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Saturday, 20 May 2017

Night Walk At Punggol Promenade Nature Walk (19 May 2017)

My recent few attempts of going to Coney Island for my night macro photography have ended up being distracted by the many critters encountered along the way. For this week, I decided to keep to the plan and headed straight towards Coney Island. Sadly, my enthusiasm was greeted by a chain-locked gate with a sign to inform that the island is closed. Guessed that this is a "new" addition as those gates were not there when I was here 1.5 years back. [ Coney Island ]

Although I was not able to go into Coney Island, the trip was not wasted as there are still many critters to be encountered. I was pleasantly surprised to find 3 Oriental Whip Snake (Ahaetulla prasina) on this trip. I used to encountered many of them in the earlier days when Punggol was still a forested area, but sighting of them became rarer with the rapid development of the place.

For this trip, my young friend Reynard decided to join me at the last minute when I told him that I am planning to go to Coney Island. Although the trip did not go as planned, we were still being treated to some interesting find.

Here's a picture of a lovely 30 mm centipede found during the trip.

Reynard was slightly delayed so I proceeded towards Coney Island and along the way, I found a few lovely beetles. The first beetle was a Leaf Beetle on a stem of grass seeds.

Near to the Leaf Beetle was a fallen tree with several of this 3 mm Darkling Beetle.

Nearing the entrance of Coney Island, I was glad to find this lovely colored Soldier Beetle.

The highlight for the trip was the encounter of this small 5 mm Tortoiseshell Beetle (Aspidomorpha furcata) found under a leaf.

While I was photographing this commonly encountered Chafer Beetle (Apogonia expeditionis), Reynard turned up and we continued to move further down the nature walk.

On a small tree further down were several of this small 1 mm Fungus Beetle.

Hidden among a patch of low bushes was a badly damaged Ladybird Beetle. I am not too sure of the identity of this beetle but it looks very much like Coelophora inaequalis Ladybird Beetle.

While looking around a tree overran with creepers, I was thrilled to find this 28 Spots Ladybird Beetle (Henosepilachna vigintioctopunctata) resting on creeper's leaf.

A stone's throw away was a 8 mm Leaf Beetle.

We were almost near the starting point when we came across this rather unique "picture" of a Ladybird Beetle (Henosepilachna implicata) with its larvae.

The last beetle for the trip was a Click Beetle (Pectocera babai) under a blade of grass.

We were just meters from the starting point when I came across this Reticulated Python (Malayopython reticulatus).

This trip to Coney Island was not to be, but the results was unexpectedly good. It was interesting to be able to find 4 snakes on this trip. This looks like a good place to visit again.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Night Walk At Punggol Promenade Nature Walk (12 May 2017)

I originally made arrangement with my friend HW to go to Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West for my weekly night macro photography session but I changed my mind and decided to go back to Punggol Promenade Nature Walk for a walk instead. In fact, the objective was to go to Coney Island to take a look, but we didn't make it far enough to enter Coney Island on this trip just like the previous one.

Here's a photograph of a large 10 cm green Praying Mantis encountered at the place.

The first beetle found at the place was a Tiger Beetle (Cicindela aurulenta) resting on a low bush.

Near to the Tiger Beetle were several of this orange color Leaf Beetles.

There were many tall mimosa-like plants that lined the trail and on one of them was this sole Chafer Beetle (Adoretus compressus) encountered during this trip.

Further down the trail was this commonly encountered Chafer Beetle (Apogonia expeditionis) on a low bush.

Moving further, I was glad to be able to spot this Click Beetle (Pectocera babai) on a low bush.

On a tree nearby were several of this small 3 mm Darkling Beetle. The color of the pattern on this particular specimen is more orange than red, probably because it has just emerged not too long.

Just a stone's throw from the Darkling Beetle was a lone Ladybird Beetle (Henosepilachna implicata) on a mimosa-like plant.

On a fallen log were several of this beetle larvae.

The place is full of different spiders and it is possibly due to the abundance of food. Here's a good example, a Chafer Beetle met its untimely death and became a meal for this spider.

On a small tree next to the trail was this small 1 mm Fungus Beetle.

The highlight of the trip was this small 2 mm first-time-encountered Leaf Beetle on a small leaf steam.

Time passes quickly and it was time to turn back. Just then I found this lovely Ladybird Beetle (Illeis koebelei).

We were almost near to the point where we started and I was thrilled to find a tree crevice full of these 3 mm Darkling Beetle, complete with eggs and larvae.

The last beetle for the trip was this 5 mm Darkling Beetle on a small tree.

The trip was reasonably fruitful even though we didn't manage to go to the Coney Island as originally intended.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Morning Walk At Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (10 May 2017)

It is public holiday in Singapore and so I decided to go to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve with my family for a walk. On the way to the place, dark clouds started to gather and just when I parked my car, it started to rain cats and dogs.

