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Sunday, 18 December 2016

Night Walk At Dairy Farm Nature Park (16 Dec 2016)

It was deciding between Venus Drive and Dairy Farm Nature Park and my friend HW and I decided to give the latter a try since the repair of a trail there was completed not too long ago. Here's a photograph of a stick insect encountered during the trip.

The first beetle for the trip was a 5 mm Darkling Beetle encountered en route to the Dairy Farm Nature Park from the Hill View MRT station, which is about 15 min walk (along the main road) to the entrance of the park.

Near to the Darkling Beetle was another small 5 mm Darkling Beetle (Strongylium tenuipes) on a small tree.

Further down the track, a Chafer Beetle (Apogonia expeditionis) was found feasting on a ginger plant leaf.

Near to the Chafer Beetle was one of my favorite Leaf Beetle (Hemipyxis semiviridis) on a low bush.

Near by at the base of a rotting tree stump was this Pleasing Fungus Beetle (Encaustes praenobilis).

A stone's throw from the entrance of Dairy Farm Nature Park was this Long Horned Beetle (Epepeotes luscus). The beetle was rather alert and promptly flew off after a few photographs.

Meters from the entrance to the Wallace Trail was this 5 mm Chafer Beetle (Maladera orientalis).

The first beetle when we entered the Wallace Trail was this Ground Beetle (Onypterygia longispinis) on a small tree. I am surprised that this beetle remained very still for me to photograph as this type of beetle is very skittish and would usually fly away after one or two photographs.

Near to the Ground Beetle was a tiny 1 mm Fungus Beetle, which looked black to the naked eyes.

I was pretty surprised that the number of beetles encountered so far was not as expected. This could probably due to the surprisingly dry weather for the past two days. Coming to a fallen log, I found this active 10 mm Darkling Beetle on it.

More walking without finding any beetles, so I was rather glad to find this small roundish 5 mm Darkling Beetle on a small tree.

Near to the Darkling Beetle was another tiny 1 mm Darkling Beetle.

When we reached the Wallace Education Center, it was about time for us to turn back, just then we came across a low tree with blooms that attracted a number of Chafer Beetles (Aprosterna pallide).

Near to the Wallace Education Center were some Orchid plants and we were pleasantly surprised to find a Yellow Orchid Beetle (Lema pectoralis) on an Orchid flower.

Next to the Yellow Orchid Beetle was a small 5 mm Darkling Beetle at the base of a palm tree.

It was on our way towards the exit that HW chanced upon a large dead tree where several Darkling Beetles were found.

There were many large bracket fungus mushroom on the dead tree and among the mushroom was a pair of Pleasing Fungus Beetle (Encaustes pranenoblis).

This trip was not as fruitful as expected but nevertheless I am glad to be able to photograph the Yellow Orchid Beetle.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Night Walk At Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (02 Dec 2016)

The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve was re-opened not too long ago, so my friend HW and I decided to check the place out for this week's walk. We were glad that it didn't rain in the day even though it rained heavily a day before. For those who are not aware, rain during the monsoon season can sometimes last for two to three days with short intermittently stops.

HW found this interesting cicada emerged not too long ago. I particularly like the color of the wings reflecting the camera flash.

The first beetle for the trip was a 4 mm first-time-encountered Fungus Beetle found on a fallen log.

There was not much action despite walking for a while until this lovely Chafer Beetle (Maladera castanea) found on a leaf of a low bush.

There are many big trees that lined that sides of the trail but interestingly I didn't find any beetles or insects on them until I came to a medium size tree with several 2 mm Darkling Beetles on it. Noticed that even at this tiny size, the beetles are still playing host to really tiny mites.

More walking without finding any beetles - not even on the many fallen logs along the way. I was so glad to find this commonly encountered Darkling Beetle on a dead log.

A few trees away from the Darkling Beetle was a hyper-active small 4 mm first-time-encountered Weevil Beetle.

Just a tree away was another 4 mm first-time-encountered Weevil Beetle.

While photographing the Weevil Beetle, I felt something hit my camera diffuser. I looked around and found this Tiger Beetle on a tree branch just centimeters from me. I guessed that my camera focusing light could have attracted this Tiger Beetle (Therates dimidiatus dejeanii) to me. I am particularly pleased to be able to photograph this beetle as it is rarely encountered during the night.

At the 'turn-back' point for the trip, this black Chafer Beetle was found under a leaf. At first glance it looked like the smaller Apogonia expeditionis Chafer Beetle, but differs in that it is much bigger and broader.

On a tree nearby was a small 2 mm Darkling Beetle.

After some walking without finding any beetles, I was glad to find this small 4 mm Ground Beetle (Pentagonia flavipes).

More walking without finding any beetle until we came to a fallen tree where a pair of this 4 mm Darkling Beetle were found on one of the tree branches.

Near to the roundish Darkling Beetle was this large 15 mm Darkling Beetle.

Coming to a large fallen tree, I found this 15 mm Click Beetle resting motionlessly on it. I was wondering if the beetle was dead and found the answer when I was processing the photograph for this blog. The reason why the beetle was motionless was because it was in the process of laying eggs in the crevices of the fallen tree.

On an older fallen log nearby was a Darkling Beetle (Ceropria induta) with several tiny mites on it.

