16 August 2013

Happy 6th Birthday, ButterflyCircle Blog!

Happy 6th Birthday, ButterflyCircle Blog!

Over 6 years ago, I was persuaded by my nature-lover friends, Ria Tan and November Tan, to start a blog to share all the photos, stories and information about butterflies in Singapore. Already veteran bloggers at that time, both Ria (who blogs at Wild Shores of Singapore) and November (who maintains her Midnight Monkey Monitor) were sharing useful nature conservation news and initiatives on the Internet.  At that time, I was also inspired by Dr Wee Yeow Chin's Bird Ecology Study Group's articles, where Dr Wee's frequent posts brought the behaviour and observations of birds to life in a very simple and engaging manner to the nature community.

After fiddling around with various blog software packages, I settled on Blogspot, as it was a popular platform, and relatively easy to use. A maiden post on 16 Aug 2007 started off this journey of blogging.  Even so, I was still hesitant about blogging, as I knew that it would take time, research and a lot of commitment and perseverance to sustain the effort. It was only a few months later in November 2007 that I began posting articles in earnest, setting myself a conservative target of at least one article per week.

After starting the blog, I also noticed that there were other local butterfly enthusiasts jumping on the blogging bandwagon, and recording their own experiences and observations about butterflies. In fact, some even had two or more blogs! However, it's often easy to start something, but to sustain it is another matter altogether. The majority of these blogs are now covered with cobwebs and some of them last posted something back in 2009 and have not been updated since! I wonder why these people don't just shut down the blogs completely, rather than leave a trail of miserable 'ghost town' blogs in their wake.

Anyway, with nearly 500 posts on this blog, we have come a long way since that initial post back in 2007. I must convey my sincere thanks to Horace Tan, who has done awesome work on the Life History series on this blog, that is second to none in this region. Horace has meticulously documented many butterfly life histories with such detail that each article is actually a research project in itself!

Special thanks also, to the occasional contributors like Sunny Chir, Ellen Tan, Federick Ho, Tan BJ, Goh LC, and all the wonderful photos from the larger community at ButterflyCircle, who have generously agreed to allow Horace and me to feature their work in our articles.

This blog is dedicated to the hardworking photographers and members of ButterflyCircle, and I hope that this blog will continue to spread the awareness and beauty of Nature's Flying Jewels for many more years to come! Happy 6th Birthday to the Butterflies of Singapore Blog!

Main Contributors : Khew SK & Horace Tan

Down Memory Lane - Clipper

Down Memory Lane
The Clipper (Parthenos sylvia lilacinus)

This large and showy butterfly used to fly in the forested areas of Singapore, according to the early authors, who listed this species, the Clipper, as extant on their checklist for Singapore. The upperside of the Clipper is black with blue and green lines and stripes, with a large white post-discal patches on the forewing. The underside is similarly marked, but paler, and with the wing bases shaded a light blue. With an average wingspan of 40mm and more, it can hardly be missed.

It is able to fly strongly, gliding rapidly from perch to perch, usually stopping with its wings opened flat. The Clipper is a 'regular' at commercial butterfly parks in Malaysia. It is one of the species that is often seen at the Changi Airport Terminal 3 Butterfly Garden's butterfly aviary, which imports pupae from the Penang Butterfly Farm on a regular basis. It has not been reliably seen in the wild in Singapore for over 30 years. Why did it disappear from Singapore? Were its host plants wiped out? Will it be back here again one day? Or will it remain only in our memories and is gone forever from Singapore?