19/2014 – Zhenghua Forest (12 April & 3 May 2014)

Cicadas are often said to be seasonal. In Japan, they emerge from the ground to sing every summer. Javanese uses cicadas sound as an indicator of the beginning of dry season i.e April–May. Similarly, Cicada sounds are a defining quality of Melbourne, Sydney, and Canberra during late spring and the summer months.

In my previous post, I mentioned that I witnessed the moulting of the Black & Golden Cicadas in April 2013. As we wanted to see them again this year, my friends and I decided to try our luck at Zhenghua forest on April 12 and May 3.

The weather looked fine when we reached Zhenghua forest in the morning of April 12. However, after less than an hour of shooting, it started to drizzle and continued raining lightly for the next few hours. We didn’t have the opportunity to check out the Black & Golden cicadas which are usually found deeper into the forest trail. I have only 2 decent shots in that morning. Here is a shield bug hiding behind a leaf. This was the 2nd time that I found this uncommon bug in this area.

(Shield Bug)

(Shield Bug)

Although Katydid nymphs are fairly common in Singapore, the interesting perch prompted me to take this shot.

(Katydid Nymph)

(Katydid Nymph)

The weather was much better on 3 May 2014. I was greeted by a pretty grasshopper soaked in morning dews. It was staring at him with curious eyes.

(Grasshopper with morning dews)

(Grasshopper with morning dews)

But it became shy and slowly turned its head away giving me an opportunity to take a classic side view shot.

IMG_3762

This is a good site to shoot St Andrew Cross Spiders and I have never failed to spot at least one of them here.

((St Andrew Cross Spider)

((St Andrew Cross Spider)

Endy found a pair of mating Leaf Beetles and alerted me. The left image was shot with fill flash while the dark blackground on the right was taken using the full power of the flash. Personally, I find the green background looks nicer. What do you think?

(Fill flash vs full fresh)

(Fill flash vs full fresh)

Another pair of bugs were having a good time nearby. This is known as Sugarcane Red Bugs.

(Please let me know if you know the ID of these bugs?

(Sugarcane Red Bug / Phaenacantha saccharicida)

It appeared that it was a good day for mating as I saw this time a pair of mating Leaf-footed bugs.

(Mating squash bugs)

(Leaf-footed bugs / Homoeocerus marginellus)

As I was about to leave to explore further into the forest, a beautiful pink coloured fruit caught my attention.

(White Mulberry)

(White Mulberry)

It is known as White Mulberry (Morus alba), which is a species native to northern China. I read that White mulberry is an herb where their powdered leaves are most commonly used for medicine. They are often tried for treating diabetes, high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, etc. The fruit can be used for food, either raw or cooked. I recalled eating these wild fruits during my childhood years. It tastes sour if I remember correctly.

So did we find the rare Black & Golden cicadas this time? Unfortunately, no! We did not manage to find even a single cicada’s skeleton at the same spots where we found them last year! The sighting of a Sunda flying lemur however, offer a little consolation of our visit here. Hazel was particularly delighted as she had never seen a flying lemur in the wild before this trip.

(Sunda flying lemur)

(Sunda flying lemur)

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