Friday, February 27, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Meanwhile, do check out these entries about the trip:
July's - http://wherediscoverybegins.blogspot.com/2009/02/discovery-bukit-timah-nature-reserve.html
Wen Qing's - http://midori-no-michi.blogspot.com/2009/02/btnr-18th-feb-2009-cradling-last.html and
Mindy's - http://sunflecksurfer.wordpress.com/2009/02/22/a-shocking-find/
Monday, February 23, 2009
Safe at home, we close our windows; the usual drill when it pours. It’s just another storm to most of us, but for trees, storms – especially those charged with lightning – spell bad news.
With no place to seek shelter, trees are sitting ducks. As one of the tallest structures around, they are naturally more susceptible to lightning strikes. What’s more, Singapore has one of the highest rates of lightning activity in the world, so trees often get hit and die. Forest fires have also been known to be ignited by lightning.
Home to a wide diversity of flora and fauna, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (BTNR) was gazetted as a nature reserve in the 1800s. Its summit stands at 163 metres, making it Singapore’s highest hill. With tall trees and high elevation, the forest is undoubtedly a victim of lightning activity which can result in the loss of species especially when these are localised in one area.
Human activity has also impacted BTNR negatively. Many a time, irresponsible visitors go off the trail even when large notices have been put up to warn against doing so. It might seem like a harmless action, but where too many footfalls land ultimately result in trampling, which damages and even kills flora and fauna. I've also seen temporary barricades which have been knocked down in order to gain access to the closed trail.
Please be a responsible visitor. Take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints (on the opened trails only).
i. Lightning activity in Singapore - http://app.nea.gov.sg/cms/htdocs/article.asp?pid=1203
ii. wild shores of singapore: Lightning: the scariest thing on the shores - http://wildshores.blogspot.com/2008/08/lightning-scariest-thing-on-shores.html
Friday, February 20, 2009
...and a few moments later, the quiet of the otherwise peaceful evening was broken by very loud and discordant "AARRK-AARRK-AARRK!" cries made by one of the following - ...
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Their muscular body is spotted with orange dots of varying sizes, making them even more outstanding. Sadly, these creatures are fast dwindling in numbers in Singapore due to over-collection for their beautiful shell and over-hunting (even though they're edible, it doesn't mean that one has to eat them).
As the original pic isn't very clear, I took the liberty of enhancing it.
Pretty flowers by the roadside. Likely that this is Ixora sp., as suggested by Ze Lin.
Read it at http://besgroup.talfrynature.com/2008/01/30/saraca-and-sunbirds/.
Got more excited upon reading the last sentence -"The tree attracts many species of birds that visit for the flower nectar and fruits.". Wow! The tree is within walking distance from my home..*starts thinking of bird-stalking* [Edit]
Friday, February 6, 2009
Here's a short excerpt from Singapore's Biophysical Environment by Lu Xi Xi, Wong Poh Poh and Chou Loke Ming about quarrying, of which granite quarrying was an integral part of Ubin's past:
"Three major groups of rocks were of economic importance to Singapore in the past. A series of granite quarries were located along the western flank of Bukit Timah and on Pulau Ubin. In 1970, there were 25 granite quarries employing about 1,200 workers. The first quarry on Pulau Ubin opened in the early 19th century and the last quarry closed in 1999. Clays were obtained from the Jurong Formation for brickworks. The Old Alluvium was quarried and the clays were washed in ponds to produced sand. This left behind a landscape of ponds and badly eroded surfaces."
Today, P. Ubin still bears the marks of its past. There are a couple of disused quarries on the island, which are very deep and filled with rainwater. They are dangerous, for obvious reasons, and thus have fences around their perimeter to keep visitors out.
The island is a great for a brief respite from the hustle and bustle of city life. Be a responsible visitor though (by that I mean DON'T poach, litter and create a din)! And if cycling is not your cup of tea, walking around the island is a great alternative...which is exactly what we did :)
We had our first bird-sighting right at the start of our walk. Eggciting! Haha...
Found out from LK that these are Dollarbirds (Eurystomus orientalis), so called because they have one round white patch under each wings. Like a dollar coin!
If my memory serves me, it was July who pointed out that these two butterflies were mating. Does anyone know the ID of the butterflies?
Laping - ?
References: ants of the singapore mangroves -http://mangrove.nus.edu.sg/guidebooks/text/2031.htm and www.singaporelearning.com/cib/CIBSchSEC_pdf/CIBSchSec_8.pdf
Depending on growth form and where they grow, fig plants may harm other plants. For instance, if a fig plant (such as a creeper?) grows on a tree, it has the tendency to grow downwards, strangling the host.
Now this is the REAL Mata Ayam. Sorry for the mix up!
Cuteness aside, caterpillars should not be touched for some species are known to have venomous spines. Better to be safe than to be sorry. Did some research online and found that this caterpillar may belong to the family Megalopygidae, and will probably turn into a moth at a later point in its life.
My camera ran out of battery soon after we set foot in Chek Jawa :( So Agnes helped to take the following shots. Thanks!
The Giant Mudskipper (Periophthalmodon schlosseri) is one of the species of mudskippers that can be found in Chek Jawa. The two black stripes running the length of their body is their most distinctive characteristic.
Commonly confused with the Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis), monitor lizards are actually their close relatives and belong in the same genus. This one here is a Malayan Water Monitor Lizard (Varanus salvator). Whenever I see a monitor lizard, I inadvertently recall the time when I was out kayaking with friends last year along the waterways which cut through the mangroves of Pulau Ubin. As we were paddling, we saw a number of dead, bloated monitor lizards which had become entangled in nets left by the bank. The nets looked pretty old and quite a lot of leaves had become snagged too. One word: irresponsible.
...we had the chance to see the adult which has distinctive patterns on its wings. At least three different subspecies can be found in Singapore, with subtle differences in markings. Found an interesting scientific paper on the Knight (Lebadea martha malayana). Read it at http://rmbr.nus.edu.sg/nis/bulletin2008/2008nis183-189.pdf.
There's so much diversity in Singapore, but it often goes unappreciated. What's more, it's often abused by activities such as poaching. I know this is gonna sound real cliched, but I sincerely believe that if we each do our part, we can make a difference...
Thanks to Luan Keng, Ron, Siyang and July for the info during the walk!
For this post, I referred frequently to ria's free conversion of print to web for conservation, nature info (http://www.naturia.per.sg/), NParks FloraWeb (http://floraweb.nparks.gov.sg/index.jsp) and mangroves of singapore (http://mangrove.nus.edu.sg/).Thanks to LK for the amendments! :)
For more about this adventure, do visit these blogs:
I'm already looking forward to the next adventure in the wild :)