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Friday, 29 January 2016

Night Walk At Dairy Farm Nature Park (29 Jan 2016)

I was looking forward to this week's walk as I am eager to test out my new flash diffuser set-up. After having seen David Ball's macro photography set-up last week, I was pretty inspired to redo my flash diffuser set-up.  Here's a photograph of my latest flash diffuser set-up taken using my handphone camera.

Having the convenience of the new DownTown Line MRT, I decided to go to Dairy Farm to test out the new set-up. Although my friend was telling me that the weather at the area was not too good, NEA's weather map showed otherwise. At the end, I decided to proceed as planned and hoped for the best.

Sadly when I reached the place, it looked like it just rained not too long. All the vegetation were wet with rain. In my heart, I am prepared for another washout trip like the previous trip to the place. Here's a shot of a House Centipede (Thereuopoda longicornis) that I came across during the trip.

The first  beetle for the trip was a familiar beetle that can usually be found under the large leaves of the Elephant Ear Plant (Alocasia Macrorrhiza). They are often ignored as they looked very much like an ant, thus the name Ant-like Flower Beetle (Anthelephia cyanea).

Not too far from the Ant-like Flower Beetle was a brown colored Chafer Beetle (Adoretus compressus).

As expected, it was after a good while before finding this tiny 2 mm beetle from the large family of Tenebrionoidea, which is commonly called Darkling Beetle.

More walking before I found this mottled colored Chafer Beetle (Adoretus compressus) under a leaf.

Near to the Adoretus compressus Chafer Beetle was another Chafer Beetle.

After walking about 15 minutes without finding another beetle, this Ground Beetle became a treat as they are not so commonly encountered because of their alertness at night.

The highlight of the trip was this bright orange Lead Beetle resting under a leaf. I am glad that it remained absolutely still despite me flipping the leaf over to get a better shot of the beetle.

Coming to a fallen log, I am glad to find this lone 10 mm Darkling Beetle.

Under another log near by was a smaller 5 mm Darkling Beetle.

The last encounter was a carcass of a late stage beetle larvae. From the look of the carcass, it looked like it was a victim of the parasitoid wasp.

As expected the trip was a washed-out with very few beetles encountered due to the rain. Nevertheless, it was still a good trip as I was able to test out my new diffuser set-up which proved to be pretty good in my opinion.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Late Afternoon Walk At Venus Drive (23 Jan 2016)

The weather was bright and sunny when I set out to Venus Drive. Just as I was about to reach the place, the sky looked like it just rained. Guessed that it would be another washout trip like last week. As I was already at the place, I decided to continue with the trip and see what I can find.

As expected, there were not many critters encountered. Here's one of the more interesting critters that I came across during the trip - a terrestrial flat worm.

The vegetation at the place were very wet and not a single critter was found until this Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus quadriguttatus quadriguttatus) found on the side of a small tree.

This Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus mirus) was found at the base of a big tree after a while of walking.

More walking until I encountered this lone Leaf Beetle sheltering on a Singapore  Rhododendron plant (Melastoma malabathricum).

On a nearby tree was this beetle larvae. When I zoomed in with my camera that I realized that there was a small wasp on it. It looked like a parasitoid wasp that I previously saw emerging from a dead beetle larvae. Guessed that this beetle larvae had just became an unwilling nursery for the parasitoid wasp.

The next beetle encountered was another Fungus Beetle (Episcapha quadrimacula) resting on a leaf. I presumed that the rain has forced it to take refuge on the plant.

The surprise for the trip was the encounter with this 15 mm Net-winged Beetle. I always enjoy finding this type of beetle because of its bright red coloration that contrasted beautifully with the green leaf that it was on.

My original intention was to turn back and call it a day since the chances of finding more beetles seemed slim due to the rain. After encountering the Net-winged Beetle, I decided to complete the trail instead. Just then, I found a small 2 mm Darkling Beetle on the side of a tree.

