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Saturday, 3 December 2016

Night Walk At Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (02 Dec 2016)

The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve was re-opened not too long ago, so my friend HW and I decided to check the place out for this week's walk. We were glad that it didn't rain in the day even though it rained heavily a day before. For those who are not aware, rain during the monsoon season can sometimes last for two to three days with short intermittently stops.

HW found this interesting cicada emerged not too long ago. I particularly like the color of the wings reflecting the camera flash.

The first beetle for the trip was a 4 mm first-time-encountered Fungus Beetle found on a fallen log.

There was not much action despite walking for a while until this lovely Chafer Beetle (Maladera castanea) found on a leaf of a low bush.

There are many big trees that lined that sides of the trail but interestingly I didn't find any beetles or insects on them until I came to a medium size tree with several 2 mm Darkling Beetles on it. Noticed that even at this tiny size, the beetles are still playing host to really tiny mites.

More walking without finding any beetles - not even on the many fallen logs along the way. I was so glad to find this commonly encountered Darkling Beetle on a dead log.

A few trees away from the Darkling Beetle was a hyper-active small 4 mm first-time-encountered Weevil Beetle.

Just a tree away was another 4 mm first-time-encountered Weevil Beetle.

While photographing the Weevil Beetle, I felt something hit my camera diffuser. I looked around and found this Tiger Beetle on a tree branch just centimeters from me. I guessed that my camera focusing light could have attracted this Tiger Beetle (Therates dimidiatus dejeanii) to me. I am particularly pleased to be able to photograph this beetle as it is rarely encountered during the night.

At the 'turn-back' point for the trip, this black Chafer Beetle was found under a leaf. At first glance it looked like the smaller Apogonia expeditionis Chafer Beetle, but differs in that it is much bigger and broader.

On a tree nearby was a small 2 mm Darkling Beetle.

After some walking without finding any beetles, I was glad to find this small 4 mm Ground Beetle (Pentagonia flavipes).

More walking without finding any beetle until we came to a fallen tree where a pair of this 4 mm Darkling Beetle were found on one of the tree branches.

Near to the roundish Darkling Beetle was this large 15 mm Darkling Beetle.

Coming to a large fallen tree, I found this 15 mm Click Beetle resting motionlessly on it. I was wondering if the beetle was dead and found the answer when I was processing the photograph for this blog. The reason why the beetle was motionless was because it was in the process of laying eggs in the crevices of the fallen tree.

On an older fallen log nearby was a Darkling Beetle (Ceropria induta) with several tiny mites on it.

The highlight for the trip was the finding of this first-time-encountered Darkling Beetle. It looked like the normal black Darkling Beetle until it was photographed (with flash) that the purple and bronze coloration appeared.

The last beetle for the trip was a small 3 mm Darkling Beetle found on a small tree at the end of the trail.

Although the number of beetles encountered during the trip was not particularly large compared to our favorite location Venus Drive, I am happy to be able to find 4 first-time-encountered beetles. I believe that the small number of beetles found is probably due to the high human traffic on the trail during the day. Regardless, it was a fruitful trip.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Night Walk At Mount Faber Park (18 Nov 2016)

It has been more than a year that I last been to the Mount Faber Park and so I decided to go there for a walk. Here's a photograph of the city area taken from the top of Mount Faber Park.

The first beetle was a bronze-colored Leaf Beetle found hiding under some leaf cover.

It could be the time of the day (slightly before 7 pm) that all the beetles I encountered at the beginning were pretty skittish. Here's a photograph of a 2 mm Jewel Beetle which promptly flew off after one photograph of it.

Near to the Jewel Beetle was a 5 mm Leaf Beetle which was also very alert like the Jewel Beetle.

There was not much action until the sky became totally dark. On the way to The Peak, I found this 5 mm Darkling Beetle at the base of a small tree.

Moving further along the road leading to The Peak, I was surprised to find this large 25 mm Chafer Beetle (Phyllophaga marginalis). This type of beetle is quite a pest as they make quick work of their food plant because of their size.

