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Saturday, 31 May 2014

Long Walk At MacRitchie Trails (30 May 2014)

My friend and I have always wanted to try going for a full day macro-photography walk and so we took leave and headed to the MacRitchie Trails. The day started not too well as it was raining very heavily but we decided to stick to our plan and wait out the rain. Fortunately the rain stopped just when we were done with our breakfast together and we headed to the start of the MacRitchie Trails. The trail we intended to take is listed to be about 9.5 km, it was much longer for us since we would make detours in between the trail.


The start of the trail is at the familiar Venus Drive trail that leads towards the Tree Top Walk.


The first beetle that we came across was this Leaf Beetle (Lema diversa). Glad to be able to see this type of beetle despite the earlier heavy rain.


Coming to a tree badly infested with mealy bugs, I found the usual tiny 2 mm Fungus Beetle on the trunk.


On another tree nearby was this lovely beetle larvae.


On the same tree was a rare sight of a newly formed beetle pupa.


Moving on, we found a small 4 mm first-time-encountered Leaf Beetle. I initially thought that it is the Colasposoma auripenne Leaf Beetle but upon closer look it has metallic-red elytra and a metallic-green thorax. Sad to say my camera was not able to capture the true color of this beautiful beetle.


On a nearby leaf was a small 5 mm roundish Leaf Beetle with exceptionally long antennae.


On a tree trunk was a scary looking beetle larvae. I think it is a Ground Beetle larvae.


As expected there were a number of this hairy beetle as this type of beetle can usually be seen after rain.


Further down the trail was a Fungus Beetle (Triplax rufipes).


The next beetle was a Net-winged Beetle that we found near to a rotting tree log.


Moving closer to the Ranger Station, a skittish Leaf Beetle (Hoplasoma unicolor) was flying restlessly from one leaf to another, stopping occasionally in between flights.


After a quick lunch-cum-rest stop at the Ranger Station, we continued with our journey on the Rifle Range Link which will take us to the Rifle Range Road.


The trail leading to the Rifle Range Link was not particularly fruitful, possibly due to the heavy rain earlier. Interestingly the trail was full of different types of butterfly and so the sighting of this first-time-encountered Leaf Beetle the moment we entered the Rifle Range Link raised the prospect of a fruitful trip a little.


The Rifle Range Link was full of this type of Leaf Beetle (Argopus brevis) which we found through out the trail.


Moving down the trail, a Leaf Beetle was seen feasting on a partially eaten leaf.


Next to the Leaf Beetle on the same plant was this tiny 2 mm Fungus Beetle.


As we moved along the trail, dark cloud began to gather overhead and threaten to rain. As we picked up our paces, we found this hairy Leaf Beetle hiding under a leaf, possibly preparing for the impending rain.


While looking under the leaves for beetles, I almost missed this Spiny Leaf Beetle (Dicladispa armigera) which was resting on the top of a leaf.


There were many Straits Rhododendron plant (Melastoma malabathricum) along the side of the trail and on some of them, we found a number of this tiny 2 mm Jewel Beetles which could easily be missed if you are not looking carefully.


We came to this interesting part of the Rifle Range Link where we decided to make a short detour. I didn't find any beetles here but there are were a large number of dragonflies flying around the small streams.


This was the first time that I took this trail and we almost got lost when we moved onto another trail that ran parallel to a reservoir drainage system. Thanks to the modern technology of GPS and Google Map, we were able to get back on track. Trekkers usually starts the trail at the Rifle Range Road and ends at the Venus Drive or MacRitchie Reservoir, so for first timer on this trail (taking the "reverse" route), make sure you turn left and up a small flight of steps when you come to a T-junction along this Rifle Range Link. Anyway, after getting back to the correct path, we found this Leaf Beetle hiding under a leaf. We were so glad that it didn't rain even though sky was cloudy earlier on.
 


While moving up a small slope, a Tiger Beetle (Cicindela chrysippe) flew into our path. Please pardon the slight blur of the photo as it was a rush shot and the beetle flew off quickly.


The last beetle that we came across on the Rifle Range Link was this Flea Beetle, which has a pair of powerful looking hind-legs.


The Rifle Range Road was a very long tarmac road with vegetation on both side of the road. It was not very fruitful as we didn't really find many insects on them. Although we didn't find any insects, we did had a good conversation walking this road.


As we moved along this not so busy road, we spotted a foot path along side the road and so we decided to make a detour since the journey was getting a little disappointing. Just at the entrance of the foot path was a plant full of this small 4 mm first-time-encountered Leaf Beetle. Sadly this was the only beetle that we found as we traveled on this foot path. Later the path linked us back to the Rifle Range Road.


The highlight of the trip was the encountering of a first-time-encountered Tiger Beetle. I initially thought that it was a flightless Tiger Beetle but was wrong as it started to fly short distances as we fired off our camera flashes at it.


After a long walk along the Rifle Range Road without any actions, we finally reached the trail leading into the Durian Loop at the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. The first beetle that greeted us there was this Ladybird Beetle (Epilachna indica).


A stone's throw away from the Ladybird Beetle was this Leaf Beetle (Aulacophora frontalis).


Further down the track was this Spiny Leaf Beetle.


The last beetle for the trip was this Leaf Beetle. While photographing it, the sky turned dark and started to drizzle. It was our exit cue and we hurriedly move out of the track and possibly missing out of some beetles in our hurry to get out of the rain.


Although the trip was not as fruitful as expected, especially given the much longer distance and time that we spent, the number of beetles found was pretty good especially given the morning heavy rain.