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Saturday, 26 September 2015

Night Walk At MacRitchie Reservoir (25 Sep 2015)

I happened to make another flash diffuser during the week and hence I was rather eager to try it out. The weather was hazy to the massive slash-and-burn operations in Indonesia.  I was glad that the haze condition has improved tremendously compared to a day before which was in the unhealthy range.

I decided to go to the MacRitchie Reservoir as it was one of the convenient place for me. The
place was rather dry due to the haze and I am not expecting to find many beetles on this trip. Here's a photograph of a large 90 mm moth called Noctuid Moth (Erebus ephesperis).

The first beetle of the trip was a Chafer Beetle (Adoretus compressus) resting on a Singapore Rhododendron (Melastoma malabathricum) plant . There was a number of them found on the same plant.

Further down was a metallic colored Leaf Beetle resting on a Hairy Clidemia (Clidemia hirta).

Moving to another patch of Singapore Rhododendron plant (Melastoma malabathricum) plants, a commonly encountered Chafer Beetle (Apogonia expeditionis) was feasting on a seed pod.

There were not many critters encountered and it was only after 10 minutes of walking before I encountered this tiny 1 mm Fungus Beetle on a tree.

Coming to a wood pile,  I was glad to find this Fungus Weevil (Eucorynus crassicornis).

On the same wood pile was a first-time-encountered beetle. Not sure if it is a Click Beetle or False Click Beetle.

Further down the trail was a large 5 mm Darkling Beetle hiding in a crevice of a tree.

Although there were a number of fallen trees and wood piles at the place, they were mostly dry like bones. I was surprised to find one fallen tree trunk that was not as dry and on it was a Fungus Beetle (Anthribus wallacei). It should be a female specimen given its short antennae.

On a small tree near by, I was thrilled to find a Click Beetle emerging from a small hole in a tree trunk.

On the same tree trunk was a small 1 mm Darkling Beetle. This is the smallest size for this type of Darkling Beetle that I have encountered.

More walking without finding any beetles until I came to a mid-sized tree where this Darkling Beetle (Promethis valga) was resting.

Interestingly, there were several other beetles found on the same tree. This could possibly be a sign that this tree is sick. This Fungus Weevil was found high up the tree.

Another Fungus Weevil found on the tree.

A large 10 mm Darkling Beetle found on the same tree.

The highlight of the trip was the encounter with this first-time-encountered Weevil Beetle, just before I call it a day.

The last beetle for the trip was a Darkling Beetle found on a rotten log.

The number of beetles found on this trip was not unexpected given the hazy condition for the past few days. I am glad that despite the poor condition, there were still two first-time-encountered beetles found.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Night Walk At Venus Drive (18 Sep 2015)

The haze situation in Singapore did not improve much but thanks to the occasional showers that we get this week, the haze did not worsen further. With due consideration of the haze, I decided to go to Venus Drive for my weekly night macro photography session.

Going to Venus Drive would give a higher chance of finding beetles despite the dry and hazy weather. Here's a shot of a frequently encountered critter at Venus Drive - a Singapore Tarantula (Phlogiellus inermis).

The first beetle for the trip was a small 3 mm Fungus Beetle found on a palm tree that lined the car park at Venus Drive Park.

The night seemed to be for the Darkling Beetles as there were many of this 8 mm Darkling Beetle on many of the tree alongside the car park.

On another tree was a small 3 mm Darkling Beetle.

To my surprise, this Fungus Beetle was found on a blade of grass. Fungus Beetles are usually found on rotten wood where fungus mushrooms were found, so finding a Fungus Beetle on grass is considered special.

Moving into a stretch of thick grass undergrowth, I was thrilled to find this 10 mm Weevil Beetle sleeping on a leaf.

On a low tree nearby was a lone Chafer Beetle (Apogonia expeditionis).

Coming to the place where there are several large Elephant Ear plants, I was glad to be able to find a Ant-like Flower Beetle (Anthelephila cyanea) resting under one of the leaves.

A 5 mm Darkling Beetle was found on a fallen tree near to the Ant-like Beetle.

On a woodpile nearby were several of this 10 mm Darkling Beetle.

Centimeters from the Darkling Beetle was a number of this beetle larvae.

On the same tree log was this hyperactive Fungus Weevil (Eucorynus crassicornis).

Although the place was not as dry as expected, the number of beetles encountered was much lesser than before the haze started. On a low bush, I was glad to be able to find several of this bronze colored Chafer Beetle.

Near to the Chafer Beetle was a 2 mm Darkling Beetle on a small tree.

On the same tree was a 1 mm Fungus Beetle. This tiny beetle seemed to have some battle scars on its elytra.

