexity in landscape, Taiwan has been one of the best place for butterflying.  This is the fifth times I went there for butterflying.  This time, I revisited The Northern Cross-Island Highway and Puli.

The Northern Cross-Island Highway (北橫公路)

The Northern Cross-Island Highway has been one of the best spot for butterflying.  The place has been known for Sasakia charonda (大紫蛺蝶) and Agehana maraho (台灣寬尾鳳蝶).Baleng Valley

This time, I was still able to spot the two famous species.  However, I was not able to take good pictures of them.  Still, I was able to spot several endemic species/subspecies that I have never seen before.

Sephisa daimio (台灣帥蛺蝶/臺灣燦蛺蝶) Chitoria chrysolora (金鎧蛺蝶/臺灣小紫蛺蝶)

Puli, Nantou (南投埔里)

In the old days, Puli was well known for the “butterfly industry”.  The weather was not very good.  Still, we were lucky enough to see some butterflies.

Puli, Nantou

Butterflies gathering around the stream-bank.Butterfly gathering around stream-bank


Butterfly Watching in Kogesawa, Mt. Takao (Tokyo, Japan)

Mt. Takao was a popular hiking spot in Hachiōji (八王子) of Tokyo.  The place was connected to Tokyo City Center by Keio Takao Line and JR Chuo Line.  From Shinjuku, it takes about an hour to reach there.  Due to the ease of access, most of the hiking trails in Mt. Takao was quite busy and crowded.  That was not desired for butterfly watching.  Instead of Mt. Takao, Kogesawa Woodland Trail (小下沢林道) in the region is a better site for butterfly watching.  Right outside Takao JR station, there is a bus connecting to Kogesawa.  The bus ride took just about 10 minutes.

Kogesawa Woodland (小下沢風景林)

Mt. Takao was known for “Tengu” (天狗), a legendary big nose creature in Japanese folk.  I am not sure whether it is related or not, Libythea celtis (朴喙蝶) was so common in the region.  The butterfly was also having a big “nose” so it was called called “Tengu” butterfly.

Libythea celtis 朴喙蝶

The vegetation looks suitable for butterfly watching.  I was able to spot many butterflies deeper in the trail.  Still, end May to early June was not yet the peak butterfly season there.  I would expect seeing more butterflies in July and August.


Butterfly Watching in Shaanxi (China)

Shaanxi (陝西) is a province in Northwestern part of China.  To most people, Shaanixi was famous for the “Terracotta Army” or Panda.  However, the Qin Mountains range was also an area known for great biodiversity.

During the 10-day trip (17-26 May, 2013), we visited several spots in Baoji (寶雞) and Ankang(安康) around the Qin Mountains area.  Although it was a bit too late for Luehdorfia (虎鳳蝶屬) , we were still able to spot a number of interesting butterflies.  Based on some previous field trip reports, end June to early July would probably be a better time to visit there.

↓ Parnassius glacialis (冰清絹蝶)
Parnassius glacialis 冰清絹蝶


↓ Calinaga davidis (大衛絹蛺蝶)
Calinaga davidis 大衛絹蛺蝶

Butterfly Watching in Chiang Mai (March 2013)

We went to Chiangmai  province in the northern part of Thailand.  There are only three seasons: Raining season, cool season, and hot season.  It was the hot season when we went there.  The weather was hot and dry.  During the day time, it could easily reach 39 to 40 degrees celcius.

During the 7-day trip (29 Mar to 4 Apr, 2013), we went to quite a number of places, including Doi Inthanon National Park, Doi Chiang Dao National Park, Doi Phahom Pok National Park, and Doi Suthep Pui National Park.

↓ Swamp of butterflies gathering on the road (Doi Chiang Dao National Park)
Swamp of butterflies gathering on the road

Butterfly Watching in Cha’am/Huahin (Thailand)

More precisely, we went to Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan Provinces.  The names, Cha’am and Huahin, are more well known to tourists.  The two provinces are situated in the central part of Thailand.  The national parks were close to Burma.  Some butterfly spots were just less than a kilometer away from the border.

During the 8-day trip (10-17 Feb, 2013), we went to quite a number of places, including Kaeng Krachan National Park and Huai Yang National Park.

↓ Butterflies gathering at stream-bank (Pala-U)Butterflies gathering at stream-bank (Pala-U)

Butterfly Watching in Madagascar (Oct 2012) – Part 1

Madagascar is an island country in the Indian Ocean.  As Madagascar has been isolated from the main continents for very long time, the species on the island evolved into new species.  More than 90% of the plants and animals are endemic species (or sub-species).  To nature lovers, this is very attractive and the primary reason to visit Madagascar.

We employed local travel agent to arrange the trip for us.  During this trip, we traveled around the central eastern part of the island.

Andasibe Mantadia National Park

We stayed at a lodge near the National Park.  It was a hot spot for foreign travelers.  The trails were well organized.  It was one of the greatest place for butterfly watching in the trip.  Unfortunately, flight delays shortened our trip and we could only spend two days in this area.

Andasibe Mantadia National Park
Graphium endochus, endemic to Madagascar


Anjozorobe is about 1400m above sea level.  We stayed at Mananara Lodge.  It was a nice place, distant away from the crowd, and certainly great for trekking.  While it was still cold during the day and freezing during the night, butterflies were not very active during our stay.

Mananara Lodge, Anjozorobe