Just moments after photographing the Darkling Beetle, I bumped into a fellow macro-photographer. After a brief conversation, I am pleasantly surprised to find out that his name is David Ball, a person that I know online who has been contributing to the identification of some of the beetles in this blog. It felt great to be able to meet face-to-face with a fellow macro-photographer.

After the short chat with David Ball, I continued with my walk. I was pretty amused when I see these different species of Darkling Beetle in this position.

Near the end of the trail, the foot path became pretty muddy, which is typical of the place during the monsoon seasons. Just somewhere near to the "exit", I was glad to find this commonly encountered Tiger Beetle (Cicindela  aurulenta) scavenging on the muddy trail. I usually encounter this type of beetles during my night walks but rarely during the day. It is highly active and proved to be a tough subject to photograph given that it hardly stay still at a place for long.

Coming to the spot where a large tree was uprooted by strong wind and rain some time back, I am glad to be able to find a large colony of this Fungus Beetle. This particular specimen was munching on the whitish colored bracket mushroom.

The last beetle encountered before I exited from the place was a pair of mating Darkling Beetle.

As expected, the number of beetles encountered during this trip was pretty miserable, but it is still a good trip given that I got to field test my enhancements to my DIY flash diffuser.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Night Walk At Dairy Farm Nature Reserve (15 Jan 2016)

I was planning to go to the Dairy Farm Nature Reserve to test out my tweak to the DIY flash diffuser that I made. Sadly, it started to rain in the late afternoon and I thought that I would need to postpone the trip to next week. Fortunately, the rain stopped slightly before 6 pm and so I decided to proceed as planned.

My heart sank when I reach the place as the vegetation were drenched to the bone. This can only means one thing - a washout trip.

I was glad to be able to find this Chafer Beetle (Apogonia expeditionis) just at the beginning.

After having walked for almost an hour without finding any beetles or insects, so this small 2 mm Darkling Beetle was a welcomed sight.

More walking without finding any beetles and so I decided to call it a day. This trip was a total wash-out with only two beetles found. Although I expected this outcome, it still didn't go down well. Nevertheless, I managed to test out my DIY diffuser and am glad that the results were pretty good..

Friday, 8 January 2016

Night Walk At Upper Seletar Reservoir (08 Jan 2016)

It has been a while that I last been to Upper Seletar Reservoir and so I decided to go there for a walk. The place was very dry and it was probably due to the hot weather for the past few days. Here's a photograph of a Stick Insect which I have not come across for a long while. It is good to still see them in the wild.

For this trip, I am also testing out a new flash diffuser setup that I have DIY. The photographs taken on this trip were using this setup.

The first beetle for the trip was a large Chafer Beetle (Phyllophaga marginalis). It was a challenge photographing it as it was very windy and the leaf which the beetle was on was swaying vigorously in the strong wind.

I was pleasantly surprised to find this Leaf Beetle (Hemipyxis semiviridis) on a leaf by the road side leading to the trail that I am going on.

Not much action after the Leaf Beetle and hence this small 5 mm Darkling Beetle on a dead tree branch became a welcomed sight.

Finally at the start of the trail was a Leaf Beetle (Argopus brevis) found on a badly eaten leaf.

There were a few fallen tree branches along the trail and on one of the tree branches, I was glad to find this lovely patterned Fungus Beetle.

Further down the trail there was a fallen tree just slightly overhead, spanning across the path. On it was a first-time-encountered Click Beetle.

Near to the Click Beetle was a small shiny Darkling Beetle.

Next the Darkling Beetle was a first-time-encountered Ambrosia Beetle, identified by the pattern of its rear end.

There were not many critters, let alone beetles, encountered throughout the trip. I was glad to find a small colony of the commonly encountered Tiger Beetle (Cicindela aurulenta).

On a nearby tree was a 8 mm Darkling Beetle.

I was rather puzzled as to why I didn't find any of the commonly encountered Adoretus compressus or Apogonia expeditionis Chafer Beetle, until this Chafer Beetle (Apogonia expeditionis) was encountered.

I was almost at the end of the trail when I encountered this 10 mm Darkling Beetle, hiding in a crevice of a large tree.

