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Friday, 24 July 2015

Light Trapping At Lim Chu Kang Cemetery (24 Jul 2015)

This Friday trip was special as it would not be my usual find-and-photograph trip. Instead I set up a light trap to attract beetles to photograph. I only used the light trap when I went to Malaysia but have tested it many years ago in Singapore. The result of the test was very bad as expected and hence I have never tried this in Singapore ever since.

 The reason why I am doing this again was because of a request by Reynard, a beetle-loving teenager whom I met online. He has not experienced light trapping before and was curious how to set up a light trap. Despite knowing how it would turn out, I agreed to show Reynard my light trap. My set up has gone through many modifications and has been designed to be portable, but at the expense of stability.

The place that we have chosen to set up the light trap was Lim Chu Kang Cemetery as we were aware that Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (Oryctes rhinoceros) can be found in the area. I have been wanting to photograph it and hence the choice of the location. The Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle used to be very common in Singapore but the number decreased over the years as Singapore became more developed.

Minutes upon turning on the light, many tiny insects started to land onto the white sheet behind the light. In all honesty I am not hopeful to find any beetles and was happy to find this tiny 2 mm brownish beetle on the white sheet. 

On another part of the white sheet was a 2 mm first-time-encountered beetle which I am not sure of its family. The shape of the beetle made me think that it could be a Ground Beetle, but I cannot be sure.

Another first-time-encountered Fungus Beetle was found at the lower part of the white sheet.

Another first-time-encountered beetle was this 2 mm beetle. I am not sure of its family as it looked like a cross between a Chafer Beetle and Dung Beetle.

The biggest beetle attracted by the light trap was a 8 mm Leaf Beetle (Attica cyanea).

While we waited for more beetles to turn up, we were exploring the surroundings but found nothing of interests. When I went back to the light trap to check, I was thrilled to find several of this first-time-encountered Rove Beetle (Paederus riparus). I read about this Rove Beetle and how it can cause serious skin irritations, but have never encounter it until now. I am so glad to be able to photograph it during this trip.

Next to Attica cyanea Leaf Beetle was another first-time-encountered Rove Beetle, about 3 mm in length.

After about 1.5 hours after the light trap was set up, we decided to call it a day given the lousy but not unexpected result. Nevertheless, this is an interesting trip with several first-time-encountered beetles. The trip also brought back fond memories of my light trapping trips in Malaysia.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Morning Walk At Dairy Farm Nature Park (17 Jul 2015)

With the not so fruitful trip the night before, I decided to go to the Dairy Farm Nature Park for a walk since it is a public holiday. The weather was dry but when I reached the place, my heart sank as the place looked like it just rained with the vegetation dripping with water. Seemed like it will be one of those not so fruitful trips.

The walk from the car park to the trail to ZhengHua Park see zero actions and it was only after walking to the end of the trail that I found this small Darkling Beetle (Strongylium tenuipes) on the side of a small tree.

Near to the Darkling Beetle was this Lizard Beetle (Languria mozardi) warming up on a leaf.

No more actions until I entered the Wallace Trail which is adjacent to the trail leading to ZhengHua Park. The first beetle that I encountered on Wallace Trail was this small 5 mm Net-winged Beetle (Xylobanellus erythropterus). I always like to photograph this beetle because of its bright red color which contrasted nicely with the fresh green leaf.

One of the interesting thing about Dairy Farm Nature Park is that you can find a number of different Tiger Beetles. Possibly due to the wet weather, I only managed to find this 5.5 legged Tiger Beetle (Therates dimidiatus) during this trip.

Moving on for another 10 minutes without finding any beetle, this beetle larvae on the side of a tree was a welcomed sight.

I slowed down my pace further to hopefully find more beetles. Thankfully, I was able to find this 3 mm beetle which usually come out after rain.

Nearby was another Net-winged Beetle (Calopteron rubricolle).

Near to the Net-winged Beetle was a dying palm tree and on it was this lovely orange color Fungus Beetle.

More walking without finding any beetle, so I was not about to give this small 1.5 mm Leaf Beetle a miss when an ant came by to check out the beetle.

It was almost at the end of the Wallace Trail that I came across this all time favorite Fungus Beetle (Stenotarsus pardalis) resting on a leaf.

It was time to call it a day and as I was walking towards the exit, this first-time-encountered Pintail Beetle was found resting motionlessly on leaf, looking very much like an insect poop at a casual glance.

The last beetle was a Chafer Beetle (Maladera castanea) found just meters from the car park.

