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Sunday, 28 September 2014

Special Night Walk At Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (27 Sep 2014)

I had the wonderful opportunity to show a film team around the currently closed Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. The team is here filming a documentary on Singapore wild life and is interested in finding some beetles to be filmed for the documentary. Since the team has gotten special permit to film at the place, I seized the opportunity to also do my weekly beetle macro photography. For this particular trip, it was a "test" trip to test the suitability of their filming equipment.

The weather was super dry and hence besides spotting beetles for the team, I was also helping them to spot some of the commonly encountered critters at the place. Here's a shot of the team in action of filming a Spotted House Scorpion (Isometrus maculatus).

While the team was busy testing their equipment and filming, I looked around to see if I can find any beetles. The first beetle was a Ground Beetle (Onypterygia longispinis).

Near to the Ground Beetle was a fallen log and I am pleased to find this lovely Fungus Beetle (Stenotarsus nobilis nobilis).

The original plan was to explore the Durian Trail for beetles but owing to the heavy gear the team was carrying, we decided to just explore a short distance from the entrance. As we walk along the path, a dot of yellow-green light (like a LED light) was floating around in the dark. It was a Firefly beetle (Lychnuris fumigata). It took us a while to track it until it landed on a log.

Moving further down the trail, a Fungus Weevil (Eucorynus crassicornis) was found resting on the trunk of a small tree.

Coming to some low bushes, a commonly encountered Chafer Beetle (Apogonia expeditionis) was having its dinner on a leaf.

The team has a UV torchlight and we decided to give it a try on the Chafer Beetle to see if it would glow. The conclusion was that this beetle does not glow under UV light. The speckles of light were dust and dirt.

While the team was filming another critter, I was fortunate to find a Forked Fungus Beetle. I am not too sure with its identification but it is most probably Bolitotherus cornutus.

The team was unable to film the beetles that I found as they are far too small for their camera equipment that they brought, so I decided to help them spot other larger critters while I continue to enjoy my photographing of beetles. Here's a Rove Beetle which disappeared into the shade within a short 2-3 seconds of my illuminating lights.

Moving to a tree stump, I was pleasantly surprised to find a first-time-encountered Fungus Beetle resting on a patch of white fungus.

Straying a short distance from the team still doing their filming, I came across this interesting looking beetle. I initially thought that it is the commonly seen Darkling Beetle, until I zoomed in closer to see the red coloration on its legs. I immediately thought that it is the Fungus Beetle (Encymon scintillans scintillans) unt il when I was processing the photographs at home that I realized that this is a first-time-encountered Darkling Beetle.

The main difference from the Encymon scintillans scintillans Fungus Beetle was its antennae and also the jet-black color elytra. The Encymon scintillans scintillans Fungus Beetle has clubbed antennae, whereas this Darkling Beetle has a beadlike antennae. The color of the Encymon scintillans scintillans Fungus Beetle is metallic bronze-ish-black in color whereas the Darkling Beetle is jet-black in color.

A photograph of a Encymon scintillans scintillans Fungus Beetle from a previous trip for comparison.

Near to the Darkling Beetle was a commonly encountered Darkling Beetle.

Time flies and it was time for us to leave the place. Just when we are about to reach the exit, a first-time-encountered Darkling Beetle was hiding at the base of a tree vine. This Darkling Beetle looked similar to the commonly encountered Darkling Beetle exept for its purplish-black coloration.

Although we didn't travel very far for this particular trip, I am glad to still find a few first-time-encountered beetle. Hopefully the next trip with the team would be even more fruitful.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Night Walk At Bididari Cemetery (19 Sep 2014)

Recently I read several internet articles on  the Bidadari Cemetery and they reminded me that I have not went there for at least 6 years as the place was infested with mosquitoes when I last visited. So I decided to give the place a try for the night.

For those who do not know the place, it used to be a cemetery but all the graves were exhumed in 2004 and the place was opened up as a temporary park. Sadly the place was ear-marked to be redeveloped into a housing estate. In order not to repeat the last failed trip which was caused by construction works, I did a check around and was told that construction works have not began as yet. Nevertheless when I reached the place, my heart sank as I saw constructions are already taking place at the other part of the Bidadari Cemetery across a two-way road. Guessed that the days of this place is numbered.

The place was exceptionally dark, possibly due to the haze and clouds blocking out the moon. The first beetle that I found was a Chafer Beetle (Adoretus compressus) resting on a badly eaten leaf.

Walking down the path, I was surprised to find a Leaf Beetle (Lema diversa)  still out on a leaf.

As I walked down the path, I found this first-time-encountered Fungus Weevil on a fallen tree. Notice the interesting looking antennae?

I came across another fallen tree further down the path, and on it was this small 5 mm beetle which looked like a Darkling Beetle.