The rain stopped after about 30 minutes and we proceeded to walk to the summit.

All the vegetation were drenched to the bone and so I was mentally prepared for a totally washout trip.

As expected, the only critters that I came across were spiders, which interestingly were out in the open immediately after the rain. Here's a shot of a spider that looks a bit like an alien with 4 arms and 4 legs.

More spiders in the open.

Another type of spider with its water beaded web.

As we walked up the steep slop of Bukit Timah's main trail, I was pleasantly surprised to find a Pleasing Fungus Beetle (Micrencaustes lunulata) munching on a white fungus mushroom. Noticed how wet the beetle was.

No other beetles was encountered until we were on our way back down Bukit Timah when I found this Pleasing Fungus Beetle on a small fallen tree branch. This looked very much like a Micrencaustes lunulata at a cursory glance, but differed in the pattern on the pronotum and an additional pattern on its elytra. After some searching on the internet, this beetle could possibly be Triplatoma gestroi Pleasing Fungus Beetle.

I am glad to be able to find two beetles despite the rain, and I will surely come back to this place in the future.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Night Walk At Punggol Promenade Nature Walk (05 May 2017)

It has been more than a year that I last went to Coney Island for a walk as the last trip there was a  disappointment. Curious whether insects managed to establish themselves on the island, I decided to go there for my weekly night walk. In order to reach Coney Island, one would need to walk about 1 km along the Punggol Promenade Nature Walk.

As I walked the Punggol Promenade Nature Walk, I was "distracted" by a patch of low bushes and freshly fell trees. As I approached the place, I was surprised to find that the place was full of insects. Here's a shot of a 60 mm Praying Mantis found at the place.

I read about this particular spider, nicknamed "Pringles Spider" aka Kidney Garden Spider (Araneus mitificus) and thought it was pretty unique. I was thrilled to be able to find one during this trip. Here's sharing a photograph of this interesting spider, albeit a badly taken photograph due to the odd position when taking the photograph.

The first beetle for the trip was a 2 mm Darkling Beetle on a fallen tree. I am pleasantly surprised to find many of this type of beetle all over the place. I didn't find a single one of them during my last trip there.

On the same fallen log was this superbly camouflaged 7 mm first-time-encountered Long Horned Beetle (Prosoplus bankii). It was so well camouflaged that it took me a while longer to locate it through my camera lens.

Moving further down the stretch of low bush, I was surprised to find several of this lovely orange Leaf Beetles.

A stone's throw away was the highlight of the trip, a Soldier Beetle resting on a blade of grass.

Coming to a patch of sandy ground, I am glad to find several of this commonly encountered Tiger Beetle (Cicindela aurulenta).

I was really excited when I found several of this Leaf Beetle (Lema rufotestacea) at a nearby grass patch.

A meter away from the Leaf Beetle was this Fungus Beetle (Amblyopus vittatus) resting on a leaf of a low bush.

Just as I was thinking that there would not be any more other beetles to be found, I am once again surprised to find this Click Beetle (Pectocera babai) under a leaf.

Just meters away was this lone Ladybird Beetle (Henosepilachna implicata) on a stalk of grass.

I was just wondering in my mind that I have not encounter any Chafer Beetle on this trip, I found a few of this brown Chafer Beetle on several Sea Hibiscus (Talipariti tiliaceum) plant. When I saw the Sea Hibiscus plants, I was hoping to find a small Leaf Beetle that usually feeds on the plant's leaves. I didn't find any of the small Leaf Beetle but found this Chafer Beetle instead.

The trip was surprisingly fruitful with the encounter of different types of beetle, even though the place looked like it rained in the late afternoon. I will definitely make another trip to this place in the near future.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Night Walk At Venus Drive (21 Apr 2017)

It has been raining since last weekend and I was hoping for the best that it will not rain again this weekend night. Thankfully it only rained a day before and in the morning, so my friend HW and I were able to proceed with our plans to have our night macro-photography  session at Venus Drive.

When I reached the place, I was surprised to see that the place was buzzing with activities in preparation for the opening of the Windsor Nature Park. With the opening of the Windsor Nature Park also means that there will be toilet facilities. This is one of the key bane of the Venus Drive trail as the nearest toilet facility is at the Ranger Station near to the Tree Top Walk. Just hoped that with the opening of the park, the car parking will remain free and not start charging like the rest of the parks in Singapore.

Here's a shot of the place with the opening ceremony tent all set up.

I received my order of a 40 mm flash diffuser two weeks back and was looking forward to test it out in the field, but sadly it has been raining on the various occasions that I were planning to go for the macro photography session. Fortunately, I am able to test this out this week.