The highlight for the trip was the finding of this first-time-encountered Darkling Beetle. It looked like the normal black Darkling Beetle until it was photographed (with flash) that the purple and bronze coloration appeared.

The last beetle for the trip was a small 3 mm Darkling Beetle found on a small tree at the end of the trail.

Although the number of beetles encountered during the trip was not particularly large compared to our favorite location Venus Drive, I am happy to be able to find 4 first-time-encountered beetles. I believe that the small number of beetles found is probably due to the high human traffic on the trail during the day. Regardless, it was a fruitful trip.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Night Walk At Mount Faber Park (18 Nov 2016)

It has been more than a year that I last been to the Mount Faber Park and so I decided to go there for a walk. Here's a photograph of the city area taken from the top of Mount Faber Park.

The first beetle was a bronze-colored Leaf Beetle found hiding under some leaf cover.

It could be the time of the day (slightly before 7 pm) that all the beetles I encountered at the beginning were pretty skittish. Here's a photograph of a 2 mm Jewel Beetle which promptly flew off after one photograph of it.

Near to the Jewel Beetle was a 5 mm Leaf Beetle which was also very alert like the Jewel Beetle.

There was not much action until the sky became totally dark. On the way to The Peak, I found this 5 mm Darkling Beetle at the base of a small tree.

Moving further along the road leading to The Peak, I was surprised to find this large 25 mm Chafer Beetle (Phyllophaga marginalis). This type of beetle is quite a pest as they make quick work of their food plant because of their size.

It was also about this moment that an unfortunate incident happened.

While I was photographing this beetle at the edge of a forested area, I was approached by an Indian security guard. I was rather puzzled as to why I was approached as the place where I was photographing was no where near to any commercial building or protected installation. The first thing the security guard asked me was "Who give you permission to take photograph here?" I was surprised by the question and so I did a quick look around to make sure that I did not trespass any private property unintentionally.

I am very sure that the spot I was at is a public place as less than 10 meters from me was a group of 法錀功 members exercising.  I replied saying that this is a public place and I don't need to have any permission to take photographs. Not sure if the security guard didn't hear me or he is just persistent as he kept asking "Yes, so who give you permission to take photograph here?"

I kept telling him that this is a public place and not a private property nor is it a protected area, I don't need to have any permission to take photograph. Not sure what was wrong, the security guard kept repeating his "Who give you permission..." rant and refused to back-off.  In my mind, I started to wonder if he is one of those crooks who pretended to be CID or government agent to prey on unsuspecting people. This went on for a good 10 minutes until I ran out of my patience to tell him that I am in a public place and I do not need permission to take photograph. As a last resort, I called the police to seek their advice on how to handle the situation. The police responded and came to the location within 10 minutes.

For those who where wondering if I got another 10 minutes of ranting from the security guard, the answer is no - thankfully the security guard decided to get his boss to back him up after I called the police. Anyway, the boss of the security guard came before the police arrived and started apologizing saying the security guard was new and don't know what he was doing. In all honesty, I don't buy what the security guard's boss was saying as he was the one who assigned the security guard to guard the place for whatever reasons that eluded me.

After some "interviewing" by the policemen, the policemen clarified that I didn't break any law and I am fine to take photographs at the place. By this time my mood for taking photographs has been badly dampened. I decided to call it a day and walk towards the Marang Trail that leads to the Harbourfront MRT station. Before reaching the Marang Trail, I would need to pass through a stretch of covered walkway where the roof is made up of thick foliage of creeper vines. This is also where I encountered most of the beetles the last time I visited Mount Faber.

While I was still calming down from the incident, I was glad to find this Fungus Weevil (Eucorynus crassicornis) at the base of a pillar at the walkway.

Near to the Fungus Beetle was a lone Chafer Beetle (Apogonia expeditionis) on a creeper vine.

A small 3 mm Darkling Beetle was found on another vine near by.

The first beetle found on a pillar was a first-time-encountered Darkling Beetle.

A stone's throw from the Darkling Beetle was another Darkling Beetle (Strongylium erythrocephalum)  found on another vine.

Walking further down the walkway, I was surprised to find this lovely 10 mm first-time-encountered Darkling Beetle on a vine.

On an overhead pillar near by was this small 4 mm Click Beetle (Xanthopenthes schawalleri).

On a vine further down was a small 1 mm Fungus Beetle.

When I was almost reaching the entrance of the Marang Trail, this small 5 mm Broad-nosed Weevil was found on a pillar. I like this particular photograph as the white pillar bakground made it looked like it was shot in a studio.

At the base of a small tree near to the Marang Trail entrance was a 5 mm Darkling Beetle.

The Marang Trail starts from the top of Mount Faber and ends somewhere near to the Harbourfront MRT entrance. Sadly there was not a single beetle encountered along the entire Marang Trail. It was only at the end of the Marang Trail that I found a colony of Tiger Beetles (Cicindela aurulenta). Here's a shot of a portion of the colony.

The trip was a fruitful one with a number of beetles encountered, albeit the experience was dampened by the unfortunate "permission" incident. Reflecting on the incident, I think NParks should do something about these over-zealous security guards (possibly from the commercial outlets further down the road) to spoil the experience of visitors to the place, locals or foreigners alike.