A stone's throw away was another Darkling Beetle which was slightly deformed.

Coming to a tree near to the end of my trip, I was happy to be able to find this small 2 mm Fungus Beetle.

On the same tree was a pair of small 2 mm Darkling Beetles.

The trip was reasonably fruitful, especially given that I found two first-time-encountered beetles. I am also glad to be able to test out my DIY flash diffuser. From the look of the photographs, there will still be a bit of tweaking needed.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Short Walk At Venus Drive (31 Dec 2015)

It was a wonderful holiday break at one of my favorite places on earth - Cameron Highlands. This year the place was exceptionally cool at an average temperature of about 20C and dropped to as low as 12C in the early morning.

It has been several years that I last visited Cameron Highlands. Although I was mentally prepared to encounter a lot more people at Cameron Highlands during this trip because of the Malaysian school holiday, I was not prepared to see the extend of developments the place is undergoing. It was almost at every turn of the winding road of Cameron Highlands that one would find a new housing development. My heart sank as I see large areas of pristine jungle cleared away for the building of concrete jungle.

Nevertheless, Cameron Highlands is still a good place to visit given that you visit the place outside of their school holiday and weekends. Here's a photograph of the beautiful Lake House Resort at the lower altitude Ringlet Township.

Cameron Highlands was the place where my interests in beetle was first ignited. Besides the popular tourist attractions such as tea plantations and strawberry gardens, Cameron Highlands is also a place where you can still find big beetles. Here's a Stag Beetle (Dorcus reichi) that I found in the resort that I stayed. The number of beetles encountered during this trip was fewer than expected, possibly due to the cold rainy weather and the month of the year.

The weather in Singapore after I came back to Singapore was still very rainy as the monsoon season is still not over as yet. So it rained in the night before and hence I was not able to go for my weekly night walks and so I decided to go to Venus Drive in the morning after running some errands. Just as I was out of the house, it started to drizzle but I still proceeded, in hope that the rain was just confined to the area where I stay.

When I reached Venus Drive, the sky was clear but it showed signs that it rained slightly earlier as the vegetation was wet with rain. Not deterred, I carried on with the walk. Interestingly, the place was full of butterflies and I was fortunate enough to be able to photograph this lovely Malay Lacewing butterfly  (Cethosia hypsea hypsina).

The first beetle for the trip was a Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus quadriguttatus quadriguttatus) feasting on a rotten log.

The surprise find for the trip was a lovely Ladybird Beetle (Epilachna admirabilis) which was just meters from the Fungus Beetle.

There were not many critters encountered let alone beetles, because of the earlier rain. While I was walking along the path, at the corner of my eye I saw a flash of white that went under a leaf. Curious of what it would be, I quietly approach the plant and found this white Ladybird Beetle.

More walking without finding any beetles until I chanced upon a low bush where there were several of this small 3 mm Weevil Beetle.

A stone's throw away was a group of Tumbling Flower Beetle (Glipa malaccana) flying around some vegetation.

Further down the trail was a beetle larvae on a tree. It was good to see beetle larvaes as it is good sign that beetles are doing well at the place.

Coming to a woodpile, there was a Fungus Weevil (Eucorynus crassicornis) hiding under one of the rotting wood.

Another surprise encounter was this small 3 mm Jewel Beetle found on a leaf.

After some more walking, I finally encountered the first and only Leaf Beetle (Graphops curtipennis) for the trip.

On a tree near by,a colorful beetle larvae was found moving about the tree trunk.

Next to the beetle larvae was a Fungus Beetle on a fallen log.

The number of beetles encountered so far was really worse then expected and just when I was about to call it a day that I encountered this small 3 mm Pintail Beetle on a small leaf.

As I was about to reach the exit of the trail, I was glad to be able to find these two small Fungus Beetle hiding in a crevice of a small tree.

The last beetle encountered for the trip was this small Darkling Beetle on a tree near the exit.

The trip was not as fruitful due to the earlier rain but nevertheless, it was still interesting to find the various beetles during the trip.