It was also about this moment that an unfortunate incident happened.

While I was photographing this beetle at the edge of a forested area, I was approached by an Indian security guard. I was rather puzzled as to why I was approached as the place where I was photographing was no where near to any commercial building or protected installation. The first thing the security guard asked me was "Who give you permission to take photograph here?" I was surprised by the question and so I did a quick look around to make sure that I did not trespass any private property unintentionally.

I am very sure that the spot I was at is a public place as less than 10 meters from me was a group of 法錀功 members exercising.  I replied saying that this is a public place and I don't need to have any permission to take photographs. Not sure if the security guard didn't hear me or he is just persistent as he kept asking "Yes, so who give you permission to take photograph here?"

I kept telling him that this is a public place and not a private property nor is it a protected area, I don't need to have any permission to take photograph. Not sure what was wrong, the security guard kept repeating his "Who give you permission..." rant and refused to back-off.  In my mind, I started to wonder if he is one of those crooks who pretended to be CID or government agent to prey on unsuspecting people. This went on for a good 10 minutes until I ran out of my patience to tell him that I am in a public place and I do not need permission to take photograph. As a last resort, I called the police to seek their advice on how to handle the situation. The police responded and came to the location within 10 minutes.

For those who where wondering if I got another 10 minutes of ranting from the security guard, the answer is no - thankfully the security guard decided to get his boss to back him up after I called the police. Anyway, the boss of the security guard came before the police arrived and started apologizing saying the security guard was new and don't know what he was doing. In all honesty, I don't buy what the security guard's boss was saying as he was the one who assigned the security guard to guard the place for whatever reasons that eluded me.

After some "interviewing" by the policemen, the policemen clarified that I didn't break any law and I am fine to take photographs at the place. By this time my mood for taking photographs has been badly dampened. I decided to call it a day and walk towards the Marang Trail that leads to the Harbourfront MRT station. Before reaching the Marang Trail, I would need to pass through a stretch of covered walkway where the roof is made up of thick foliage of creeper vines. This is also where I encountered most of the beetles the last time I visited Mount Faber.

While I was still calming down from the incident, I was glad to find this Fungus Weevil (Eucorynus crassicornis) at the base of a pillar at the walkway.

Near to the Fungus Beetle was a lone Chafer Beetle (Apogonia expeditionis) on a creeper vine.

A small 3 mm Darkling Beetle was found on another vine near by.

The first beetle found on a pillar was a first-time-encountered Darkling Beetle.

A stone's throw from the Darkling Beetle was another Darkling Beetle (Strongylium erythrocephalum)  found on another vine.

Walking further down the walkway, I was surprised to find this lovely 10 mm first-time-encountered Darkling Beetle on a vine.

On an overhead pillar near by was this small 4 mm Click Beetle (Xanthopenthes schawalleri).

On a vine further down was a small 1 mm Fungus Beetle.

When I was almost reaching the entrance of the Marang Trail, this small 5 mm Broad-nosed Weevil was found on a pillar. I like this particular photograph as the white pillar bakground made it looked like it was shot in a studio.

At the base of a small tree near to the Marang Trail entrance was a 5 mm Darkling Beetle.

The Marang Trail starts from the top of Mount Faber and ends somewhere near to the Harbourfront MRT entrance. Sadly there was not a single beetle encountered along the entire Marang Trail. It was only at the end of the Marang Trail that I found a colony of Tiger Beetles (Cicindela aurulenta). Here's a shot of a portion of the colony.

The trip was a fruitful one with a number of beetles encountered, albeit the experience was dampened by the unfortunate "permission" incident. Reflecting on the incident, I think NParks should do something about these over-zealous security guards (possibly from the commercial outlets further down the road) to spoil the experience of visitors to the place, locals or foreigners alike.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Recce Walk At Gardens By The Bay (11 Nov 2016)

Gardens By The Bay was opened in June 2012 and since then I have not visited the place for macro photography session. Taking advantage of the fine weather, I decided to go to Gardens By The Bay for a recce trip to see if the place is worth visiting for my future macro photography sessions.

