11/2014 – Venus Drive (15 March 2014)

I joined Allan Lee who led an informal macro outing to Venus Drive, one of our favourite macro sites since 2008! I was a little late at 7.45 am and my shooting kakis were already set up their gears. Without further delay, we started searching for subjects to photograph in the open greenery just near the car park.

(Venus Drive)

(Venus Drive)

I was surprised to spot a tiny crab spider so quickly, about 5mm in size, having a heavy breakfast nearby!

(Crab spider having a heavy breakfast)

(Crab spider having a heavy breakfast)

I found another spider having breakfast too not far away. This time it was more challenging to shoot due to the windy condition and that the jumping spider kept moving around. It jumped into the bushes when I tried to move closer.

(Jumping spider with prey)

(Jumping spider with prey)

A few metres away, Ah Meng was shooting an attractive St. Andrew Cross spider and shared it with some of us.

(Manoj shooting a St. Andrew Cross Spider)

(Manoj shooting a St. Andrew Cross Spider)

Manoj took over the shoot and he realised that the St. Andrew Cross Spider was having a prey. It was a pity that the prey was not very visible as it was facing the other side. I gave it a miss and moved further into the forest area.

(Ah Meng was shooting a dragonfly while Allan focused on a moth trapped in a spider web(

(Ah Meng was shooting a dragonfly while Allan focused on a moth trapped in a spider web)

I am always fond of shooting robberflies so I was happy to see one near the footpath. When I was about to position my tripod, it flew away but came back shortly with a pleasant surprise, a small prey in its mouth.  Robberflies’ eyesight and speed of catching prey was simply amazing!

(Robberfly with prey)

(Robberfly with prey)

As we turned left into Venus Drive Loop, we saw a large group of photographers, easily more than 20 people, with big lens. They were here to photograph the Black Back Kingfisher.

(A big group of birders)

(A big group of birders)

We also met a group of macro photographers where they preferred to use handheld technique to shoot. Unlike them, most of us require a tripod in order to capture decent shots.

(Met a group of macro handheld shooters)

(Met a group of macro handheld shooters)

They were shooting a dead leaf praying mantis and generously shared it with us.

(Dead leaf praying mantis)

(Dead leaf praying mantis)

It was certainly a busy day at Venus Loop as I met Dr Vilma D’Rozario who led a big group of participants on a free guided nature walk. They were in high spirit especially the younger ones. It was nice chatting with Vilma and some of the participants.

(Love MacRitchie Walk)

(Love MacRitchie Walk)

There were many dragonfly species spotted along the way. The most precious was a rare Shadowdancer (Idionyx ylanda). It looked like the females are more common than males as all my three sightings were female. I am desperately hoping to see a male in the near future!

(A female Shadowdancer)

(A female Shadowdancer)

Here are some of the more common forest dragonflies that you are unlikely to miss at Venus Drive. I have seen them so many times here.

(A female Dark-tipped Forest Skimmer)

(A female Dark-tipped Forest Skimmer)

(Female & Male Treehuggers)

(Female & Male Treehuggers)

Almost at the end of the loop, I found another Shadowdancer dragonfly. Unfortunately, it sensed my present and vanished into the forest. To my surprise, there was a planthopper perching at the same thin branch as the dragonfly. I had to use full flash to counter the windy condition, hen the dark background.

(A planthopper)

(A planthopper)

It was a fruitful outing and we rewarded ourselves with a delicious lunch at Sembawang Hill Food Centre.

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