I am thankful that even though the trip was a little disappointing, I am still able to find a first-time-encountered Pintail Beetle.

Night Walk At Punggol Forest (16 Jul 2015)

I read sometimes ago in a macro photography blog about a place called Punggol Forest, but I never got down to take a look at the place. As it is the eve of a public holiday in Singapore, my friend and I decided to check out the place.

 I did some homework online to see if the place is worth the while visiting. After some reading, it seemed to be a worthwhile place to visit. Although we reached the place not long after sunset, the place was very dark. As we moved towards the "entrance" where a path would lead us to the Punggol Forest, our hearts sank as the place seemed to be undergoing construction. Not wanting to just give up without checking the place, we decided to continue.

The path is the typical mud track but with a rather wide width of about 4-5 meters. Along the both side of the path are 2-3 meter tall sugarcane-like grass, with very few other vegetation. My friend was so thrilled when we encountered a Painted Bronzeback snake (Dendrelaphis pictus) among the tall grass.

Departing from my usual practice of only include one interesting photograph of the place in my blog, here's a not so common sight of a Net-casting Spider. This is an interesting spider as it uses a web-net to catch its prey. The white web at the tip of the spider's legs is a fold-up net that the spider will stretch open when it prey pass by below it.

The first beetle that we encountered was a pair of Chafer Beetle (Apogonia expeditionis).

Near to the Chafer Beetle was a pleasant surprise - Sweet Potato Weevil (Cylas formicarius). There were several of them near to each other.

As we walked closer to the entrance of the trail, another Chafer Beetle (Aprosternia pallide) was found on a blade of the tall sugarcane-like grass.

The trip looked promising since within a short distance of 30 meters or so we managed to find several beetles, including this skittish Tortoiseshell Beetle (Laccoptera nepalensis) which flew off after one shot. Pardon the badly taken photograph, included here as a record of the trip.

A few meters from the Tortoiseshell Beetle was another commonly encountered Chafer Beetle (Adoretus compressus).

Directly opposite to the Adoretus compressus Chafer Beetle was another Chafer Beetle (Maladera castanea)

Good things don't last and after encountering the Maladera castanea Chafer Beetle, we walked for a good 30 minutes or more without finding any other beetles. It was only when I looked under a patch of Morning Glory leaves that I found this first-time-encountered Tortoiseshell Beetle. This beetle is whitish in color, which is different from the Aspidomorpha miliaris Tortoiseshell Beetle, which is entirely yellow. I guessed that it could be a color variant of the Aspidomorpha miliaris Tortoiseshell Beetle.

It was another long walk before I encountered this pair of mating Tortoiseshell Beetle (Cassida circumdata). This is one of my favorite beetles as I particularly like the bright metallic coloration of the beetle.

Next to the Tortoiseshell Beetle was a first-time-encountered Leaf Beetle. Initially I thought that it is the Lema diversa Leaf Beetle but as I examined it closer, it turned out to be different in terms of the color of its elytra (which is black as compared to the metallic blue color of the Lema diversa Leaf Beetle). At the same time, the two front legs are orange in color.

Time passes by quickly and it was time to turn back. On the way towards where we have started, I found this lovely Click Beetle (Pectorcera babai).

The last beetle for the trip was this small bronze color Leaf Beetle.

The trip was not fantastically fruitful given  the shortness of time and also the construction work that is going on at the place. Just as my friend said, even though there were beetles found, I will not be in a hurry to go back to the place.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Short Walk At Mount Faber (10 Jul 2015)

I had a dinner appointment near to Mount Faber and so I decided to take a short walk around the place. It was almost two years since I last been to the place and so I was rather hopeful, given the surprisingly fruitful trip previously (Night Walk At Mount Faber Park (16 Aug 2013)).

The first beetle was sadly a Chafer Beetle which has fallen prey to a group of ants. It was found at the base of a pillar.

The walkway was designed to have creeper vines creeping from the base of the pillars that support the covering of the walkway, thus forming a natural looking overhead cover. On one of the vines was this small 5 mm Darkling Beetle.

As I was walking along the walkway, I only found a handful of bugs near to the lights that lit the walkway. This is very different from the last time I was there, where I find many bugs and beetles on the pillars. I noticed that the pillars were painted over with a glossy paint, unlike the last time where the pillars are painted with matted paint.

