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Saturday, 11 January 2014

Night Walk At MacRitchie Reservoir (10 Jan 2014)

The weather was dry and it was perfect for a night walk for some beetle actions. Feeling a little lazy, I decided to go to the MacRitchie Reservoir as I have a direct public bus to the place and back, unlike the other locations where I would need to change to other bus services or have to walk quite a distance.

At the same time, I also decided to give my Tamron AF70-300 mm lens a try for the night macro session. This is the first time that I would use it through out the entire session and at the same time paired it with an external flash with a homemade flash diffuser. Most of the photographs for this session were taken with this setting - 1/160, F18 and ISO 400-800.

So without much expectations, I headed towards MacRitchie Reservoir. The first beetle that came into view was this Chafer Beetle (Adoretus compressus) feasting on a leaf of the Singapore Rhododendron (Melastoma malabathricum) plant.


On another Singapore Rhododendron was a few of this roundish Leaf Beetle (Argopus brevis). The Singapore Rhododendron seemed to be the favorite food plant for this type of beetle.


Another type of beetle was found feeding on the Singapore Rhododendron plant. This time round was a commonly encountered Chafer Beetle (Apogonia expeditionis).


A small Darkling Beetle was found on the trunk on a tree nearby. At a glance it looked like the commonly encountered Darkling Beetle, but as I zoomed closer I noticed that the legs are brown in color. This is different from the commonly encountered Darkling Beetle which has black colored legs. This turned out to be a first-time-encountered beetle.


Moving further into the trail, a Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus quadriguttatus) was seen resting on a leaf.


A small 2 mm black beetle was seen on a tree trunk and from my previous experience, the beetle may not be black in color. True enough as I zoomed closer on the beetle, it turned out to be nicely patterned. It was a Fungus Beetle.


Further down on a think tree was this small 4 mm Fungus Weevil.


Moving along, a Ground Beetle (Onypterygia longispinis) was found chewing on a freshly bruised tree bark. This particular Ground Beetle was so engrossed with its feasting that it did not move at all throughout photographing session. It was an unlikely behavior as this particular type of Ground Beetle is rather sensitive to light and movements, and would typically fly off when they sensed movements.


On a nearby rotting log was this Fungus Beetle.


Moving on I saw a speck of orange on a tree trunk and found this lovely orange color Fungus Beetle. This is a first-time-encountered beetle.


On the same tree trunk was this beetle larvae. I always enjoy photographing them as they reminded me of jelly sweets.


Walking down the graveled path, I was not at all surprised to find this Long Horned Beetle (Aeolesthes holosericeus) as you can usually find different type of Long Horned Beetle here. The only surprise about this particular beetle was that it remained very still for me to photograph, which is not typical as it is quite sensitive to movements and I would usually need to 'chase' after them to photograph them.


The next was a wonderful find as I seldom come across Click Beetle of this size (~25 mm). Those Click Beetle that I usually come across were typically less than 10 mm in size. This is another first-time-encountered beetle.


A commonly encountered Darkling Beetle was seen on a tree trunk.


On the same tree was another bigger (~15 mm) Darkling Beetle. This particular beetle was black in color whereas there are also similarly looking Darkling Beetle that has red colored legs.


When I first started photographing beetles, I thought that these were silverfishes until later on that I realized that they are Rove Beetle. I have always wanted to photograph these hyper-active and sensitive beetles but they are quite a challenge to photograph (and still is). I was fortunate to find this lone Rove Beetle (Sepedophilus bisignatus) that stopped for a relatively longer time between its high speed runs.


Several of this Fungus Beetle were found on another rotten log. This was quite a difficult beetle to photograph as it is pretty shiny and the patterns on its elytra were very subtle.


On the same log was a large Darkling Beetle (~10 mm).


Moving to a very large rotten tree trunk on a slope on the side, I found this Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus tetraspilotus) moving actively on the log.


While photographing the Eumorphus tetraspilotus Fungus Beetle, my eyes caught sight of this small 3 mm metallic blue and orange Fungus Beetle. This is a first-time-encountered beetle.


The highlight of the trip was found on the same log. It was another first-time-encountered Fungus Beetle. Interestingly the pattern on this beetle looked similar to a Ground Beetle that I found previously.



Moving to a tree that was covered with green algae, I found this large 15 mm Darkling Beetle.


On a tree nearby was another Darkling Beetle.


Moving down the trail I came across a fallen tree on the side a few meters down a gentle slope. I decided to check it out and found this lovely colored Fungus Beetle (Micrencaustes lunulata).


Next to the Micrencaustes lunulata Fungus Beetle was a large tree stump where a large bracket fungus was growing on it. Underside of the bracket fungus was a large group of Eumorphus tetraspilotus Fungus Beetle (about 10) and near to them was this lone Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus politus).


On the same bracket fungus was another lone Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus assamensis).


After a few minutes of strenuous photography on the slope (covered with decomposing leaf litters), I was simply glad to find this small (~2 mm) Fungus Beetle.


Time passes quickly and it was time for me to turn back. As I was walking back towards the entrance, I saw this Fungus Beetle on a small tree. I initially thought that it was the Eumorphus assamensis Fungus Beetle and was deciding whether to stop and photograph it. Since I still have a little bit of time, I decided to stop and photograph it. And to my pleasant surprise, I found "extra" spots on it. This is a different Fungus Beetle and it was only the second time that I came across this type of beetle.


I didn't came across any beetle when I was heading towards the entrance, thus this beetle larvae because a welcome sight for me.


The last beetle was found by chance when I was looking at an interesting looking spider on a plant and noticed some movement on a tree trunk. It was a Ground Beetle (Minuthodes multisetosa).


The trip turned out to be better than expected, with me learning how to take night macro with my Tamron AF70-300 mm lens and external flash. I also learned how tiring it can be with the added weight of the external flash , LED light and the heavier Tamron lens (compared to my usual 18-55 mm Sony lens that I used for macro photography in the night.) The several first-time-encountered beetles was a bonus for the satisfying but tiring trip.