Friday, December 31, 2010

Virgin trip to Mandai Mangroves

My first time to Mandai Mangroves, organised by RY, and accompanied by two new friends JY and BC. I have to admit that the reason I have not come here is because of my overwhelming laziness. Haha, at least I am here now.


Upon entering the mangroves, RY pointed out these moths. They are aquatic ( I meant their larvae of course), hence known as the aquatic moths, or Eristena mangalis; ‘mangal’ meaning mangroves.


This climber, Finlaysonia obovata, is probably one of the first plants that I learnt when my fetish in green stuff started. One might probably scoffed its status as critically endangered when visiting Mandai because it is sprawling all over the place!


This is its small furry flower,


And the horn-like fruits.


Some have ants covering over the groove of the fruit in a sea of black. I think they are probably herding scale insects located there, which I had seen before previously in Berlayar Creek mangroves.


A beautiful dragonfly of which I have no idea of the ID. Perhaps I should buy the dragonfly book published recently. Help?


A majestic maze of prop roots of the Bakau tree, Rhizophora species. I was imagining that someone should build a Rhizophora roots inspired playground! That will be quite cool right?


This strand of overhanging climber is probably Dischidia nummularia.


The leaves are smaller in comparison with Dischidia major (above), the latter also having swollen glands where ants made their home in. And hence, commonly called the ant plant.


Here is a triplet of their flower buds.


A very pretty flower with yellow stamens flanked by pink petals. This is a relatively uncommon shrub, Brownlowia tersa.


RY pointed out its comical butt-shaped fruits.


Johor Bahru seems like a short distance from here!


The dead tree infested with the long horn beetle, visible by the many circular holes drilled into the trunk.


Besides Brownlowia tersa, this is another new mangrove plant for me, Merope angulata.


I took a lick at one of the fruits and it tasted citrus-like. Apparently, it belongs to the family Rutaceae, same as other citrus plants like Pomelo and Lime. No wonder we saw a lime butterfly caterpillar on one of the leaves too. Unfortunately I did not take a photo of it, but perhaps RY will show it later on his post.


Fruits of Caesalpinia crista. This is a nasty little climber of the mangroves because of its many recurved hooks that will give a painful scratch if one brush by,


RY suspected these leaves as a variation of Intsia bijuga.


The two other bigger Intsia trees that we saw have the typical blunt tip leaflets.


We also saw its two dehisced and one unripe fruits but seems like something had already taken a bite on it.


The intertidal zone spread out for like 200 metres? from the mangrove edge. Within the soft mud were so many half-buried mangrove horsecrab crabs that we were apprehensive of stepping on one.


Hmm, what is so interesting over there where RY is standing to take some pictures?


Here it is! BC mentioned that it looked like a Cuckoo, and sure enough it looks close to a Lesser Cuckoo from other pictures in the internet. (Apparently it is an Indian Cuckoo, as corrected by an anonymous reader.) It perched long enough for me to take some decent shots before flying away.


There were many platforms with stairs leading up to them. I guess that houses used to be on top of them but now they were excellent nesting spots for the Bird’s Nest Fern, Asplenium australasicum.


This Mangrove Cannonball tree, Xylocarpus granatum have many bowling balls on top of us!


Lastly, just before we left the place, was a cluster of pretty wild flowers, Bidens pilosa.


After washing our pants and booties in the canal, we have to climb up of it by crawling on all fours. Haha!


I have no idea what they were doing for this though. Probably to avoid the grass from tickling them I guess. ^^ Somehow, it felt like I am pointing a gun at them from the back. lol!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Back to MacRitchie

Wishing everyone a happy new year with this Hoya latifolia flowers!


Today was a tiring day, went to the Singapore Botanic Gardens (will blog that another day) for a walk before going back school and then to MacRiitchie Reservoir.


Red young leaves of this Garcinia probably griffithii sapling. Heard from KY that another hypothesis of why young leaves are red is because insects (many herbivores are insects) cannot see this colour.


These are, I believed the flowers of the Blue Mahang, Macaranga heynei.


There were many of these flowers scattered on the forest floor. Not sure what these are though =.=”


I saw this fruit of the climber, Willughbeia species 3 weeks ago, but it doesn’t seem to have grown in size.


Minuscule fruits from this shrub, Trema cannabina.


These are the dehisced fruits of the Thottea grandiflora. Their red flowers have sealed petals like a bell. Pity I can’t find it today.


Lastly, dark purple young leaves and the distinct crescent  stipules from Aporosa benthamiana.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Snakes in MacRitchie

While today was solely a botanical trip, I won’t be blogging much about them since there isn’t much fruits or flowers today (Don’t want to bore too many of you with plain green leaves!). Here are some snap shots of the reptiles and some other animals we saw along the way this morning.


WQ spotted this Oriental Whip Snake at our knee level, and it stayed motionless for a long while, allowing us to take all the photos we want.


A pretty docile and pretty snake with its bright green colour. Look at how small it is~


Long Tailed Macaques are a common sight in MacRitchie, and I often see them feeding on young saplings of plants. This time however, one of them was feeding on a fruit, which unfortunately we were unable to identify. It has copious white sap (you can see the stain on the monkey’s lips),


and reddish seeds? in the interior. The monkey was only aiming for those red stuff and left the rest of the fruit untouched. Any one knows the ID?


These aquatic plants are the Pipewort, Eriocaulon sp. They have cute white ball shaped inflorescences.


This huge snake resting on a overhanging tree branch above the reservoir. This is probably the Red Tailed Racer, a non-venomous snake. It looks pretty intimidating though~


Here is another shot of it.


A juvenile Clouded Monitor Lizard came foraging in front of us unperturbed by our presence, allowing me to get some nice shots of it.

All in all, a good trip, meeting a long lost friend and also daring the monkeys to snatch my plastic bag secured on my bag with a carabrina (They did attempted but were unsuccessful!)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Some urban wildlife

While urban areas, when compared with natural ones are almost devoid of wildlife, one just need to be observant enough to spot little critters that managed to adapt to living in this unique habitat. For many people in Singapore, these animals might just be the only ones which they know off considering how little our natural habitats are left. Hopefully they are not even oblivious to these!

A Pink Neck Green Pigeon feeding on the fruits of MacArthur’s Palm (Ptychosperma macarthurii). This exotic palm can apparently survive in shaded areas and thus it is very common to see them in degraded secondary forests, spread by birds like this.

If not for who A told me about the ‘eyes’ of the Turn in the Wind plant, Mallotus paniculatus, I would not have noticed them. Apparently, it can secrete some juicy stuff which attract these ants to drink.

Domestic cats are always common sight. Though they wonder around freely in the neighbourhood, many of them are taken care of by kind souls who feed them everyday. This feline above was especially adorable. It just sat comfortably on my bag when I put it down to take some pictures of a plant.

A pool of water accumulated at a concrete path provided a nice bath for these Rock Pigeons.

I was rather surprised to find a group of Scaly Breasted Munias right in the middle of the oldest estate in Singapore. These birds were poking at the flowers of the Coat Buttons (Tridax procumbens). No idea why though.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The largest flower in the world

A late post of the flower of  Titan Arum, Amorphophallus titanum in the Singapore Botanic Gardens. Apparently, it had already wilted by now~


It holds the title of the largest flower in the world, together with the flowers from Rafflesia (Rafflesia arnoldii) and Talipot palm (Corypha umbraculifera), the latter also bloomed here in SBG a few years back.

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