When I reach one end of the walkway without finding any beetles, I was very glad to find a Fungus Beetle resting on a leaf. It looked like the Eumorphus quadriguttatus quadriguttatus Fungus Beetle but the dots were creamy white instead of the usual bright yellow. Not sure if it is a different type of beetle or a variant of Eumorphus quadriguttatus quadriguttatus Fungus Beetle. This is the second time that I encountered this beetle.

I noticed that there are three resting shelters where the pillars are still with the matte paint. And interestingly, there were a few beetles found clinging to the side of the pillars. I may be right that the reason for not seeing any beetles on the walkway pillars could possibly be due to the glossy paint. Here's one of the beetles that are slightly nearer to the ground (about 3 meters up). It is a Chafer Beetle.

On the same pillar was a tiny 1 mm first-time-encountered beetle. Not sure what type of beetle it is but I would think that it is a Darkling Beetle.

On the underside of the creeper vine cover was a Chafer Beetle (Aprosterna palide).

Walking further down the walkway, I was very disappointed as all the pillars that I past did not have any beetle, unlike previously. Passing a vine branch, I was glad to find this 3 mm Darkling Beetle.

Coming to another shelter, I was elated to find this round 5 mm Darkling Beetle. Initially, I thought it was a Ladybird Beetle but upon closer look, it turned out to be a Darkling Beetle.

Sadly the walkway was a total letdown with zero beetle find except at the shelters. So I decided to call it a day and make my way to the MRT station via the Marang Trail. There was not much action along the trail and I was glad to find this small 3mm Darkling Beetle on a dead tree branch.

It was almost near the end of the Marang Trail before I find another 5 mm Darkling Beetle on the side of a tree.

The last beetle for the trip was a Tiger Beetle (Cicindela aurulenta).

This trip was a total disappointment especially with the anticipation of finding interesting beetles along the walkway, as experienced during the previous trip to the place. I guessed that it will be a while before I would return to the place.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Quick Walk At Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (29 Jun 2015)

I happened to be free and decided to go to the area surrounding the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve for a night macro photography session. As the park was closed for restoration, the only option was to skirt around the park. My best friend Cameron and her daughter Samantha were keen to join me on the trip and so I invited them along.

Just as a means to "entertain" Cameron and Samantha, I intentionally brought along an Ultra-Violet flashlight to show them the effects of UV light on critters such as scorpion. This turned out to be pretty fun for the trip.

The first beetle was a Tiger Beetle (Cicindela aurulenta) resting on a fish-tail palm leaf.

As we have not too much time for the walk because of a late start, the pace of moving was much faster than usual. Nevertheless, I managed to spot this brown colored Leaf Beetle resting on a branch.

Near to the Leaf Beetle was a Chafer Beetle (Apogonia expeditionis) having a feast with a new leaf.

Like at Venus Drive, there were a number of fallen trees along the path. On one of the fallen trees that lined the side of the path was a small 3 mm beetle which looked like a Darkling Beetle.

Moving further, I was surprised to find this Chafer Beetle (Maladera orientalis) resting on a palm leaf. This is the first time that I come across a Chafer Beetle on a palm leaf.

I was a little distracted as there was a hidden agenda - to look out for durian trees and hopefully find some for the night. Although distracted, I still managed to find this small 3 mm Darkling Beetle on a small tree.

While I was photographing the Darkling Beetle, Samantha called out to me that she found a beetle. I was glad that she spotted this as this is one of my favorite beetles.

As we passed by a spot where I usually find the Lema quadripunctata Leaf Beetle, I started looking for them. Instead finding the Lema quadripunctata Leaf Beetle, I found this lone Leaf Beetle that looked very much like the Lema quadripunctata Leaf Beetle but without the spots.

On a fallen log near to the Leaf Beetle was a Darkling Beetle resting on it.

On the same tree log was this 5 mm Darkling Beetle.

Just about then, we started to smell the distinct fragrance of the durian fruit. When one smell the fragrance of durian, it is very likely that there are fallen durians around the area. While searching for the durians, I came across an old durian husk that have critters crawling on it. As I took a closer look at it, I was surprised to find a Ground Beetle (Pentagonica flavipes) on it.

On the same durian husk was this lovely first-time-encountered Rove Beetle.

Next to the Rove Beetle was another smaller beetle.

Just then the focus of the trip was on finding durians on the ground as durians will automatically drop from the tree when they are ripe. At the end of the search around the spot, we managed to find 7 durians. With the durians in hands, I was not able to take any more photographs and thus ended the short but fruitful trip.

The trip was rather short but I am glad to still be able to find the first-time-encountered Rove Beetle. This was an unexpected trip and it turned out to be fun and rewarding.