On the other end of the tree was a 10 mm Darkling Beetle.

A few centimeters from the Darkling Beetle was a small 1 mm Click Beetle.

Hiding under the same fallen tree was this Long Horned Beetle (Coptops annulipes).

Moving further down the path, I found a Chafer Beetle (Apogonia expeditionis) feasting on a flower bud.

The place seemed to have many fallen trees, but they are not the same as those at Venus Drive which are a lot wetter compared to here. Regardless, a Darking Beetle was found on the fallen tree.

Most parts of the place were covered with tall grass and with trees scattered across the place. On one of the young tree was this Fungus Weevil (Eucorynus crassicornis).

On another tree was this 3 mm Darkling Beetle.

Coming to a lush tree, a Chafer Beetle (Maladera castanea) was seen clinging to a leaf. It was pretty hard photographing this beetle in the wind.

On a tall fig tree, a large Chafer Beetle (Phyllophaga marginalis) was having a great time feasting on a leaf.

The highlight of the trip was the encounter with this large rarely encountered 40 mm Chafer Beetle (Lepidiota stigma) on a leaf of a tree.

On another tree was yet another Chafer Beetle.

The last beetle of the trip was a Chafer Beetle (Aprosterna pallide). This beetle used to be very common in Singapore and they frequently fly into homes, attracted by the bright florescent lights commonly used in Singapore homes. But nowadays they seemed to be less commonly encountered.

This trip was fruitful with the finding of one first-time-encountered beetle and a rarely-seen Lepidiota stigma Chafer Beetle.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Night Walk At Lower Pierce Reservoir (12 Sep 2014)

The last time I went to the Lower Pierce Reservoir with a friend was interesting and hence I decided to give the place a try again. While I was happily photographing some of the beetles there, I saw two sets of eye-shine and I thought they were cats. Out of curiosity, I decided to check them out and was surprised to find a pair of Lesser Mousedeer (Tragulus javanicus fulviventer).  Lesser Mousedeer is considered to be endangered in Singapore and encountering them in the wild was a real treat.

The first beetle that I encounter was a common Darkling Beetle.

On the same log was another Darkling Beetle crawling about near by.

The Fungus Weevil (Eucorynus crassicornis) were out in numbers on another log.

Moving further down the trail, I found a Straits Rhododendron (Melastoma malabathricum) plant that was badly damaged by several of this Chafer Beetle (Adoretus compressus).

Moving to a low tree, a tiny first-time-encountered Ladybird Beetle was seen resting on a young leaf.

On fallen tree nearby was a lovely metallic colored Darkling Beetle.

Hiding among the flowers of an Ixora plant, a Chafer Beetle (Apogonia expeditionis) was found feeding on the flowers.

A few of this Darkling Beetle (Ceropria induta) were seen foraging on a dried up log near by.

Moving to an area of low bushes, I was surprised to find a large number of Tiger Beetle (Cicindela aurulenta).

At an area similar to that of the "clearing" in Venus Drive, a number of this Ground Beetle (Catascopus dalbertisi) was seen resting on the side of the tree logs that lined the perimeter of the "clearing".

On the end of the same logs was a small mite infested Weevil Beetle.

Moving deeper into the "clearing", I found the only pair of Fungus Beetle for the night. It was rather strange as I used to find hundreds of them at the same location not too long ago.

On another tree log was a lone 5 mm Darkling Beetle.

Time passes quickly and it was time to leave the place. The last beetle that I managed to find was a lovely orange color Soldier Beetle.

The trip was not as fruitful as I expected but the encounter with the Lesser Mousedeer was more than worth the while for the trip.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Morning Walk At Venus Drive (06 Sep 2014)

I didn't intend to go to Venus Drive for a morning shoot as the plan was to do a night macro session the night before. The night shoot was a washed-out as the location that I went was totally messed up with the new construction of a major road. At the end of the short session as most places were off limit due to the construction, I was only able to find 5 commonly encountered Chafer and Darkling beetles.

After the dismal results of the night before, I decided to go to Venus Drive to do some macro photography. When I was there, a troop of Long-tailed Macaque (Macaca fascicularis) was foraging around the place that I usually do macro photography. Notwithstanding the presence of the macaques, I proceeded to do what I am there for. Incidentally, I found out that it is the monkeys and not the wild boars that are causing the destruction of the rotting logs as I saw them systematically tearing apart the soft part of the rotting logs to look for food.

The first beetle was a Leaf Beetle (Lema cyanella) that seemed to be in abundance at the grassy mound that I usually find Leaf Beetles.

The weather was seemingly warmer than usual, and I noticed that the Leaf Beetles were exceptionally active and skittish. It took me a while before I am able to get close enough to photograph this Leaf Beetle (Lema diversa).

