Saturday, March 21, 2009

Kranji Nature Trail on 21 Mar 2009

I was at Kranji Nature today to do a guided walk. While waiting for our participants, SY and I took a walk around Sungei Buloh.

We saw most of the usual plants and animals, including the grey heron (Ardea cinerea) above. This is a resident bird in Singapore, and is also one of the tallest, being able to reach up to a metre high.

Our participants soon arrived.

We started our walk on the trail. It was a nice little route with lots of greenery by the sides.

The trail passes through several habitats, such as the mangroves above, and also the back mangroves, secondary forest, and grass land.

Mangrove cannonball tree (Xylocarpus granatum)
One of the interesting plants we saw was this mangrove cannonball tree (Xylocarpus granatum), which got its common name from its big round fruit. The wood from this tree was used for furniture-making, boat-building and firewood.

Seashore pandan (Pandanus odoratissimus)
Another plant we saw was this seashore pandan (Pandanus odoratissimus). The fruit is sometimes used by fishermen as floats for their fishing nets, while the leaves can be weaved into mats and baskets.

Sea holly (Acanthus ilicifolius)
The sea holly (Acanthus ilicifolius) has pretty lilac petals. The leaves looked wet, but it's not due to the dew. This plant is a salt secretor, and removes the salt it has absorbed from the brackish water by excreting concentrated salt solution with its salt glands on its leaves.

Sea derris (Derris trifoliata)
The sea derris (Derris trifoliata) was also blooming. It is one of the few climbers in the mangroves, and is poisonous. The leaves are sometimes crushed by fishermen and used to stun fishes and prawns.

Praying mantis
A few animals were also spotted. I didn't managed to get any decent photos of the marine animals like mudskippers and crabs though. The above was a huge praying mantis (Order Mantodea) spotted by one of my participants. This fierce predator feeds on insects, and usually starts by biting off the prey's head.

A few crickets were resting among the leaves of the various plants we saw in the secondary forest.

This spider was rather unusual compared to the others we saw - it built its web horizontally! I have no idea what spider this is though.

Towards the end of the trail, we saw a few fallen simpoh ayer (Dillenia suffruticosa). It appeared that they had brought part of the soil with them when they toppled over. Most of the shrubs still looked quite healthy and green, but I wondered how long they can survive now that their roots are no longer stuck to firm ground. Will they be able to send their roots down eventually to reach out for nutrients? Guess I'll probably find out the next time I'm here.


budak said...

the spider with horizontal orb web could be an Uloborid. A blueish tinge also points to this non-venomous family!

tHE tiDE cHAsER said...

Thanks Marcus. Will check up on that.