Friday, March 06, 2009

Sungei Buloh with Nature Explorers

I was back at Sungei Buloh again today to bring a group of students under the Nature Explorers programme organised by RMBR. The weather was exceptionally fine and we were really relived since we had been having thunder storms for the past few days.

While waiting for the students to arrive, I took a quick walk around the visitor centre and the main hide to check out some of the flora and fauna.

Sonneratia caseolaris
The berembang (Sonneratia caseolaris) fruit was still there. It was growing really slowly though. I could hardly see any changes in size sinc ethe last time I saw it. Haha.

Sonneratia caseolaris
There were quite a few flower buds. One of them appeared like it will start blooming either tonight or tomorrow.

Common tailorbird (Orthotomus sutorius) nest
We spotted the nest of a common tailorbird (Orthotomus sutorius) nest too, made using the leaves of the lower branches of the simpoh ayer (Dillenia suffruticosa).

Malayan water monitor lizard (Varanus salvator)
Soon , the students arrived and we started our walk around the reserve. We saw lots of Malayan water monitor lizard (Varanus salvator) today, and in the freshwater pond near the visitor counter alone, I saw at least 3 of them.

Pseudagrion microcephalum damselflies
On one side of the pond, love is in the air. A pair of Pseudagrion microcephalum damselflies were getting ready to mate. This species of damselfly is very common in Singapore can be be found in disturbed habitats such as ponds and drains.

Orthetrum sabina caught a Pseudagrion microcephalum
Ironically, death happened in front of our eyes in a nearby pond. A sabina dragonfly (Orthetrum sabina) caught a P. microcephalum, and was slowly nibbling on it.

Common greenback frog (Rana erythraea)
Not too far from the actions was this little common greenback frog (Rana erythraea). This frog was supposed to be nocturnal, so we were really not sure why it was swimming around in the pond under the hot sun.

Sea almond tree (Terminalia catappa)
We headed towards the main bridge area, and saw that the leaves of the sea almond tree (Terminalia catappa) there were turning into orange in colour!

Sungei Buloh Besar
Sungei Buloh Besar, which means big bamboo river, always looks so peaceful and quiet. There were lots of fishes in the river. Several egrets and monitor lizards were seen at the water's edge.

Mata ayam (Ardisia elliptica)
We then went back to the visitor centre and headed to the mangrove boardwalk. At the back mangrove area, we saw several back mangrove plants, such as the mata ayam (Ardisia elliptica). "Mata" means "eye", while "ayam" means "chicken". Looking at the fruits, it's not hard to guess how it got its common name.

At the mangrove boardwalk, there were lots of mature mangrove trees.

Giant mudskipper (Periophthalmodon schlosseri)
The giant mudskipper (Periophthalmodon schlosseri) is the biggest mudskipper in Singapore. This fish can survive for short periods of time out of water by storing water in its mouth and gill chambers. It can breath through its skin when it's wet too.

Egretta spp.
A flock of egrets (Egretta spp.) were feeding at the mudflats exposed with the low tide.

Other animals spotted include several species of spiders, ants, crabs, fishes, and a horseshoe crab.

Hope that the students had enjoyed the trip as much as I did :)

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