I woke up early today hoping to do a recee before my walk at SBWR. The weather looked perfect when I waited at the bus interchange, or so I thought. Evi sent me an SMS about “raining giant lizards” in the west, followed by SF about thunderbolts striking in her area and lastly from Mel in the East.
I decided to go ahead despite the weather-women warnings since it was not raining in the north. However, I got more worried about my decision as dark clouds gathered gradually. My heart went down when it started to pour just when I reached Buloh.
What a relief, as with just all my previous trips, the rain stopped in pretty soon! Though we started half an hour late, all of us were in a jovial mood. For me especially, phew…!
It was low tide at this time and animals come out to play… this phrase got entrenched in my mind after watching the video show at SBWR so many times. The Tree Climbing Crabs were down at the mudflats feeding. During high tide, these crabs will climb up the trees to escape from predators that sweep in with the tide.
A favourite site for juvenile Mangrove Horseshoe Crabs (Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda), we only managed to find a tiny one at the stream. This species is known to be very poisonous and people have died eating it in Thailand where it is a delicacy.
The largest mudskipper in Singapore, the Giant Mudskipper (Periophthalmodon schlosser) has a voracious diet and is even known to eat other mudskippers!
The Nipah Palm (Nypa fruticans) are bearing fruits! Do you know that encased within each of them is an attap chee?
Due to the muddy nature of mangrove habitat, the substrate is perpetually waterlogged and soft. Many mangrove trees have found a way to overcome this obstacles. For example, the Api-Api (Avicennia sp.) have needle roots poking out of the mud like snorkels to breath air.
Bakau (Rhizophora sp.) on the other hand, possesses prop roots that provide a strong foothold on the mud.
The next charismatic root form is found in the Bruguiera sp. They have have roots that bend upwards then down with the knobs resembling the knee caps of a person; hence the name knee roots. These “knees” pop out of the mud just like the Api-Api to gasp on air.
After finishing the boardwalk, as it was already 10am, I decided to bring my group to watch the video show first before heading to the main bridge.
A Stork Billed Kingfisher (Pelargopsis capensis)was perching at its favourite spot and we admired some photos from a bird-photographer who took some amazing shots of it.
The migratory birds are here! At the main hide, we found a Malayan Water Monitor Lizard walking among a group of Pacific Golden Plovers (Pluvialis fulva). One of the staff who was doing a survey there shared with us that the lizard can spot for any injured birds and grasp the opportunity to kill it; but not when they were all healthy and alert.
On the freshwater pond, the Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) is a reminder of the invasive nature of this exotic weed. Just at the nearby Kranji Reservoir, a population explosion occurred in 1975 and filled the entire water surface with it.
These pink clumps are egg masses of the Giant Apple Snail (Pomacea sp.). This is an invasive species native of America that is probably introduced through the aquarium trade.
Lastly, a group photo of my group, the old gang together with some of their friends. Nice to catch up with everyone again. :)
Thanks to Sean for the awesome photos of the stork billed kingfisher, water hyacinth and group shot.