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Sunday, 21 February 2016

Short Afternoon Walk At Venus Drive (21 Feb 2016)

It has been raining whole day for the past two days and hence disrupted my usual walks on Friday night or Saturday morning. Still wanting to validate my newly acquired Yongnuo 560 IV speedlite, I decided to take a short walk at Venus Drive as the chances of finding beetles is higher despite the overcast weather and it is in the afternoon.

Here's a photograph of a Jumping Spider found there. I have always wanted to photograph Jumping Spiders but have not seriously done so due to their hyper-activeness. I am glad that this particular specimen remained relatively still for me to take some photographs of it.

The first beetle for the trip was a skittish first-time-encountered Spiny Leaf Beetle found at a small grass mound. Just as I took a test shot of the beetle, it flew off promptly. The test shot was not too well taken but I have included here as a record of what I encountered during the trip.

In the proximity of the Spiny Leaf Beetle was a 2 mm Ladybird Beetle (Cryptogonus orbiculus).

Coming to some large Elephant Ear plants, I was glad to see this lovely and bright Ladybird Beetle (Chilocorus circumdatus).

A stone's throw away was a Ladybird Beetle larvae busily moving up and down a leaf.

Interestingly, there was a large group of Tumbling Flower Beetle (Glipa malaccana) flying among a large patch of ferns.

The highlight of the trip was a first-time-encountered Ladybird Beetle. It looked like the usual white color Ladybird Beetle but upon closer look, I noticed the black spots on its elytra. I was thrilled to be able to find a new Ladybird Beetle.

On a tree nearby was my all-time favorite - a white Ladybird Beetle.

Coming to a wood-pile, I was glad to be able to find this lone Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus quadriguttatus quadriguttatus) resting on a leaf.

Next to it was a metallic colored Leaf Beetle.

More walking before I found this Leaf Beetle (Argopus brevis).

On a tree nearby was a beetle larvae.

Coming to a very long tree log by the side of the trail, I was glad to find this small 2 mm Shiny Fungus Beetle.

Next to the Shiny Fungus Beetle was a small tree where this lovely beetle larvae was resting.

Time passes by quickly and it was about time for me to leave. Just then I saw a small beetle under a leaf.

Near to the small beetle was a 2 mm Leaf Beetle.

It was almost at the end of the trip that I found this colony of Fungus Beetle.

The last beetle for the trip was a Darkling Beetle (Strongylium tenuipes) on a small tree, meters from the exit.

Although this trip was in the afternoon, I am glad that I can still find beetles and two first-time-encountered beetles. The trip was relatively fruitful especially given that it has been raining for the past two days. Indeed Venus Drive is a good place to visit and has not  failed me thus far.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Morning Walk At Kent Ridge Park (13 Feb 2016)

I was running some errands around Kent Ridge area and so I decided to go to Kent Ridge Park for a walk. It has been a long time since I last went to the place because of the relatively low number of beetles found at the place. Nevertheless, I decided to give it a go again to see if I can find more beetles this time.

I have been looking forward to this week's trip as I am eager to test out a new speedlite flash that I bought (Yongnuo 560 IV). I have been rather frustrated with the Sony HVL-F43M that I have been using due to its constant overheating, even only after several shots. The flash overheat so often that it was almost impractical to have a good photography session without me changing a few sets of battery for the flash. The frustration has driven me to the point to try a manual flash, thus ditching the TTL feature of the Sony speedlite. Although it took some time to try out the flash, it was worth the effort as I didn't experience any overheating for this trip.

Enough talk about my speedlite flash, here's a photograph of a caterpillar of the Plain Nawab Butterfly (Polyura hebe plautus) encountered at the place.

The first beetle for the trip was a first-time-encountered 2 mm Weevil Beetle. It was busily moving among the stigma of a flower.

The next beetle was a Leaf Beetle (Aulacophora frontalis) resting on a young leaf.

There is a large patch of ferns at Kent Ridge Park where I found several of this shiny Leaf Beetle (Colasposoma auripenne).

After walking for about 2 hours and found only 3 beetles, I decided to call it a day. As I was approaching the car park, I saw a small patch of flowering plants and decided to check them out. To my surprise, I found a 2 mm first-time-encountered Ladybird Beetle species.  

Nearby was another tiny (< 2mm) Ladybird Beetle (Cryptogonus orbiculus).

The last beetle for the trip was also a Ladybird Beetle. It looks like the Crytogonus orbiculus Ladybird Beetle except that this beetle has a black "face". Not sure if it is the same Crytogonus orbiculus Ladybird Beetle.

The trip was a disappointment and I guessed that it will be another long while that I will come back to this place again.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Recce Trip To Kranji Marshes (10 Feb 2016)

The Kranji Marshes was recently opened to the public and so I decided to take leave to visit the place. The sky was cloudy when I set out from my home and I was near the place, it started to drizzle. It was a disappointing sight but I decided to proceed to the place and wait for the rain to be over. Fortunately the rain stopped after 30 minutes of waiting.

Here's a photograph of an iconic structure at the place. Although the place was already opened to the public, construction works can still be seen at the entrance area where the various lily ponds are.

