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Thursday, 19 February 2015

Afternoon Walk At Venus Drive (18 Feb 2015)

It was the eve of the Chinese New Year holiday in Singapore and many of us only need to work for half a day. I decided to go to Venus Drive in the afternoon even though I am aware that the chances of finding beetles in the hot afternoon is very low, as I will be busy with all the Chinese New Year activities for the next few days.

Besides photographing beetles for this trip, I am also wanting to test a modification to my new DIY flash diffuser as mentioned in my previous post Night Walk At Lower Peirce Reservoir (13 Feb 2015). The modification was mainly on the replacement of the large foam second diffuser with a foldable cloth diffuser to make the setup less bulky looking.

Besides the beetles found during the trip, I also came across this interesting looking spider which proofed to be a good test of the new diffuser.

The first beetle encountered was a pair of Ant-like Flower Beetle (Anthelephila cyanea) found under a large elephant ear leaf.

Surprisingly the next beetle was found under the hot sun in an open grass patch. This Leaf Beetle looked very much like the  Lema rufotestacea Leaf Beetle but differs in its much darker coloration. Not sure if it is a different type of beetle.

As expected there were hardly any critters in sight, only the occasional few grasshoppers and butterflies. This Darkling Beetle (Ceropria superba)  didn't come easy as I have to look under a few dried up logs before finding several of them. This was the first time that I ever look under logs to find beetles.

Moving to the clearing, I am glad to still be able to find a Tumbling Flower Beetle (Glipa malaccana) resting on a leaf.

Coming to a fallen log with some ball-like fungus mushroom growing it, I am happy to find a first-time-encountered 2 mm golden-brown beetle moving busily on one of the mushrooms.

Not much actions along the path, so this dead beetle larvae became my focus for a while. This larvae seemed to have been preyed upon, given the hole found on it. Victim of an assassin bug or wasp?

It was about half way of the trail before I found this skittish first-time-encountered Pintail Beetle.

Coming to the spot where the long antennae Fungus Weevil, I was delighted to find this bright red Net-winged Beetle flying around the place.

It was only after a while of walking before I found this 5 mm Darkling Beetle hiding in a shallow depression in a tree bark.

A stone's throw away was a Fungus Weevil resting in a shaded part of a tree.

A few centimeters from the Fungus Weevil was another Fungus Weevil.

After the Fungus Weevil it was another long walk before finding this tiny 2 mm Leaf Beetle.

Just as I was photographing the tiny Leaf Beetle, a flash of orange appeared at the of my eyes and I found this Leaf Beetle under a leaf.

Moving deeper into the path, I was surprised to find this small 8 mm Long Horned Beetle. It looked similar to the Thranius binaculatus Long Horned Beetle but is much smaller in size. This could possibly be a different type of Long Horned Beetle.

The highlight of the trip was the encounter of this first-time-encountered Long Horned Beetle (Xoanodera trigona). I have been looking out for this Long Horned Beetle and am so glad to find it on this trip.

It was about 200 meters from the exit when I found this Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus mirus).

I am rather surprised that this is the only specimen of this type of beetle that I found as they used tp be very common at Venus Drive.

It was almost at the end of the trip that I found this Darkling Beetle at the base of a tree.

The last beetle was a lovely orange colored beetle. This is the second time I encounter this beetle, the first time was during the trip at Yio Chu Kang Night Walk At Yio Chu Kang Road (09 Jan 2015)

The trip was surprisingly fruitful even though it was a hot afternoon. Great to be able to find some first-time-encountered beetles.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Night Walk At Lower Peirce Reservoir (13 Feb 2015)

I was particularly looking forward to this trip as I was wanting to do a field test on my DIY flash diffuser. Like most full flash macro-photographers, I have been trying to reduce flash hot spots on my beetle subjects and have been experimenting with different type of DIY diffuser designs and materials. This is my latest attempt and the test results at home seemed promising.

As the main purpose of the trip was to test the DIY diffuser, so I decided to go to Lower Peirce Reservoir as it is a convenient place for me to visit and at the same time, it has a high chance of finding beetles for my testing.

As I have expected, the place was very dry but there are still a lot of lush green grass patches at the place. Fortunately there were still a number of critters among the grass patches.  Here's a brown colored Praying Mantis found among the grass patches.

The first beetle was a 3-4 mm Fungus Weevil on a tree trunk. I was surprised to see many of this type of Fungus Weevil on different trees.

Given the relatively dry weather this week, I was mentally expecting a not-so-fruit session and I am not surprised that it was only after 15 min before I found a few of this Tiger Beetle (Cicindela aurulenta).

Coming to some low bushes, I am glad to find several Chafer Beetles (Adoretus compressus).

On a tree nearby was a lone 5 mm Darkling Beetle.

As mentioned earlier, there were several lush green patches at the place. At one of the grass patches, I was surprised to find a Fungus Weevil (Eucorynus crassicornis) on a leaf.

On a fallen log was a Darkling Beetle (Ceropria induta).

Near to the Darkling Beetle was a Fungus Beetle (Episcapha quadrimacula).

