Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pasir Ris Park with Temasek Junior College on 15 Apr 2009

After helping out with guiding at Chek Jawa, I headed to Pasir Ris Park to give a guided walk for Temasek Junior College students. Since I was early, I managed to take a walk around the park while waiting for the students to arrive.

Zebra Doves (Geopelia striata)
A pair of Zebra Doves (Geopelia striata) were spotted near Sungei Tampines. These small doves feed on small grass and weed seeds, though at times it may also feed on small invertebrates.

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
Standing in the middle of the river was a Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea). One of the biggest bird in Singapore, it feeds on fishes and other small animals.

Lenggadai (Bruguiera parviflora)
The few Lenggadai (Bruguiera parviflora) trees were blooming, but unfortunately none had formed seedlings yet. This tree is said to produce good firewood and charcoal. The seedling is sometimes eaten as a vegetable.

Bakau Putih (Bruguiera cylindrica)
The Bakau Putih (Bruguiera cylindrica) is one of the most common mangrove trees found at Pasir Ris. Several of them were flowering too. Interestingly, the wood from this tree is said to produce an odour that repels fish, and thus it was not used to make fish traps.

Bakau Putih (Bruguiera cylindrica)
Here's the seedling of the Bakau Putih.

Tumu (Bruguiera gymnorhiza)
The Tumu (Bruguiera gymnorhiza) was not as common as the Bakau Putih, but there's a fairly healthy population at Pasir Ris. The hard, red wood from this tree can be used to make furniture, house posts and also used for firewood and making charcoal.

Ceriops zippeliana
The Ceriops zippeliana was easily spotted in many parts of the mangrove. It can be differentiated from the other Ceriops species by the red collar on mature seedlings.

Nyireh Batu (Xylocarpus moluccensis)
In other mangroves in Singapore, the Nyireh Batu (Xylocarpus moluccensis) is not very commonly seen, but there is a good population here at Pasir Ris.

The students soon arrived, and we took a walk around the Mangrove Boardwalk.

Cotton Stainer Bugs (Dysdercus decussatus)
Among the first animals we saw was a horde of Cotton Stainer Bugs (Dysdercus decussatus) on a Sea Hibiscus (Talipariti tiliaceum). These bugs feed on the seeds of the Sea Hibiscus.

Thespesia Firebugs (Dysdercus simon)
Not too far away, we saw several Thespesia Firebugs (Dysdercus simon) on a Portia Tree (Thespesia populnea). This bug is less common then the Cotton Stainer, and can be differentiated from the latter by its black head.

Praying Mantis (Order Mantodea)
A juvenile Praying Mantis (Order Mantodea) was resting on the leaf of a Sea Hibiscus.

Sea Holly (Acanthus ilicifolius)
This Sea Holly (Acanthus ilicifolius) has pretty lilac petals, which can be differentiated from other species with white flowers.

This is probably a Lacewing (Family Chrysopidae).

Atlas Moth Caterpillar (Attacus atlas)
I saw a few trees with the caterpillar of the Atlas Moth (Attacus atlas)! This moth is believed to be the largest moth in the world based on total wing surface area.

Atlas Moth Cocooon(Attacus atlas)
A few had gone into the pupa state, hiding in a cocoon. In Taiwan, these cocoons are made into pocket purses.

Face-banded Sesarmine Crab (Chiromantes eumolpe)
Some students spotted this pretty Face-banded Sesarmine Crab (Perisesarma eumolpe) which had deep red claws and an iridescent green band on the face.

Tree-climbing Crab (Episesarma sp.)
Another crab we saw was the Tree-climbing Crab (Episesarma sp.). During high tide, they will climb up the trees to stay away from predatory fishes that comes in with the tide.

Giant Mudskipper (Periophthalmodon schlosseri)
The Giant Mudskipper (Periophthalmodon schlosseri) is the biggest mudskipper found in Singapore. It is a fish, but is able to survive out of water by storing water in its mouth and gill chamber. When its skin is wet, it can breathe through its skin too.

Bakau Kurap (Rhizophora mucronata)
Another mangrove tree we saw was the Bakau Kurap (Rhizophora mucronata). This tree produces big and long seedlings, which were used by natives in the region to cane children who misbehaved.

Little Heron (Butorides striatus)
One of the students noticed this very well-camouflaged bird - a Little Heron (Butorides striatus). It eventually managed to catch a fish with its beak!

Malayan Water Monitor (Varanus salvator)
The Malayan Water Monitor (Varanus salvator) is one of the biggest lizard in the world, and it is very common in Singapore. This lizard is mildly venomous. While the weak venom may not kill, these lizards harbours lots of bacteria in its mouth that can cause serious infection if you are bitten by it.

Here's a quick group shot.

Cicada (Family Cicadidae)
There were lots of male Cicadas (Family Cicadidae) singing in the mangrove forest. Studies shown that they sing a different song for different purposes, such as courtship songs or distress songs.

Red Jungle Fowl (Gallus gallus)
We soon ended the walk, and as we walked out of the mangrove area, we saw a few Red Jungle Fowls (Gallus gallus). This chicken is often believed to be the direct ancestor of the domestic chicken.

Laced Woodpecker (Picus vittatus)
Yet another pleasant surprise was 3 Laced Woodpeckers (Picus vittatus), my first time seeing them, even though this species is supposed to be common in Singapore!

That certainly gives the guided walk a very nice closure! Hopefully all the students enjoyed the walk with me!


Anonymous said...

Hi Ron,

The students enjoyed themselves very much that day. Thanks for a great trip!


tHE tiDE cHAsER said...

Glad to hear that, and thanks for visiting my blog :)

Tamarin said...

Looks like such a great escape. Great documentation.

*I Donated To Cornell Ornithology!*

smith said...

I am smita Jugale working on a mangrove of India......may I ask you the host on which u saw Atlas moth and pupa?
the photography of you is excellent as far as close up of plants concerened.
keep it up in such visits to mangroves.

tHE tiDE cHAsER said...

Hi Smith, I am not familiar with the plant with the caterpillar actually. The one with the cocoon is Ardisia elliptica.