Here's a photograph of the iconic Super Tree and Flower Dome.

The place was full of people, locals and foreigners alike were taking photographs of the various iconic landmarks at the place. It was only after walking for 2 hours that I encountered this 12 mm first-time-encountered Long Horned Beetle (Ceresium raripilum) at a less frequented part of the garden.

The trip was a total disappointment as only one beetle was encountered. Guessed that the place would need more time for the beetle population to be established. Meanwhile, I will probably give the place a miss for a long while to come.

Night Walk At Bukit Timah Nature Reserve ~ Durian Loop (09 Nov 2016)

The weather looks good so I decided to go for a macro session at the Durian Loop of the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. I also took the opportunity to invite my young beetle-lover friend Reynard to join me for the trip. It's has been a while I last been to the place and have no idea what we will find for the night.

Here's a photograph of a Tail-less Whip Scorpion encountered at the place. Despite its fiercesome look, it was said that it is actually a rather gentle critter and would not mind being handled. Regardless of what were said, I am not about to find out if this is really true and just enjoy the look of this interesting creature.

The first beetle for the trip were several Darkling Beetle (Ceropria induta) found on a fallen log.

Near to the Darkling Beetles were several of this small 4 mm Darkling Beetle (Strongylium tenuipes) found on a small tree.

A stone's throw away was a tree stump with a few bracket mushrooms growing on it. On the mushrooms were several Rove Beetle (Sepedophilus bisignatus) running frantically about.

Tucked away in the tree stump was a 15 mm Pleasing Fungus Beetle (Encaustes praenobilis).

The place was rather wet and so it was only after a bit of walking before I came across this 10 mm Darkling Beetle on a fallen tree.

On the same fallen tree was another Darkling Beetle (Eucytus anthracinus).

More walking until we came across this lone Tiger Beetle (Cicindela aurulenta) resting on a leaf.

On a tree near to the Tiger Beetle were several 4 mm Ground Beetles (Pericalus tetrastigma) running about on its trunk.

On the same tree trunk was a lone 3 mm Darkling Beetle.

Moving further down the track, we came across another tree stump with some white fungus mushroom growing on it. Next to the mushroom was a small 3 mm Darkling Beetle. When I was there I thought that it was a normal small Darkling Beetle. It was only when I was processing the photographs that I noticed the tiny "horns" on the beetle.

More walking until we came to some Elephant Ear Plant (Alocasia macrorrhizos) where this lone Ant-like Flower Beetle (Anthelephila cyanea) was found under one of its giant leaves.

Near by was an area where Air Potato Plants were growing wild and had taken over almost the entire place. On one of the leaves was this 10 mm Chafer Beetle (Maladera castanea).

Near to the Chafer Beetle was a patch of Aglaonema 'Gold Dust' plants where this 20 mm Mangrove Long Horned Beetle (Aeolesthes holosericeus) was found.

Near to the Mangrove Long Horned Beetle was a Leaf Beetle (Lema divresa) which I seldom encounter during my night walks.

Coming to another tree stump, I was surprised to find this lone Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus tetraspilotus) on an Air Potato leaf next to the tree stump. It has been a while I last came across this beetle.

The highlight for the trip was the encounter with this first-time-encountered 5 mm Darkling Beetle. I have previously encountered similar looking Darkling Beetle but the size and location of the yellow spots are very different from this.

On a tree near by was this pair of small 3 mm Darkling Beetle.

On the same tree was the "shell" of a beetle larvae.

Time passes quickly and it was time to leave the trail. This roundish 8 mm Darkling Beetle was found on a large tree along the side of Riffle Range Road.

As we came to the base of a road fly-over, I was surprised to find a 10 mm Click Beetle (Pectocera babai) and a 3 mm Toe-Winged Beetle on the wall of the fly-over.

The last beetle of the trip was a 10 mm Darkling Beetle found on a tree next to a bus-stop.

This trip was unexpectedly fruitful even though the weather is less than ideal. This seemed to be a good place to go for my future macro sessions.