Moving on to another woodpile that lined the foot path, a lone Fungus Beetle (Episcapha quadrimacula) was found on it.

On the same woodpile was a pair of mating Darkling Beetle (Ceropria induta).

As mentioned in my earlier blog, the number of woodpiles at Venus Drive has increased a fair bit. On another woodpile nearby was a Ground Beetle (Catascopus dalbertisi). This is one of my favorite Ground Beetle because of its lovely metallic coloration.

On the same fallen tree in the woodpile was a red-legged Darkling Beetle. 

Moving further to a small patch of Singpore Rhododendron (Melastoma malabathricum), there were several Leaf Beetles (Argopus brevis).

Next to the Leaf Beetle was a small fern plant and on it were several Tiger Beetle (Cicindela aurulenta).

Time passes quickly and it was about time for me to turn back, just then I found a Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus quadriguttatus quadriguttatus).

On the same fallen tree was another type of beetle larvae.

On my way out, I encountered a group of night macro photographers who just started their trip for the night. At the place where I met the photographers, I found a pair of mating Click Beetle (Xanthopenthes schawalleri)

The last beetle of the trip was a pleasant surprise as I have not encounter this type of beetle for a while. It was a Chafer Beetle (Aprosterna pallide) and it used to fly into homes in the night. I remember that this was the type of beetle that I used to play with when I was just a kid. I would tie a sewing thread to its hind leg and it fly. It was very much like "walking" the beetle.

The trip was not exceptionally fruitful but it was a good test for my double-diffuser setup for my camera. I am glad that the double-diffuser setup work pretty well in reducing flash hot spots on the beetles, but more work would still need to be done as I was not able to get rid of the reflections of the camera lens on shiny beetles.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Morning Walk At Venus Drive (11 Sep 2015)

Today is Polling Day for the nation of Singapore and it is a Public Holiday. My original intention was to have a night walk the night before, but thanks to our neighbor country Indonesia, the pollutant index was about 198 psi the night before. It was very unhealthy to be outside with the pollutant index being so high, hence the trip was postponed to the next day.

After doing my duty as a Singaporean, I decided to go to Venus Drive for a short walk. The weather for the past week has been dry, so the chances of finding beetles is very much lesser. Nevertheless, I proceeded with the trip because I was also very eager to test out my double-diffuser set-up after learning about double-diffuser used in photo studio.

The first interesting sight at the place was a small flock of Scaly-breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata) foraging among some tall grass patch. It was so refreshing to see them hoping from one grass stalk to another.

The first beetle for the trip was a Ant-like Beetle (Anthelephila cyanea) resting under a rubber tree leaf. It was quite a challenge photographing this beetle as the wind was blowing very strongly and continuously.

The next beetle was a small 2 mm Leaf Beetle (Eucyclomera nigricollis), munching away on a leaf.

It was not a very good start as it was only about another 30 mins before I encountered this Fungus Beetle (Episcapha quadrimacula) feasting on a fungus patch on a fallen log.

The highlight of the trip was the encounter with this Long Horned Beetle (Oberea clara). It has been a while I last encountered this beetle.

Near to the Long Horned Beetle was a small 3 mm Pintail Beetle.

Walking further down the path, a Ladybird Beetle larvae  was found resting on a leaf.

After another 10 minutes of walking, another Pintail Beetle (Mordellistena cervicalis) was found resting motionlessly on a leaf in the shade.

More walking without finding any other beetles, until this Tumbling Flower Beetle (Glipa malaccana) suddenly landed on a leaf in front of me.

Near to the Tumbling Flower Beetle was one of my favorite beetles - a white Ladybird Beetle. This particular specimen is the whitest among all the white Ladybird Beetles that I have encountered so far.

More walking without finding any beetles until this first-time-encountered 2 mm Leaf Beetle, resting on a leaf. It was super alert and flew off after just one photograph.

Further down the path was another first-time-encountered beetle. Not sure what family it belongs to, but it looked like a Soldier Beetle.

After some more walking, I was pleasantly surprised to find a Pintail Beetle (Mordella fasciata) resting on a leaf. It has been a while I last photographed this lovely beetle.

It was about two hundred meters from the exit that I found this colorful Leaf Beetle (Arcastes biplagiata) on a badly eaten leaf.

About fifty meters from the Arcastes biplagiata Leaf Beetle was another lovely metallic blue Leaf Beetle.

The last beetle for the trip was also Leaf Beetle (Altica cyancea) resting on a leaf by the edge of a stream. It was a challenge photographing this beetle due to the fear that I might fall into the stream.

Although the trip was not as fruitful as previous trips at Venus Drive, it was considerably good given the dry weather. I am also happy with the results of my double-diffuser set-up which reduces the flash hotspot significantly.