Moving away from the grassy mound after several failed attempts to photograph the orange color Leaf Beetle (Lema rufotestacea), I found this tiny 2 mm skittish Ladybird Beetle (Cryptogonus orbiculus) on a low tree. It was moving constantly and was a challenge to photograph it, especially in the strong wind.

Near to the Ladybird Beetle was a tiny 3 mm first-time-encountered Jewel Beetle drinking water from a wet part of a leaf.

Moving into a shaded area, I found a lovely metallic blue colored Leaf Beetle resting on a leaf.

At some huge Elephant Ear plants, I was thrilled to find this colorful first-time-encountered Checkered Beetle. I have previously seen photographs of this beetle on the internet but I am not sure if it can be found in Singapore, so this encounter confirmed it.

Near to the Checkered Beetle on the same leaf was a Ant-like Flower Beetle (Anthelephila cyanea).

On the underside of a leaf nearby was a favorite white colored Ladybird Beetle.

Under a leaf of a nearby low tree was another tiny Ladybird Beetle (Cryptolaemus montrouzieri).

On the same low tree were several of this colorful fly. I have always wondered what do these fly eat and only until today that I realized that it is an insect eater. Here it was seen eating a Ladybird Beetle (Cryptogonus orbiculus).

Moving into the Venus Drive track, a small 3 mm Weevil Beetle was seen hiding under a leaf.

Moving to the "clearing", a Ladybird Beetle (Henosepilachna implicata) landed right in front of me while I was looking out for beetles.

Near to a fallen log at the clearing was a Fungus Weevil. Fungus Weevil are usually very sensitive to movements and would fly off at the slightest of movements, but this particular one was not as sensitive and allowed me to photograph it to my heart's contend.

On the same log were some of this black and white beetle larvae.

Near to the beetle larvae was this lone Fungus Beetle.

Moving away from the "clearing", a small Fungus Weevil was seen on a leaf near a pile of chopped tree trunks.

On one of the chopped tree trunk was this Tiger Beetle (Cicindela chrysippe) that kept running up and down the length of the tree trunk.

On another pile of chopped trees was this large Jewel Beetle (Belionota prasina).

I was glad to be able to find the large Jewel Beetle as it was quite uncommon to find this beetle. Little did I know that at the later part of the walk, I came across 6 of them at a single spot. They were chasing after each other and would occasionally fly away and later landing back in the same place. Here's a photograph of 4 of them, the other 2 took off when I snapped this photograph.

Coming to a small patch of ferns, a Tumbling Flower Beetle (Glipa malaccana) was found resting on it.

Just like the Jewel Beetle earlier, I was pleasantly surprised later to find a large fern leaf full of the Tumbling Flower Beetles (Glipa malaccana). How many can you see on the leaf?

I counted 10 Tumbling Flower Beetles in the photograph. The number should be larger as I accidentally disturbed it before I took the photograph. It is interesting to find such a big group on one plant.

The next beetle was a little strange. It was a Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus quadriguttatus quadriguttatus) and strangely, it was walking on the pathway which is pretty unlikely for Fungus Beetle to do so.

Hiding under a log was a Fungus Beetle (Episcapha quadrimacula). It remained motionless for me to photograph it.

Moving to the place where I found the interesting beetle with super long antennae, I found a female beetle on a log. From its posture, it looked as if it was laying eggs.

Next to the long antennae beetle were several Fungus Weevils.

On a nearby tree was a first-time-encountered Fungus Weevil. It was motionless and didn't move at all despite my camera flashes.

On the same log was another Fungus Weevil.

While photographing the Fungus Weevil, a Long Horned Beetle (Sclethrus amoenus) landed right in front of me. I only managed to take 3 shots and it flew off as fast as it appeared.

Crawling slowly on the same log as the Fungus Weevils, was a Fungus Beetle.

On another tree nearby was a 3 mm first-time-encountered Fungus Weevil. This beetle is completely black, without any markings or patterns.

At this point, the sky started to rumble and threaten to rain. So I decided to stop and turn back. Just then a rarely encountered Fungus Weevil was found on a side of a tree. It was pretty alert and flew off after a few photographs.

While walking briskly towards the exit, I was elated to find this first-time-encountered Leaf Rolling Beetle. I have been looking for this group of beetles for a while and only managed to find one previously. This surely was the highlight of the entire trip.

The last beetle for the trip was this brightly colored Fungus Beetle (Stenotarsus pardalis). In fact, just a stone's throw away was another of this beetle.

This was a fabulous trip and I am very happy to be able to find a few first-time-encountered beetles, especially the black-and-yellow Checkered Beetle and the Leaf Rolling Beetle. Wonderful!