Macro Photography Outings – December 2015

December was probably the wettest month this year where it rained almost everyday. Fortunately, it rained mostly in the afternoon or at night allowing me to do my usual macro photography in the morning. I visited Zhenghua Forest, Chestnut Nature Trail, a night macro at Kampong Chantek Nature Trail and joined an intertidal outing at Loyang Beach.

On 13 December, it was raining the night before and continued until the next morning at 7 am. From my past experience, insects were not as plentiful on a wet day but, to our pleasant surprise, there were lots of wildlife activities at Zhenghua Forest. We spotted at least five lynx spiders having winged ants as breakfast.

(131215 - Zhenghua Forest)

(131215 – Zhenghua Forest)

Another winged ant was found trapped on a spider web. A common assassin bug came along to steal the breakfast while the spider was away.

(131215 - Zhenghua Forest)

(131215 – Zhenghua Forest)

Lynx spiders are one of the most formidable predators in the insect world but unexpectedly, they are no match for this worm-liked creature where it produced a gooey chemical substance to paralyse the prey. I witnessed two such attacks within a week. The other prey was a pitiful grasshopper. This worm is sensitive where it would release its prey and move away when disturbed.

(Worms predating on  lynx spider & hopper)

(Worms predating on lynx spider & hopper)

Grasshoppers were such easy preys as they became the food for a St. Andrew Cross spider & a huge praying mantis.

(Grasshoppers were easy preys)

(Grasshoppers were easy preys)

Praying mantis eats their prey alive. They usually start chewing from its prey’s head and slowly consuming the rest of the body.

(An unfortunate grasshopper)

(An unfortunate grasshopper)

Not surprisingly, there were plentiful of wild mushrooms here. This should be Marasmiellus candidus where they were found on the ground either growing on dead twig or leave. They are known by its small size, widely spaced gills and white colour.

(171215 - Zhenghua Forest)

(171215 – Zhenghua Forest)

My favourite was this pretty group of mushrooms gorgeously arranged with beautiful detail and light.

(Marasmiellus candidus)

(Marasmiellus candidus)

I am not a night macro shooter but when my friend suggested that we explore Kampong Chantek Nature Trail to look for wild mushrooms that glow in the night, I readily agreed! We were not disappointed even though we found only two individual Bioluminescent mushrooms. This was my first sighting of such a beautiful Mycena sp.

glowing mushroom

(19122015 – Kampong Chantek Nature Trail)

Another delightful find was a huge Malaysian Orange Huntsman spider known as Thelcticopis modesta. First time seeing this beautiful hairy species too.

Hairy spider

(19122015 – Malaysian Orange Huntsman Spider)

We also found a frog nearby. I am not too sure about its identification but it looks like a juvenile Malayan Giant frog, about 6 cm in length. An adult of this species could grow into a 17.5 cm giant frog!

IMG_8936

(19122015 – Kampong Chantek Nature Trail)

The last time I visited Loyang Beach was 18 months ago. It was an excellent place to shoot Orange Fiddle Crabs as there were easily thousands of them. Here is a video that I made in June 2013.

It was a beautiful late afternoon on Christmas Day. Most people wear beautifully to attend Christmas parties but 15 crazy photographers chose to get themselves dirty at Loyang Beach!

(Photo Credit : Allan Lee)

(Photo Credit : Allan Lee)

There were not as many fiddle crabs and tougher to shoot this time round. I could only capture some record shots.

(25122015 - Loyang Beach)

(25122015 – Loyang Beach)

Sand Bubble crabs are comparatively more cooperative.

(25122015 - Sand Bubble Crab)

(25122015 – Sand Bubble Crab)

Many seastars were sighted and the most unique one has to be the Spiny Seastar where the tip of its 5 arms are orange in colour.

(Common Seastars vs Spiny Seastar)

(Common Seastars vs Spiny Seastar)

A visit to Chestnut Nature Trail on 27 December marked my last macro photography shoot in 2015. Here are some decent shots from this outing.

(27122015 - Chestnut Nature Trail)

(27122015 – Chestnut Nature Trail)

2015 has been a good year for me, photographically speaking. I shall go through my best nature photos captured in the last 12 month in the next few days to pick my favourite twelve. So stay tuned!

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