The first critter we encountered at the place was this lovely caterpillar. After searching the internet, I believed this should be the 5th-instar caterpillar of the Malay Viscount butterfly (Tanaecia pelea pelea).

It could possibly because of the rain over the past few days as there were hundreds of flying termites at the place. This turned out to be super irritating as they will form swarms around our torchlight and focusing light. The most irritating part is when they kamikaze into your face, arms and neck, and crawl all over your body!

The first beetle for the trip was a small 3 mm Darkling Beetle. It was a challenge to photograph this constantly moving beetle when there were swarms of flying termite surrounding your face and camera.

Coming to some Giant Elephant Ear plants, I am glad to find one Ant-like Flower Beetle (Anthelephila cyanea). Yet again it was a challenge photographing this moving beetle with flying termite swarming your face.

There was a small wood pile and on it was a lone Darkling Beetle.

On a nearby dead log was another Darkling Beetle (Ceropria induta).

I was pleasantly surprised to come across a colony of Tiger Beetle (Cicindela aurulenta). We could have easily encountered 30 to 40 of them during this trip.

On a small tree was a small beetle larvae.

Near to the beetle larvae was a pair of 1 mm Fungus Beetle. Even though at this point, the number of flying termite tapered off a little, it was still very irritating to keep the camera still to photograph these constantly moving beetles.

There are scattered patches of Singapore  Rhododendron plant (Melastoma malabathricum) along the trail and on one of the plants was this Leaf Beetle (Argopus brevis).

Thankfully by now the number of flying termite had dropped down to a handful, making photographing this small 3 mm Darkling Beetle more pleasurable.

Surprisingly, I was not able to find any of the commonly encountered Chafer Beetles such as the Adoretus Compressus or the Apogonia expeditionis. Instead I found a number of this slightly larger bronze colored Chafer Beetle.

Tucked away on a fallen tree was a 12 mm Darkling Beetle, feeding on a thin layer of fungus..

A stone's throw away was this small 2 mm Darkling Beetle.

On a different tree near by was another 10 mm Darkling Beetle.

A surprised find was this Ground Beetle on a large leaf. I am surprised that it didn't move a bit when I took photographs after photographs of it. This was rather odd as this type of Ground Beetle tends to be rather skittish and sensitive, especially to light.

It could possibly be due to the flying termites, we walked much further than we would usually walk at the place. It was a blessing in disguise as we came across a rotten standing tree where several beetles were found. Thankfully, no more flying termites when we reached this part of the trail.

The first beetle I found on the standing tree log was this Checkered Beetle.

A small 1 mm Darkling Beetle just centimeters away.

A long-time-no-encounter Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus assamensis). It feels good to be able to find this beetle at the place, as they almost got wiped out during the exceptionally dry weather in 2014.

While I was photographing the various beetle at the rotten standing tree, HW called out to me that he found a Fungus Beetle on a dead tree nearby. At a glance it looked like the commonly encountered yellow spotted Fungus Beetle, but as I zoomed in for a closer shot, I was thrilled to find extra spots on it, signifying that it is a less common Fungus Beetle.

Getting back to the rotten standing tree, I was happy to find this lone Ground Beetle (Catascopus dalbertisi).

Centimeters from the Ground Beetle were a number of this small 3 mm Darkling Beetle.

Well camouflaged with its background, I was surprised to find several mating pairs of this 2 mm Weevil Beetle.

The highlight of the trip was the encounter with this 20 mm Long Horned Beetle (Thranius bimaculatus) at the base of the rotten standing tree.

Interestingly there were a few tens of this Sap Beetle, many of them were found foraging on the underside of some fungus mushroom growing from the side of the rotten standing tree.

As I search carefully through every inch of the rotten standing tree, I was pleasantly surprised to find this 3 mm Long Horned Beetle (Eoporis elegans) well camouflaged with its background.

High up on the rotten standing tree was a pair of Fungus Beetle (Episcapha quadrimacula).

I was really enjoying finding so many different beetles at the tree and this Flat Bark Beetle topped the chart for the night. This type of beetle is usually very hyperactive and it was always a challenge photographing it as it tends to move about rather quickly. This was a surprised find as this particular specimen remained very still throughout two rounds of photographing - mine and HW's. Amazing!

It was time to turn back and on the way out, I was so glad to encounter this really long-time-no-encounter Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus politus). This type of beetle used to be common at Venus Drive until the dry weather in 2014. Glad to see it again.

The last beetle of the trip was a 10 mm Fungus Beetle that was hiding on thin vine of a Air Potato plant.

Although the trip started off being extremely irritating because of the flying termites, it got better subsequently. Overall this is a good trip and I am glad that my new flash diffuser worked well. At the same time, I also sincerely hoped that the opening of the Windsor Nature Park would not drive away all this lovely beetles at the place due to higher human traffic.