Moving on, I came to another lush grass patch. I was not expecting to find any beetles at the grass patch and was pleasantly surprised to find a few of this Leaf Beetle (Lema rufotestacea).

Near to the Leaf Beetle was a 10 mm Darkling Beetle on a blade of grass.

Further down the path were several fallen logs that were used as a barrier to an area of low trees. On one of the logs was this Darkling Beetle.

At the base of a tree was a Checkered Beetle. I am glad to be able to encounter this beetle as it has been a while that I encountered any Checkered Beetle.

On the same the tree was a 1 mm beetle.

Coming to some low trees, several of this Chafer Beetle (Apogonia expeditionis) were seen munching on the tree's leaves.

On a tree nearby was a hyperactive Click Beetle that was constantly moving up and down the tree trunk.

Not too far from the Click Beetle on the same tree was a 3 mm Darkling Beetle.

On another tree was this hyperactive 4 mm beetle which proved to be a challenge to photograph.

Time went past quickly and it was almost time to go. Just then, a Darkling Beetle was found on a low tree.

Near to the Darkling Beetle was another small 8mm beetle. Not sure if this is a Darkling Beetle.

The last beetle for the trip was this lovely Ground Beetle (Catascopus dalbertisi).

Although the trip was not very fruitful, I am happy that the DIY flash diffuser worked well. The flash hot spots was greatly reduced, which in turn brought out the beauty of the beetles, just like the Ground Beetle above.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Night Walk At Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (06 Feb 2015)

It's been more than a month since I visited the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, so I thought it would be good to go for a walk there. The walk was limited to the fringe of the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve as the place was closed for restoration since last year. Although it rained heavily in the morning, the place still looked very dry and "lifeless". The dry phase of the North-East Monsoon may have taken its toll on the place as the number of critters seemed to have dropped significantly.

Interestingly, there were many Giant Forest Ant (Camponotus gigas) encountered, and for this trip I saw the biggest one so far on my trips - a good 40 mm Giant Forest Ant was seen up on a tree trunk. Here's a smaller one (~25 mm)on a leaf nearby .

The first beetle of the trip was a lovely Fungus Beetle (Stenotarsus nobilis nobilis) resting on a leaf of a wild ginger plant. Its been a while that I last encounter this particular type of Fungus Beetle.

The place looked rather "lifeless" as not many insects were found, mostly grasshoppers and small moths. It was only walking for about 10 minutes before I found this small 5 mm Darkling Beetle on a dried up log.

How I usually find beetles during my night walks was to check the trunk of trees. Usually I would find Darkling Beetles, Fungus Weevil Beetles and the occasional Click Beetles. For this trip, I encountered many of this tiny 2 mm beetle, not sure if it is a Darkling Beetle or Fungus Beetle.

As I journeyed on, it seemed like the trip will not be a fruitful one. After walking for a while, I finally found this small 4 mm Leaf Beetle which kept moving around the plant, making it a challenge photographing it.

I finally came to a long stretch of low plants that I would usually find Leaf Beetles. True enough I found a Leaf Beetle on a badly eaten leaf, albeit it was the only Leaf Beetle found at the stretch of low plants.

Moving further down, a common Chafer Beetle (Apogonia expeditionis) was found at the tip of a low plant.

There were several fallen trees along the side of the path but majority of them were dry and lifeless, well at least I didn't see any movements or found any beetles or other critters on them. I was so glad to be able to find this  10 mm Darkling Beetle on one of the fallen tree, even though this type of Darkling Beetle is commonly found on fallen logs.

It was at the mid point of my walk that I came across this lone Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus quadriguttatus quadriguttatus). This is the only yellow spotted Fungus Beetle that I came across for this trip.

Coming to a small patch of ginger plant, I was glad that the resident Leaf Beetle (Lema quadripunctata) were still there, despite the bad condition of the ginger plants.

Near to the ginger patch was a fallen tree that has a surprisingly lush mushroom bloom, and on it was a Pleasing Fungus Beetle. Notice the Pleasing Fungus Beetle at the lower left of the photograph.

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

After walking for a while without finding any beetles, this different Pleasing Fungus Beetle was a welcomed sight.

I am almost at the end of the path when this small 3 mm Ground Beetle was found on a chewed up tree log.

Just as I was lamenting that there are so few beetles found, a Long Horned Beetle (Aeolesthes holosericeus) was found resting on a leaf.

It was just about 50 meters before I reached the end, I was surprised to find a Tiger Beetle (Cicindela aurulenta) resting on a leaf.

It was only meters to the end where I found a fallen log with a number of whitish fungus mushrooms were growing. On one of the mushrooms was this tiny 2 mm first-time-encountered Rove Beetle.

Near to the Rove Beetle was a pair of Fungus Beetle (Triplax rufipes).

The types of beetle found on this trip was pretty much the same as my previous trip, and with only one first-time-encountered beetle found. The result of the trip was not as bad as I would imagine, especially given that we are in the dry phase of the North-East monsoon, and also I am only just going along the perimeter of the place.