Here's a photograph of the map to the place.

The first beetle encountered was a Chafer Beetle (Adoretus compressus) found on a wet leaf. The beetle looked like it has just emerged from the ground as traces of mud can still be seen on its head.

Near to the Chafer Beetle were some lovely yellow flowers and so I decided to take some photographs of them. It was only when I was processing the photographs that I realized that there was a tiny 1 mm beetle on the flower.

I was not expecting to find many beetles because of the rain and I was pleasantly surprised to find this small 8 mm Net-winged Beetle.

There were many insects encountered along the 1.2 KM trail (leading to the Marsh Station). There were many dragonflies at the place, probably because of the streams that are running through the place. It was only after some walking that I came across this Leaf Beetle (Altica cyanea) across a small stream. Although the stream was not very wide (about 60 cm wide), it was still a challenge to photograph the beetle as I was pretty much focused on not falling or stepping into the stream, instead of on the beetle.

More walking before I found this Leaf Beetle on a small bush. Although this is quite a commonly encountered Leaf Beetle, this particular specimen looked different as it dons a grayish coloration. The normal color for this type of beetle is bright yellow with the black pattern. The grayish coloration may be an indication that it has just emerged from the pupa stage.

Just above the Leaf Beetle was a surprise find - an Ant-like Flower Beetle (Anthelephila cyanea) moving busily on a large leaf. I initially thought that it was an ant as I have not seen Ant-like Flower Beetle moving so fast, very much like an ant that it is mimicking.

More walking without finding any beetles until several of this Leaf Beetle (Lema rufotestacea) were seen on patch of low bushes.

Near to the Leaf Beetle was a tiny <2 mm Leaf Beetle moving on a leaf. It was a challenge to photograph this beetle due to the strong wind that have been blowing pretty non-stop at that spot.

The last beetle for the trip was a Leaf Beetle (Lema diversa). This particular specimen was highly alert and proved to be a challenge to photograph.

The trip was not exceptionally fruitful due to the rain, but I think the place holds potential of yielding more beetles when the weather is good. As mentioned earlier, I was surprised to see so many dragonflies at the place. With the small number of beetles encountered, I decided to take photographs of the different dragonflies and damselflies that I encountered along the way.

Here are the different types of dragonflies and damselflies that can be found at the place. Please pardon my laziness in not identifying the damselflies and dragonflies. Nevertheless, do enjoy their lovely colors and patterns. Enjoy!

Friday, 5 February 2016

Night Walk At Venus Drive (05 Feb 2016)

It rained cats and dogs in the whole afternoon, and so I decided to go to Venus Drive instead of the original plan of Dairy Farm Nature Reserve, given the higher chance of finding beetles during wet weather there.

The place was soaking wet as expected. Interestingly, there was also an abundance of  terrestrial flatworms and snails. Here's a photograph of a snail crawling on a tree branch. This is the first time I tried back-lit photography and I found it interesting. I will probably try it more often in the future.

The first beetle was a small 2 mm first-time-encountered Darkling Beetle.

On a tree nearby was a small 3 mm Darkling Beetle.

Another small 3 mm Darkling Beetle was found on the same tree.

The first beetle encountered in the trail was a commonly encountered Chafer Beetle (Apogonia expeditionis) feasting on a leaf.

The next beetle on the trail was a small 5 mm Fungus Weevil on a small tree.

On a nearby tree was a small 3 mm Darkling Beetle.

There was nothing much to see  until I reached a wet woodpile and found this Fungus Beetle (Ceropria superba).

More walking without finding any beetles until this 15 mm beetle found taking shelter under another larger leaf.

More walking until finding this 5 mm Darkling Beetle on a tree.

A stone's throw away was another Darkling Beetle with deep purple elytra.

On the same tree was a tiny (<2 mm) Fungus Weevil. It looked very much like a small black dot until I zoomed in with my camera to see the lovely pattern on the beetle.

Moving further down the trail, a tiny 2 mm beetle was found moving actively on a tree.

Just around the area of the tiny beetle were several Tiger Beetle (Cicindela aurulenta) resting on a wet leaf.

Coming to another woodpile, I was glad to be able to find this 10 mm Darkling Beetle.

There was a small dead standing tree nearby where this small 5 mm Ground Beetle (Minuthodes multisetosa), moving actively on its trunk.

Just above the Minuthodes multisetosa Ground Beetle was a jet black Darkling Beetle. This beetle was a challenge to photograph as I need to tip-top in order to photograph this beetle.

The highlight of the trip was this Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus assamensis). It has been a while that I last encountered this once commonly encountered beetle.

Near to the Fungus Beetle was a Darkling Beetle (Ceropria induta) on a small tree stump.

It was such a coincidence that the trip ended with another first-time-encountered 2 mm Fungus Beetle on some rotting tree branch.

Compared to the previous few weeks of wet-weather trips, this trip would considered fruitful given that I still managed to find two first-time-encountered beetles despite the wet weather. This also confirmed my thought that Venus Drive trail is the best place to find beetles even during wet weather.